50 Cent and Norah Jones once again have a lock at the top two slots on The Billboard 200 this week. 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” (Shady/Interscope) is No. 1 for a fifth non-consecutive week, with U.S. sales down 16% over the prior week to a still strong 234,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In seven weeks of release, the rapper has moved more than 3 million copies of the album, which also maintains its No. 1 ranking on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Meanwhile, Jones’ Blue Note/Capitol debut, “Come Away With Me,” holds onto the No. 2 position on The Billboard 200, despite taking a 28% sales hit to 176,000 copies. To date, the Grammy winning album of the year has sold 4.8 million copies in the U.S. Right below Jones, R. Kelly’s Jive set “Chocolate Factory” withstands an 18% sales dip to 105,000 copies to hold fast at No. 3. The Epic soundtrack to “Chicago” benefits from some Oscar hype, earning a 6-4 jump on 2.5% boost to sales of 96,000 copies.
Evanescence’s “Fallen” rises 9-5 despite a 7.5% slide to 85,000 copies. Sales of the Wind-Up act’s debut have been relatively steady thanks to the success of single “Bring Me To Life,” which is No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks tally. Right behind, Kid Rock’s “Cocky” (Lava/Atlantic) is up two positions to No. 6, even though sales of the set slid 16% to 78,000 copies.
Controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks is starting to have a noticeable effect on sales of the group’s Monument/Columbia album, “Home.” In the first full week following negative comments regarding U.S. President George Bush made by singer Natalie Maines in London, sales of the album fell 42% to 72,000 copies, and as a result, the set slides 4-7 on The Billboard 200. Nevertheless, “Home” remains at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums roundup for a 17th week. To date, the album has sold just over 5 million copies in the U.S.
Sales of Fabolous’ “Street Dreams” (Elektra) slid 30% to 64,000 copies in its third week, causing the album to fall one slot to No. 8 on The Billboard 200. Although sales of Sean Paul’s “Dutty Rock” (VP/Atlantic) fell 4.5% to 62,000 copies, the set scoots 12-9, which is a new peak position for the dancehall/reggae artist.
With the DVD/VHS of the Eminem-starring movie “8 Mile” flying off of the shelf, the film’s Shady/Interscope soundtrack bolts 29-10 on a 53% burst to sales of 55,000 copies. According to Universal Studios Home Video, the release has generated sales of $75 million since its March 18 release, while the soundtrack has sold 4.1 million copies in 21 weeks on the chart.
Last week’s top debut, AFI’s first DreamWorks offering “Sing the Sorrow,” suffered a typical second week sales slide of 60% to 38,500 copies, which results in a 5-18 drop on The Billboard 200.
With much of America preoccupied with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, new releases didn’t seem to be a high priority for consumers. Only two acts managed to debut inside the top-50 of the latest version of The Billboard 200: modern rock act (hed) Planet Earth and veteran Southern rockers the Allman Brothers.
“Blackout,” the third Jive offering from (hed) Planet Earth lands at No. 33 on sales of 28,000 copies. That feat bests the No. 63 arrival of the band’s sophomore set, “Broke,” in 2000. Meanwhile, “Hittin’ the Note,” the Allman Brothers’ first album through Peach/Sanctuary, lands at No. 37 on sales of 25,000 copies. The group’s last studio album, 1994’s Epic release “Where It All Begins,” reached No. 45 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 472,000 copies.