"Guess who's back?" the rapper legally known as Marshall Mathers asks on "Without Me."
The question is hardly a stumper. Most of America is fully aware of Slim Shady's return, seeing how his The Eminem Show will lead the pack of best-selling albums on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the third week in a row. Eminem's third major-label LP sold more than 808,000 copies last week, according to Soundscan figures released Wednesday (June 12), bringing his three-week total to more than 2.4 million copies.
The 20-track Totally Hits 2002, featuring contributions from Tweet, Pink, Outkast and Default, among others, was the most popular new release in a week that saw several chart debuts, placing in the runner-up slot with more than 136,000 sold. Soul man Donell Jones' Life Goes On, propelled by the reassuring "You Know That I Love You," follows right behind, coming in at the #3 position and selling more than 110,000 copies.
The unavoidable exposure of singles "Days Go By" and "Complicated" help new artists Dirty Vegas and Avril Lavigne, respectively, land in the top 10 with their debut albums. Dirty Vegas' self-titled LP sold more than 63,000 copies to come in at #7, immediately followed by Lavigne's Let Go with approximately 500 fewer sold.
Newcomers populate the chart further down, too. The compilation Soundbombing III, featuring Mos Def, Missy Elliott, Method Man, the Roots and Q-Tip, among others, will drop in at #23. Under Tha Influence, by one of Soundbombing III's contributors, DJ Quik, will land at #27, and in keeping the two-turntables-and-microphone tone, crate raider DJ Shadow fills the #44 slot with his The Private Press.
Next week's top 10 also finds P. Diddy & Bad Boy Records' We Invented the Remix dropping a deuce to #4; Ashanti's eponymous debut doing the same to #5; Kenny Chesney's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems marching up two slots to #6; Sheryl Crow's C'Mon, C'Mon climbing two positions to #9; and Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 9 continuing its gradual decent at #10.
The four top 10 debuts will push an equal number of LPs that formerly kept company in that upper echelon back a bracket into the #11-20 range. Cam'ron's Come Home With Me will fall from #4 to #11. Celine Dion's A New Day Has Come will dive eight spots to #13; Marc Anthony's Mended takes an identical plunge to #14; and Musiq's Juslisen will lose half its previous chart status to slip into the #15 spot.
Other notable chart debuts include the Outkast-led "Scooby-Doo" soundtrack at #58; Meshell Ndegeocello's Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape at #67; Los Lobos' Good Morning Aztlan at #82; Doves' Last Broadcast at #83; the "Bad Company" soundtrack at #98; the musical companion to "Undercover Brother," featuring a funky Snoop Dogg, at # 125; twee-pop champions Belle and Sebastian's soundtrack to "Storytelling" at #150; Danzig's 777: I Luciferi at #158 and Audiovent's Dirty Sexy Knights in Paris at #200.
For a feature interview with Eminem, check out "Eminem: The Gift And The Curse."