With his latest, Blueprint, the Brooklyn-bred rapper has scored four straight number one debuts on the pop album sales charts in less than three years.
Even though album sales took a hit in the wake of last week's terror attacks--which occurred on a Tuesday, the same day new releases hit stores--the rapper otherwise known as Shawn Carter sold a solid 426,000 copies of his new disc for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan figures.
Jay-Z's sales compare favorably to his previous releases. The hip-hopster, who released his first album, Reasonable Doubt in 1996, scored successive chart-toppers with 1998's Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life (350,000 copies) and his two 2000 albums, Vol. 3...The Life & Times of S. Carter (462,000 copies in January 2000) and Dynasty: Roc La Familia 2000 (526,000 in November 2000).
His latest sales stats are even more impressive considering the bevy of hyped new releases Jay-Z was up against, including Nickelback, Fabolous, Bob Dylan, P.O.D. and Mariah Carey, among others.
Nickelback, a hard and heavy foursome from Vancouver, earned the week's second highest bow, charting at number two with more than 177,000 in sales of Silver Side Up. Nickelback started their own Canadian-based label and released The State in 1999, which Roadrunner Records picked up the following year for U.S. distribution. Sliver Side Up is their follow-up, the first to be released simultaneously in both countries.
Rapper Fabolous landed at number four with his rookie release, Ghetto Fabolous, fueled by heavy radio play for his singles "Can't Deny It" and "Right Now & Later On." He's followed at number five by rock-folk legend Bob Dylan with his latest, Love and Theft. Dylan's last album, 1997's Time Out of Mind, received three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and his Wonder Boys single "Things Have Changed" won the Oscar this year for Best Song.
Christian rap-rockers P.O.D. landed at number six with their second general market release, Satellite, which has spawned the MTV hit, "Alive." Pop diva Mariah Carey, whose emotional breakdown prevented her from promoting her new album and film, both titled Glitter had a disappointing first week. Her album, her first since signing a monster contract with Virgin Records, was number seven--a far cry from the number ones she regularly racked up during the '90s.
Four holdovers managed to survive the mass influx of Top 10 debuts: Alicia Keys' Songs in A Minor at three, Linkin' Park's Hybrid Theory at eight, Now That's What I Call Music! 7 at nine, and Aaliyah self-titled third album in the 10 spot.
Other notable newcomers included Christian popster Michael W. Smith at number 20 with Worship and Babyface at number 25 with Face2Face. Slayer kept the positive energy following with God Hates Us All at 28. Ben Folds' first solo album, Rockin' the Suburbs, debuted at 42. British soulsters Jamiroquai followed two places down with A Funk Odyssey. The Long Beach Dub Allstars, formed by the surviving members of Sublime, opened at 59 with Wonders of the World. And the soundtracks to Training Day and Hardball opened at numbers 64 and 86, respectively,
Other notable debuts included John Hiatt's The Tiki Bar Is Open at 89, They Might Be Giants' Mink Car at 134, and Ozomatli's Embrace the Chaos at 138.