50 Cent Holds Strong

'Now 18' bows at No. 2 with 339K.

50 Cent's Shady/Aftermath/Interscope album "The Massacre" holds onto the top slot of The Billboard 200 for the third week in a row, despite a 53% drop in U.S. sales to 364,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

New at No. 2, with 339,000 copies, is "Now 18" (EMI/Sony BMG/Universal/Zomba), which features top-10 tracks like Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" and Nelly's "Over and Over" featuring Tim McGraw. The franchise's 17th installment debuted at No. 1 last year with 407,000 units and has sold 2.8 million copies to date.

Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams" (Brushfire) falls 2-3 on a 16% drop to 99,000. Green Day's "American Idiot" (Reprise), in its 26th week on the chart, moves up 5-4 despite a 2% slide to 76,000.

The Game's "The Documentary" (Aftermath/G-Unit/Interscope) slips 3-5 on a 22% fall to 68,000 units; Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" is No. 6 for the second week, with a 12% gain to 67,000.

Jennifer Lopez's "Rebirth" (Epic) drops 4-7 on a 30% decline to 60,000, while the Killers' "Hot Fuss" (Island) hangs in at No. 8 for a second week, on a 7% rise to 58,000.

Rounding out the top tier, John Legend's "Get Lifted" (Columbia) holds at No. 9 for a second week, on a 3% fall to 51,000. Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music) dips 7-10, down 14% to 49,000.

Baby Bash scores a career-best No. 11 with "Super Saucy" (Universal), which opens with 48,000 copies. His 2003 set, "Tha Smokin' Nephew," peaked at No. 48 and has sold a total of 531,000.

Brooke Valentine enters at No. 16 with her Virgin debut, "Chain Letter," which sells 42,000 copies.

Miranda Lambert, the 2003 "Nashville Star" finalist, comes in at No. 18 with Epic debut "Kerosene," which sells 40,000 units. The set leads the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, making Lambert the fourth female artist ever to bow in the top slot with a debut album, following Gretchen Wilson, LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd.

Crosby Stills & Nash earn their highest-charting album since 1989 with Rhino/Atlantic's "Greatest Hits," which opens at No. 24 with 33,000 units. Previously, the group went as high as No. 16 with Atlantic's "American Dream."

The Rev. Al Green bows at No. 50 with his sophomore Blue Note effort, "Everything's OK," which sells 20,000 copies. This is his highest chart position since 1975's "Al Green Is Love" (Hi) went to No. 28. Green's 2003 Blue Note debut, "I Can't Stop," opened at No. 53 with 34,000 copies and has sold 272,000 to date.

Overall U.S. album sales are up 1% from last week at 10.9 million units, about 3.5% down from the same week last year. 2005 sales to date are 8.5% behind last year, at 123 million units.


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