Hip-hop newcomer Nelly grabbed the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week with his first album, while hip-hop veterans De la Soul boasted the week's highest debut with their first album in four years.
Nelly's album, Country Grammar, released in June, features the catchy, sing-song single "Country Grammar (Hot ...)" (RealAudio excerpt), which is garnering heavy radio airplay.
"I'm really happy,'' Nelly said in a statement Wednesday (Aug. 16). "And I'm really proud to have put St. Louis on the map, musically, for my generation. This is just the beginning.''
De la Soul, who haven't had significant pop success since their debut album, 1989's Three Feet High and Rising, saw their new album, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, debut at #9. The album includes the single "Oooh" (RealAudio excerpt), with a guest appearance from Redman.
De la Soul rapper Pasemaster Mase said the group was inspired by the guest stars on their album, who include Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Chaka Khan and Beastie Boys rappers Mike D and Ad-Rock.
"It's a good marketing strategy to have guests on the record, but we learn, too, from these performers," he said. "We're students still, we're learning and we're inspired by their raps and what's out there."
Now That's What I Call Music! 4, the hits compilation featuring Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and Mandy Moore, slipped to #3 after holding the #1 slot for three weeks in a row.
Spears' Oops! ... I Did It Again (RealAudio excerpt of title track) held on at #2, while Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP landed at #4. *NSync's No Strings Attached took the #5 slot.
Late rapper Big L's The Big Picture, which debuted at #13 last week, dropped to #29.
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 and the "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" soundtrack at #10.
Sting's Brand New Day, which finally broke through to the top 10 last week after 45 weeks on the chart, slipped back down to #11 this week.
In its second week of release, the soundtrack to "Coyote Ugly," which includes new music from country star LeAnn Rimes, jumped from #61 to #19, while pop diva Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album, released almost a year ago, moved from #32 to #20.
(This story was updated at 6:57 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2000.)