Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG) is No. 1 for a third straight week atop The Billboard 200, despite suffering a 36% sales decline to 174,000 units, according to SoundScan. In a week where only one album debuts in the top-10, “The Blueprint” faces no real challengers, once again holding off Alicia Keys’ “Songs in A Minor” (J Records) at No. 2. “The Blueprint” also makes it three weeks in a row atop Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Yet it’s unlikely Jay-Z will be settling in for a fourth week, with Ja Rule looking to storm next week’s chart with his latest album, “Pain Is Life” (Murder Inc./Def Jam). The latter, in fact, appears on two cuts in the top-5 of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally. His own “Livin’ It Up” featuring Case scoots 8-5, and Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real,” on which Ja Rule has a cameo, is sitting comfortably at No. 3.
The Billboard 200’s top debut comes from the fourth installment in the “Totally Hits” series from Warner Bros., Elektra, Atlantic, and Arista. Featuring the likes of Blu Cantrell, Usher, Outkast, Craig David, Unkle Kracker, and Dido, among others, the set sells 139,000 units to soar to No. 3. That’s nearly a double of last year’s edition, which sold 70,000 in its first week to land at No. 14. This edition scores the highest chart position in the series.
Two albums manage to post gains in the top-10. Enya’s “A Day Without Rain” (Reprise) has been steadily proceeding up the chart, this week jumping 7-4 on a 16% sales increase. This is a new career peak for the Irish New Age artist, whose single “Only Time” is now at No. 16 on The Billboard Hot 100. R&B balladeer Usher sees a 15% sales bump with “8701” (Arista), which climbs 23-9 on The Billboard 200. His “U Remind Me” continues to perform well in crossover markets, holding at No. 7 on the Hot 100.
The other high debut on The Billboard 200 comes from contemporary Christian star Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Declaration” (Sparrow) at No. 14. Other notable entries include the comedy act Tenacious D’s self-titled Epic debut at No. 33; Razor & Tie’s “Pulse” compilation set at No. 46; “Simple Things” (Windham Hill) from pianist Jim Brickman at No. 54; alt-country man of the hour Ryan Adams at No. 59 with “Gold” (Lost Highway); and Chely Wright’s “Never Love You Enough” (MCA Nashville) at No. 62.
Wright’s set has a better showing on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, where it dashes to No. 4. Martina McBride’s RCA “Greatest Hits” package is No. 1 on that chart for a second-straight week, while Alan Jackson’s “Where I Come From” is the new No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Sings & Tracks tally.
Keys’ “Fallin'” digs in for a sixth non-consecutive week atop the Hot 100, fending off Lopez’s “I’m Real” at No. 2 and Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At” featuring Nelly at No. 3.
The Hot 100’s fastest growing track at retail is Bubba Sparxx’s “Ugly,” skipping two slots to No. 20. The Southern rapper’s first offering, “Dark Days Bright Night” (Universal/Beat Club), will be in stores next Tuesday (Oct. 9). “Ugly” is No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart, where Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up” is enjoying its fifth straight week at No. 1.
The Hot 100’s fastest growing track at radio is Usher’s “U Got It Bad,” which rockets 59-32. The cut is performing even better in urban markets, having reached No. 13 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.
Making some waves on the Hot 100 is the all-star benefit remake of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” this week gliding 51-27 in only its second week on the chart. The pet project of U2 leader Bono and producer Jermaine Dupri, the cut features the likes of Destiny’s Child, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, P. Diddy, Nelly, the Backstreet Boys, Eve, Michael Stipe, and Nelly Furtado, among others.
Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” is No. 1 once again on Billboard’s Modern and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. It has held the pole position on the former for four weeks, and the latter for five weeks. The band’s “Silver Side Up” (Roadrunner), meanwhile, slips 3-5 in its second week on The Billboard 200 on a 7% sales decline.