The first release from the Neptunes’ Arista-affiliated label Star Trak is also its first to top The Billboard 200. “Star Trak Presents… Clones” sold 249,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and leads seven albums into the top-20. The album, which also lands at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, boasts an all-star cast of Dirt McGirt, Clipse, Foxy Brown and Busta Rhymes, among others, and features the Hot 100’s top-10 smash “Frontin'” from the Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z.
“Clones” replaces last week’s chart topper, Alan Jackson’s “Greatest Hits Vol. II” (Arista Nashville), which falls to No. 2 on The Billboard 200. Sales of that set were down 51% to 158,000 copies, bringing the album’s two-week total to 486,000 units. Despite the tumble on the big chart, Jackson’s collection leads Billboard’s Top Country Albums roundup for the second-straight week.
Bow Wow’s third album, “Unleashed” (Sony), his first without the “Lil” prefix, gives the teenage rapper his highest debut on The Billboard 200. “Unleashed” enters at No. 3 on the strength of 120,000 copies. His 2002 effort, “Doggy Bag,” debuted at No. 11 and has sold 1.1 million copes to date. The new single “Let’s Get Down” featuring Baby is in the top-30 of the Hot 100.
Southern rapper T.I. earns his best week on The Billboard 200 with his sophomore effort, “Trap Muzik” (Grand Hustle/Atlantic). The album bows at No. 4 with sales of 109,000 copies. That nearly matches the to-date total of his 2001 effort “I’m Serious,” which peaked at No. 98 and has sold 163,000 units.
The Bad Boy/Universal soundtrack to “Bad Boys II” is pushed down 3-5 with the new arrivals. Sales were down 12% to 94,000 copies in the album’s sixth week on the chart, its first to fall below the 100,000 mark.
Benefiting from the film’s release on DVD, Epic’s “Chicago” soundtrack bolts 99-6 in its 32nd week. Most major retailers positioned the CD and the DVD together in stores, with Best Buy even selling the disc for a substantial discount to customers who bought the film. The soundtrack previously peaked at No. 2 and sold 1.6 million copies overall.
Evanescence’s “Fallen” (Wind-Up) slips 4-7 in its 25th week on the chart, with a sales slide of just 2% to 74,000 copies. Since its debut in March, the set has sold more than 2 million copies.
The debut effort from Cam’ron protégé Juelz Santana, “From Me to You” (Roc-A-Fella), bows at No. 8 with 74,000 copies. The rapper made his mainstream debut last summer on Cam’ron’s hit “Oh Boy,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100.
Beyonce’s Columbia solo effort “Dangerously in Love” slips 5-9 in its ninth-week on the chart. Sales were down 4% to 68,000 units. The third album from Jessica Simpson, “In This Skin” (Columbia), enters at No. 10. Her 2001 album, “Irresistible,” peaked at No. 6 and has sold 631,000 copies to date.
Veteran punk act Rancid’s “Indestructible” enters The Billboard 200 at No. 15 with sales of 51,000 copies. A major boost thanks to a distribution deal with Warner Bros. gives the band its career best week on the chart. Rancid has previously not been higher than No. 35, a peak reached by “Life Won’t Wait” in 1998.
Also reaching a career peak is country artist Sara Evans, as her new RCA set, “Restless,” arrives at No. 20 on sales of 44,000 copies. Her 2000 release “Born To Fly” peaked at No. 55 and has sold 1.35 million to date. Other notable entries include Alien Ant Farm’s sophomore DreamWorks album “truANT” (No. 42, 27,000 copies) and Adema’s third Arista set “Unstable” (No. 43, 26,500 copies).