Eminem has faced his toughest challenge yet, though he will still manage to hold off the Ruff Ryders on next week's album chart.
According to weekly sales figures released by SoundScan on Wednesday, Em's "The Marshall Mathers LP" sold an additional 290,000 copies to stay at the top of the "Billboard" album chart for a seventh straight week.
Close behind, however, is the latest offering from the Ruff Ryders collective, "Ryde Or Die - Vol. II," which sold more than 254,000 copies in its first week in stores to debut at number two on the chart. While the first Ruff Ryders collection helped to propel the clique's first lady, Eve, into the spotlight, the now-platinum rapper turns up on only one track on "Vol. II."
"There is just so much going on in our camp where I am not even mad," Eve recently told MTV News of her low profile on the album.
"I'm not worried about that at all. It's like, let other people shine, because we've got a new group that we just signed. We also have a new artist that we just signed, a new rapper, and we have the R&B groups. So it's just like, let everybody else shine. Plus, my album's coming next, and I'm not going nowhere anytime soon." [RealAudio]
In addition to Eve's brief appearance, "Vol. II" also boasts tracks from DMX, Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Redman, Drag-On, Scarface, Jadakiss, and others, boosting its sales appeal.
The collection was the only new arrival anywhere near the top of the chart, as the next highest debut comes at number 64 with Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes' "Live At The Greek."
Last week's new arrivals continue to hang tough as well, as Nelly's "Country Grammar" slips just one spot to number four after debuting at number three last week. Lil'
Kim also posts a strong second week, as her "The Notorious K.I.M." slips from four to seven.