Ashanti Fends Off The Competition At No. 1

Ashanti commands four Billboard charts for the third straight week as her self-titled Murder Inc/Def Jam debut edges out a strong entry from Sheryl Crow to extend its lead on The Billboard 200. Despit

Ashanti commands four Billboard charts for the third straight week as her self-titled Murder Inc/Def Jam debut edges out a strong entry from Sheryl Crow to extend its lead on The Billboard 200. Despite the 23% drop in sales to 190,000 units, according to SoundScan, "Ashanti" also remains the No. 1 set on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Albums tally, and her single "Foolish" continues its reign on Billboard's Hot 100 and Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

Crow's high-flying debut is one bright spot in an otherwise soft week for U.S. album sales. "C'mon, C'mon" (A&M/Interscope), her first album of new material since 1998, enters at No. 2 on sales of 185,000 units. This marks the highest position Crow has ever achieved on The Billboard 200. Her last two studio albums debuted at No. 5 and No. 6, and her previous peak position came when "Tuesday Night Music Club" hit No. 3 in 1995.

"C'mon, C'mon" also marks a new sales peak in Crow's stellar career: although her three studio sets since 1994 have sold more than 8.6 million units combined, she has never before sold more than 150,000 in one week. Her 1998 album, "The Globe Sessions," sold 123,000 units in its first week. The new album's first single, "Soak Up the Sun," is No. 6 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart and moves 66-55 on the Hot 100.

Sales of Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" (Epic) were down 28% to 163,000 units and the album slips 2-3 on The Billboard 200. The ninth volume in the "NOW! That's What I Call Music" compilation (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) fell 13% to 124,000 cioues and drops 3-4 on the chart. The soundtrack to "The Scorpion King" (Universal), the No. 1 film in the U.S., slipped 6% to 67,000 units but manages to move up 7-5.

Newcomer Josh Groban (Reprise) followed up last week's spectacular 121-12 chart leap with an 8% sales increase to 60,000 units. As a result, his album reaches the top-10 in its 19th week, moving to No. 8. No Doubt's "Rock Steady" (Interscope) is creeping back up the chart, rising 36-25. The band's latest single "Hella Good" is making gains at radio, rocketing 40-25 on the Hot 100.

Repeating a feat achieved last fall, six more releases from hibernating jam band Phish's "Live Phish" series crash onto The Billboard 200 at Nos. 128, 138, 141, 145, 147, and 154 on combined sales of more than 45,000 units. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio's self-titled Elektra solo debut is due Tuesday (April 30).

The Lost Highway/Mercury soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" earns its 34th non-consecutive week on Billboard's Top Country Albums tally, where Brad Paisley's "Part II" (Arista Nashville) jumps 10-4. Meanwhile, Toby Keith's "My List" settles in for a third straight week on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks roundup.

As Ashanti stands her ground with the top two slots on the Hot 100 -- she also appears on Fat Joe's No. 2 cut "What's Luv?," the tally's fastest-growing track at retail -- Usher's "U Don't Have To Call" is making a move to challenge the chart-topping R&B singer. His song is the tally's fastest-growing track at radio, inching up 4-3.

The Hot 100's top debut is Nelly's "Hot in Herre" at No. 49. It's the rapper's strongest debut on the chart and is drawn from his upcoming sophomore Fo' Reel/Universal set, "Nellyville," due in June. "Hot in Herre" also arrives at No. 43 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.

Other notable newcomers on the Hot 100 include Brad Paisley's "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)" at No. 66, Brandy's "Fully Moon" at No. 68, the Ying Yang Twins' "Say I Yi Yi" at No. 74, and System Of A Down's "Toxicity" at No. 76. Over on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, Naughty By Nature enjoys a second week at No. 1 with "Feels Good (Don't Worry Bout a Thing)" featuring 3LW.

Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" is No. 1 for a fourth straight week on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks tally and hops 26-23 on the Hot 100. On the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, Nickelback's "Too Bad" earns its second week in a row at No. 1.

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