“The Black Album” gives Jay-Z his sixth No. 1 release as it debuts atop The Billboard 200 this week. One of six top-10 debuts, the Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam set sold 463,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, to lead the field, despite being released off-cycle on Friday (new albums are typically released on Tuesdays). Jay-Z’s latest single, “Change Clothes” featuring Pharell, is up 10-8 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks tally this week.
Hyped as Jay-Z’s final album, “The Black Album” narrowly bests the first-week numbers of 2001’s “The Blueprint,” which bowed at the top with sales of 462,500 copies. Yet it fell a bit short of those posted by “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse,” which opened at No. 1 last year with sales of 545,000 copies. Together, the two have sold more than 4 million to date.
The eighth posthumous Tupac Shakur release, “Resurrection” (Amaru/Interscope), lands at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 on sales of 430,000 copies. The album accompanies the film of the same name and features previously unreleased cuts with Eminem and 50 Cent. The late rapper’s “Better Dayz” landed at No. 5 with 366,000 copies last year, and has sold 1.5 million to date.
“Beg for Mercy,” the first Shady/Interscope offering from the 50 Cent-led foursome G Unit, arrives at No. 3 with sales of 377,000 copies. Also released off-cycle on Friday, the album introduces newcomers Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and Tony Yayo. G Unit’s “Stunt 101” is up 7-5 on the Hot Rap Tracks tally.
“Closer,” the second Warner Bros. album from vocalist Josh Groban, bows at No. 4 on The Billboard 200. Sales of 375,000 copies gave Groban his best week ever on the charts. His self-titled debut in 2001 arrived at No. 127, but eventually peaked at No. 8 and has sold 3.6 million copies to date.
Last week’s No. 1, Toby Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all” (DreamWorks), falls to No. 5 on a 61% sales dip to 227,000 copies. This gives the album a two-week total of 812,000 copies. Nonetheless, the set leads Billboard’s Top Country Albums roundup for the second-straight week.
The 14th volume in the “NOW That’s What I Call Music!” (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) series slips 3-6 on a 39% sales drop to 196,000 copies. In two weeks, the hits compilation has sold 516,000 copies. Sarah McLachlan’s “Afterglow” (Arista) also suffers a sophomore week slide, falling 2-7 on a 47% sales drop to 191,000 copies. The album has sold 552,000 copies in two weeks.
Kid Rock’s self-titled and self-produced Lava/Atlantic album bows at No. 8 with sales of 189,000 copies. His 2001 set “Cocky” opened at No. 7 with 223,000 copies, and thanks to hit song “Picture,” featuring Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer, has gone on to sell about 4 million to date.
Pink’s “Try This” (Arista), the follow-up to 2001’s “M!ssundaztood,” debuts at No. 9 with sales of 147,000 copies. Her previous album, buoyed by the success of lead single “Get the Party Started,” opened at No. 8 with sales of 220,000 copies and has sold 4.8 million to date.
“The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” (A&M) experiences a six-position slide to round out the top-10. The hits set sold 142,000 copies to bring its two-week total to 389,000.
Two more albums debut inside the top-15, led by the triple-disc retrospective “The Essential Bruce Springsteen” (Columbia). The set opens at No. 14 on sales of 90,000 copies. Right behind Springsteen is Pearl Jam’s double-disc rarities collection “Lost Dogs,” which lands at No. 15 with 89,600 copies.
Other notable entries this week include 3 Doors Down’s live EP “Another 700 Miles” (Universal; No. 21), Dave Hollister’s “Real Talk” (DreamWorks; No. 42) and matchbox twenty’s “EP” (Melisma/Atlantic; No. 43).