Even as the hits compilation Now That's What I Call Music! 4 dominated the nation's record sales for the third week in a row, the biggest chart surprise came from a decidedly nonpop artist: the late underground rapper Big L, whose first posthumous album was this week's highest debut.
Now That's What I Call Music!, which features Mandy Moore's "Candy" (RealAudio excerpt) and songs from Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, stayed at #1, selling almost 240,000 copies. Big L's The Big Picture debuted at #13, with almost 75,000 copies sold, according to SoundScan data released Wednesday (Aug. 9).
Big L (born Lamont Coleman) was gunned down near his apartment in New York's Harlem neighborhood on Feb. 15, 1999. Just before his death, he had finished The Big Picture, which includes guest spots from Tupac Shakur, Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe, and other rappers. The album features the underground hit "Ebonics" (RealAudio excerpt).
Spears' Oops! ... I Did It Again landed at #2, with rapper Nelly's Country Grammar (RealAudio excerpt of title track) close behind at #3. Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP and *NSync's No Strings Attached took the #4 and #5 slots, respectively.
The rest of the top 10 includes: Creed's Human Clay at #6, Papa Roach's Infest at #7, 3 Doors Down's Better Life at #8, the soundtrack to "The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" at #9 and Sting's Brand New Day at #10.
Sting's album, which is in its 45th week on the chart, has been climbing steadily in recent weeks, apparently on the strength of its latest single, "Desert Rose" (RealAudio excerpt), which is at #19 on Radio & Records' pop radio chart.
Country artist Jo Dee Messina had the week's second-highest debut, landing at #19 with her new album, Burn.
The soundtrack to the new movie "Coyote Ugly," which includes new songs by country star LeAnn Rimes, debuted at #61, while the Brian Setzer Orchestra's fourth album, Vavoom!, debuted at #62. Setzer's album includes several covers, such as the show tune "Mack the Knife" and Duke Ellington's "Caravan," as well as a reworking of the swing song "Pennsylvania 6-5000" (RealAudio excerpt).
Punk rockers Rancid's self-titled new album, which returns the group to a more aggressive sound, debuted at #68, meanwhile, with 23,348 copies sold.
Trip-hop group Morcheeba debuted at #113 with their new album, Fragments of Freedom.
And rock group Eve 6's sophomore release, Horrorscope, which debuted at #34 last week, slipped down to #43.
(This story was updated at 3:27 P.M. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000.)