Jay-Z scores his 10th No. 1 album on The Billboard 200, as "American Gangster" (Def Jam) debuts on top this week after selling 425,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The rapper thus ties Elvis Presley in second place for the most No. 1 albums on the chart; only the Beatles have had more, with 19.
Since 1998, all eight of Jay-Z's solo studio albums have hit No. 1, in addition to his "Collision Course" project with Linkin Park and his "Unfinished Business" collaboration with R. Kelly.
After bowing at No. 1 last week, the Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" (Eagles Recording Co.) slips to No. 2 with 359,000, a 49% sales decrease. Garth Brooks' "The Ultimate Hits" (Pearl) debuts at No. 3 after shifting 352,000 units. Brooks' last studio set, 2001's "Scarecrow," debuted at No. 1 with 466,000. His only releases since then have been Wal-Mart exclusives and were thus not eligible to appear on The Billboard 200.
Teenaged R&B heartthrob Chris Brown starts at No. 4 with his sophomore Jive album, "Exclusive," which sold 294,000. His self-titled 2005 debut opened at No. 2 with 154,000. "Exclusive" features Brown's recent Hot 100 chart-topper, "Kiss Kiss," featuring T-Pain.
Carrie Underwood's 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville set "Carnival Ride" falls 3-5 with 121,000 (-29%), while Josh Groban's holiday album, "Noel" (143/Reprise), descends 6-8 despite a 52% sales increase to 116,000.
Selling 87,000 copies, Britney Spears' "Blackout" (Jive) slips 2-7 with a 70% sales hit in its second week. At No. 8, Taylor Swift's self-titled Big Machine debut flies from No. 26 with a 156% sales increase (68,000) in its 55th week. The boost came with the album's DVD-enhanced reissue and her Horizon award win at the recent CMA Awards.
Angels & Airwaves' second Geffen album, "I-Empire," begins at No. 9 with 66,000. The band's first set, "We Don't Need To Whisper," bowed higher, at No. 4, with 127,000 in May 2006.
His first album since completing jail time and surviving a near-fatal car accident in 2006, Cassidy's Full Surface/J set "B.A.R.S. The Barry Adrian Reese Story" begins at No. 10 after shifting 63,000. His sophomore release, 2005's "I'm a Hustla," started at No. 5 with 93,000.
Other big debuts this week include Latin reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel's "Wisin Vs. Yandel: Los Extraterrestres" (Machete) at No. 14 with 53,000, country quartet Little Big Town's "Place to Land" (Equity Music Group) at No. 24 with 35,000, the Def Jam score/soundtrack to "American Gangster" at No. 36 with 21,000 and the Starbucks Entertainment holiday compilation "Stockings by the Fire" at No. 43 with 18,000.
Album sales are up 7.5% from last week at 9.95 million units and down 16.8% from the same week in 2006 (11.95 million).