Wall Emerges As Billboard 200 'Champ'

In a week that sees seven new top tier entries, Houston rapper Paul Wall emerges triumphant with a No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200 with "The Peoples Champ." The album sold 176,000 copies in the Unite

In a week that sees seven new top tier entries, Houston rapper Paul Wall emerges triumphant with a No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200 with "The Peoples Champ." The album sold 176,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, putting the SwishaHouse/Asylum effort ahead of new discs by Switchfoot, Trisha Yearwood, the Pussycat Dolls, Paul McCartney, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Charlie Wilson.

Though Wall has released albums with rapper Chamillionaire and a solo effort -- 2004's "The Chick Magnet" -- in the last three years, this is the first appearance on the big chart for the artist. In the last year, the chopped-and-screwed stylist has earned exposure as a featured rapper on T.I.'s "Urban Legend" and Mike Jones' "Still Tippin," which reached No. 25 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list.

Wall's chart-topping debut ends the two-week reign of Kanye West's "Late Registration" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), which falls to No. 2 on a 42% drop to 165,000.

San Diego rock act Switchfoot grabs the No. 3 slot with "Nothing Is Sound" (Columbia), earning its highest Billboard 200 chart position with a career-best sales week of 131,000 copies. The group's 2003 set "The Beautiful Letdown" opened at No. 85 with 14,000 and has gone on to sell 2.5 million.

Trisha Yearwood's "Jasper County" (MCA Nashville) takes the No. 4 spot this week with sales of 118,000 copies. Her first album following a four-year self-imposed hiatus gave the country songstress the second-highest sales week of her career and also opens at the top of Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

Featuring the No. 2 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Don't Cha" featuring Busta Rhymes, the Pussycat Dolls pull in at No. 5 with "PCD" (A&M/Interscope), earning a first-week total of 99,000 copies for their first effort.

Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard" (Capitol) gives the Beatles and Wings alum his 45th top 10 Billboard 200 album. Arriving at No. 6, his latest sold 92,000 copies, much better than 2001's "Driving Rain." That album started at No. 26 with 66,000 copies and has moved 398,000 so far.

Starting with 86,000 copies, reggae's newest Marley, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, debuts at No. 7 with his third album, "Welcome to Jamrock" (Universal). The album's title track is in the top 20 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Marley's last album, "Halfway Tree," sold just 2,000 copies in its first week, debuting at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums list; the set has a to-date total of 91,000 units.

It's notable that Damian's father, late reggae icon Bob Marley, enjoyed only one Billboard 200 top 10 during his career. His 1976 release "Rastaman Vibration" peaked at No. 8 and spent 22 weeks on the chart.

Along with West, the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business" (A&M/Interscope) and Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam) hold onto their top 10 status this week in spite of the onslaught of debuts. The former drops 4-8 on a 0.3% dip to 83,000, while the latter slides 5-9 as sales fell 8% to 75,000.

Meanwhile, Former Gap Band frontman Charlie Wilson grabbed a career-best sales week with his first album in five years. The Jive set "Charlie, Last Name Wilson" sold 71,000 to arrive at No. 10, the highest he's ever reached on the chart. His last album, 2000's "Bridging the Gap" (Interscope), didn't debut on the big chart, starting instead at No. 70 on the Top R&B Albums tally with 3,000 copies. It has sold 194,000 to date.

Other albums scoring top 20 debuts this week are Trapt's "Someone in Control" (Warner Bros., No. 14), David Gray's "Life in Slow Motion" (ATO, No. 16) and Bonnie Raitt's "Souls Alike" (Capitol, No. 19).

Other notable entries include Lonestar's "Coming Home" (BNA, No. 26); Sigur Ros' "Takk" (Geffen, No. 27); CeCe Winans' "Purified" (Sony, No. 41); DJ Quik's "Trauma" (Mad Science, No. 43); B.B. King's "B.B King & Friends: 80" (Geffen, No. 45) and Tracy Chapman's "Where You Live" (Elektra, No. 49).

At 10 million units, overall U.S. album sales were up 5% over the previous week; down 3% from the same week last year. Year-to-date sales are trail 2004 by 8.5% at 395 million units.

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