McGraw Leads Quartet Of Debuts Atop Billboard 200

R. Kelly, Young Buck, Mase also make mark.

In the biggest country debut of the year on The Billboard 200, Tim McGraw opens at No. 1 with "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb), selling 766,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It is the fifth-highest country debut in the SoundScan era. The set, the country superstar's third to reach No. 1 on The Billboard 200, also rules Top Country Albums.

Urban acts debut albums in the next three slots, led by R. Kelly's "Happy People/U Saved Me" (Jive). The disc opens with sales of 403,000 units, behind last year's "Chocolate Factory," which bowed with 532,000 and has sold 2.7 million to date.

G-Unit member Young Buck takes the No. 3 slot with "Straight Outta Ca$hville" (Interscope), selling 261,000. The Nashville native comes up just shy of fellow G-Unit members 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks, who each bowed atop The Billboard 200 with their solo debuts, "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " and "The Hunger for More," respectively.

Rapper Mase returns to the Bad Boy label with his first album since 1999. The former P. Diddy sidekick enters The Billboard 200 at No. 4 with "Welcome Back," selling 188,000 units. His 1997 debut opened at No. 1 with 273,000 and has sold 3.2 million to date.

The rest of the top 10 shows declines this week, with the exception of Big & Rich's "Horse of a Different Color" (Warner Bros.), which holds at No. 10 on a 6% sales gain to 67,000 copies.

Last week's chart-topper, the 16th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music" (Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba), drops to No. 5 on a 10% decline to 187,000 units. Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" (Geffen) falls 2-6 on a 19% drop to 134,000.

Miami rapper Pitbull bows at No. 14 with 55,000 copies sold of "M.I.A.M.I. (Money is a Major Issue)" (TVT). The crunk/Latin reggaeton mix features labelmate Lil' Jon on first single "Culo."

Cam'Ron and Chico DeBarge contribute to rapper Jim Jones' debut, "The Diplomats Present Jim Jones: On My Way to Church," which enters at No. 18 with 44,000 copies.

Also debuting this week are 12 Stones' "Potter's Field" (Wind-Up) at No. 29, "The Best of the Rolling Stones: Jump Back -- '71 to '93" (Virgin) at No. 30, Jason Mraz's CD/DVD set "Tonight Not Again/Live at Eagles Ballroom" (Elektra/Asylum) at No. 49, and Boyz II Men's "Throwback" (Koch/MSM Music Group) at No. 52.

Overall U.S. album sales are up again, with a 10.5% gain from last week to 12 million units, about 9% ahead of the same week last year. Sales for 2004 are at 409 million units, beating those of last year by a 7% margin.