In the wake of her tragic death, Aaliyah’s self-titled Blackground/Virgin release shoots 19-1 on The Billboard 200 this week, based on a sales jump from 62,000 to 306,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan. The late artist’s surge to No. 1 was predicated last week when retailers reported massive sales gains following the Aug. 25 plane crash that took the life of Aaliyah and eight others.
Six weeks ago “Aaliyah” became the artist’s first top-10 album when it entered The Billboard 200 at No. 2; it also debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, a position it returns to once again this week.
Aaliyah’s family plans to make its first major public statements about her death at the MTV Video Music Awards tonight (Sept. 6) in New York. The artist’s brother, aspiring filmmaker Rashad Haughton, plans to address the crowd at the ceremony following a tribute to his sister, according to the network. The show will be broadcast live on MTV beginning at 8 p.m. ET
Back on The Billboard 200, four new albums debut in the top-10, led by R&B diva Mary J. Blige’s MCA set “No More Drama” at No. 2. Although the bow matches the chart entry of her last release, 1999’s “Mary,” the new set’s first week sales of 294,000 units is the best of Blige’s career — topping the 239,000 units posted by “Mary.” With strong sales in purely R&B markets, “No More Drama” debuts at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album’s first single, “Family Affair,” jumps 7-3 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally and 18-12 on The Billboard Hot 100.
Pulling in at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 is “Iowa,” the sophomore set from Midwestern hard rock act Slipknot. The group sold 255,000 units to easily surpass the 15,000 first-week sales of its first album, which arrived all the way down at No. 112 last year. Constant touring and a clever marketing campaign eventually propelled the album to eventually sell 1.3 million units. The band’s single “Left Behind” is No. 33 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks tally.
Brian McKnight’s “Superhero” (Motown/Universal) opens at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 based on 150,000 units sold, the best of his career. His previous album, 1999’s “Back At One,” debuted at No. 7 on the strength of 145,000 units sold and went on to sell 2.3 million copies in the U.S. McKnight’s current single, “Love of My Life,” scoots 25-22 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
Country singer Toby Keith also had the best sales week of his career with “Pull My Chain” (DreamWorks/Interscope). The set sold 120,000 units to arrive at No. 9 on The Billboard 200, obliterating the 6,000 unit first-week total of his last, “How Do You Like Me Now?,” which did not even debut on The Billboard 200 in 1999. Keith also scores big on both of Billboard’s main country charts, with “Pull My Chain” at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums tally, and its first single, “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight,” at No. 1 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Puddle Of Mudd, signed to Fred Durst’s Flawless Records in a partnership with Interscope, debuts at No. 10 on The Billboard 200 with “Come Clean.” The band benefited from heavy airplay of its first single, “Control,” which is No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks tally. The song’s Durst-directed video clip is also in rotation on MTV.
Other noteworthy debuts include Afroman’s “The Good Times” (Universal) at No. 14, featuring the hit single “Because I Got High,” which is at No. 15 on the Hot 100. Bjork has the highest debut of her career at No. 19 with “Vespertine” (Elektra), which also lands at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums tally. Close behind Bjork on The Billboard 200 is RZA’s “Digital Bullet” (Wu-Tang/The Paint/Koch) at No. 24, and Krayzie Bone’s “Thug On Da Line” (Ruthless/Columbia) at No. 27.
Last week’s top debut, Maxwell’s “Now” (Columbia), falls 1-5, a the victim of a 43% sales decline to 170,000. The set continues to sell strongly in pure R&B markets, drifting 1-3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally.
Jennifer Lopez has the No. 1 single on the Hot 100 for a second straight week with “I’m Real” featuring Ja Rule, once again besting Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’,” which holds at No. 2. Lopez’s album “J. Lo” (Epic) drops out of the top-10 on The Billboard 200, slipping 10-16.
The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at retail is Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At” featuring Nelly, which skips 6-3. Despite the single’s growing popularity, the group’s Columbia album, “Jagged Little Thrill,” falls 24-34 on The Billboard 200. The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at radio is Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World,” which blasts 34-11 in its second week on the chart. Jackson’s much hyped, much delayed “Invincible” is set for an Oct. 30 release via Epic.
The Hot 100’s top debut is Marina McBride’s “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues” at No. 69. Her RCA greatest-hits collection is due Sept. 18. Other top debuts are 112’s “Dance with Me” at No. 73, McKnight’s “Love of My Life” at No. 74, Travis Tritt’s “Love of a Woman” at No. 76, and Reba’s “I’m a Survivor” at No. 81.
Over on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” replaces Staind’s “It’s Been Awhile” at No. 1. By falling to No. 2 after 20 weeks on top, “It’s Been Awhile” misses by one week tying a record set by 3 Doors Down’s “Loser” on that chart. On the Modern Rock Track tally, Alien Ant Farm’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” is No. 1 for a fourth straight week.