Ja Rule’s “Pain Is Love” fends off a surging Enya and a No. 3 debut by Southern rapper Bubba Sparxxx to claim the No. 1 slot on The Billboard 200 for a second-straight week. The Murder Inc./Def Jam set was able to maintain its dominance despite suffering a 39% drop in sales to 221,000 units, according to SoundScan. “Pain Is Love” is also No. 1 for a second week on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.
Ja Rule’s dominance continues to stretch to The Billboard Hot 100, where Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real,” featuring an appearance from the rapper, begins its fifth, non-consecutive week at No. 1. On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, his own “Livin’ It Up” featuring Case is at No. 4, outperforming “I’m Real” in pure urban markets, which falls three spots to No. 8 this week.
Irish enchantress Enya sets another career peak on The Billboard 200 this week, following a 26% sales gain over last week to 162,000 units of her album “A Day Without Rain” (Reprise). The set scoots 3-2 and is now approaching the 3 million sales mark. In the past decade, Enya’s best selling album was 1991’s “Shepherd Moons,” which has sold 4.3 million to date. Enya’s previous best chart position was the No. 9 showing from 1995’s “The Memory of Trees.” Her single, “Only Time,” glides 16-13 on the Hot 100.
The top debut on The Billboard 200, and the only entry in the top-10, comes from newcomer Bubba Sparxxx. The artist’s Timbaland-produced “Dark Days, Bright Nights” (Beat Club/Interscope) sold 132,000 units to arrive at No. 3. The Georgia rapper has had tremendous success with his initial single, “Ugly,” which is No. 20 on the Hot 100 and No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles survey. On the later chart, Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up” begins its seventh week at No. 1.
The next highest debut on The Billboard 200 comes from Charlotte Church, whose “Enchantment” (Sony) arrives at No. 15 on the strength of 66,000 units sold, a career peak for the 15-year-old prodigy. Previously, her best first week came with “Voice of an Angel,” which landed at No. 28 with 45,000 units in 1999. Last year, the classically trained singer scored a major hit with her Christmas release, “Dream a Dream,” which has now sold more than 1 million copies.
Other notable debuts include Snoop Dogg’s soundtrack to his film “Bones” (Doggystyle/Priority/Capitol) at No. 39; the patriotic compilation “Drew’s Famous: Proud To Be an American” (Turn Up the Music) at No. 50; “For the Love…” (MCA ) from veteran R&B group the O’Jays at No. 53; “Chrome” (Capitol) by country singer Trace Adkins at No. 59; R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore’s Weekend” (Arista) at No. 63; and “Is This It” (MCA), the first effort from New York buzz band the Strokes, which bows at a respectable No. 74.
Adkins’ “Chrome” soars to No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, where the ever-durable soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” has once again rebounded to No. 1. This marks the 22nd non-consecutive week that the Mercury Nashville set has held the top spot. Meanwhile, Brooks & Dunn claim No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally with “Only in America.”
The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at radio is Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair,” which skips 4-3, while her album “No More Drama” (MCA) holds steady at No. 14 on The Billboard 200. The cut is No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, where Ginuwine’s “Differences” is No. 1 for a fourth-straight week. The later track climbs 7-4 on the Hot 100.
The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at retail is Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” rising 13-6. The cut, however, isn’t quite as hot in urban markets, as it slips one slot to No. 31 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.
The strongest debut on the Hot 100 is Creed’s “My Sacrifice,” which enters at No. 50. Other noteworthy bows include Pink’s “Get the Party Started” at No. 69, George Strait’s “Run” at No. 70, David Ball’s “Riding with Private Malone” at No. 71, Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever” at No. 74, Lonestar’s “With Me” at No. 75, Garth Brooks’ “Wrapped Up in You” at No. 77, and Fat Joe’s “We Thuggin'” featuring R. Kelly at No. 82.
Nickelback maintains command of Billboard’s rock airplay charts. The band’s “How You Remind Me” enters its sixth straight week atop the Modern Rock Tracks tally and seventh in charge of the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The Roadrunner album from which it is drawn, “Silver Side Up,” holds at No. 5 on The Billboard 200.