St. Louis rapper Nelly's Country Grammar kept its grip on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart's top spot this week, holding off rapper Big L, whose posthumous The Big Picture debuted at #2.
Big L (born Lamont Coleman) was killed in Harlem, N.Y., in February 1999, just after he completed work on The Big Picture. The disc features appearances from Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe and Tupac Shakur, and it spawned the underground smash "Ebonics" (RealAudio excerpt).
The rest of the top 10 albums are evenly split between hip-hop and R&B, with beleaguered rapper Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP at #3, the Ruff Ryders crew's Ryde or Die Vol. II at #5 and Lil' Kim's The Notorious K.I.M. at #10.
On the R&B tip, Kelly Price's Mirror Mirror fell one spot to #6, while Toni Braxton's The Heat came in at #7. The Heat has remained in the top 10 since its release in April.
Gospel/R&B singer Yolanda Adams' Mountain High ... Valley Low moved up to #8 in its 46th week, buoyed by the crossover success of the single "Open My Heart," which sits at #21 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The album stayed at the #1 spot on the magazine's gospel albums chart, while her Best of Yolanda Adams collection sits at #9.
The soundtrack to "The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" which features a mix of R&B and hip-hop acts, including Janet Jackson, Brian McKnight, Jay-Z and DMX came in at #4 on the albums chart.
Alternative rapper Common is making his mainstream mark with his Like Water for Chocolate, which moved up to #17 on the albums chart. Oakland, Calif., R&B group Somethin' for the People jumped from #58 to #34.
Nelly's percolating, singsong jam "(Hot S**t) Country Grammar" (RealAudio excerpt) continues to receive heavy radio airplay, but it slipped out of the R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart top 10 to #11. Sisqó's ballad "Incomplete" (RealAudio excerpt) stayed at #1 on the R&B/Hip Hop and Hot 100 singles chart.
Country Grammar is at #3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, while the single is at #15 on the Hot 100. Jackson's "Doesn't Really Matter" fell to #22 on the R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart, but it rose to #5 on the Hot 100.
The R&B/Hip-Hop top 10 is dominated by soul ballads and club cuts, with pint-size rapper Lil' Bow Wow's "Bounce With Me," which features Xscape, as the only hip-hop cut, coming in at #5.
Ruff Endz's "No More" came in at #2 on the singles chart. The duo's Davinch says Ruff Endz strive to "bring the essence of R&B back to radio the real soul of it like the pioneers brought years ago."
Other ballads in the top 10 include Jagged Edge's romantic "Let's Get Married" at #3, Next's "Wifey" at #4, Avant's "Separated" at #6, and Donell Jones' "Where I Wanna Be" at #9.
Braxton's "Just Be a Man About It" is at #7, while Destiny's Child continue to find success on the pop and R&B charts with "Jumpin', Jumpin'," which is at #8 on R&B and #3 on the Hot 100.
R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl round out the top 10 with "Dance Tonight."
Further down the chart, Common's "The Light" rode its '70s soul groove to #13, while Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady" rose to #18. Rapper Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass" jumped to #25, and Mya's "Best of Me Part 2," featuring Jay-Z, debuted at #55.