Chili Peppers Not As Hot As Nelly On Billboard Albums Chart

St. Louis rapper #1 for third straight week.

In its first week in stores, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By the Way pushed aside The Eminem Show to overtake the #2 position on next week’s Billboard 200 albums chart. Although the band was able to outsell Slim Shady by nearly 50,000 units last week — racking up a total of more than 281,000 copies, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday — the Peppers weren’t hot enough to take the top slot from Nelly.

Term limits must be non-existent in Nellyville, since for the third straight week the St. Louis rapper has presided over the rest of the chart with his second album. Nellyville again crushed the competition, moving more than 340,000 copies last week to bring its grand total to more than 1.5 million.

Chart newcomers Counting Crows’ Hard Candy and Styles’ Gangster & a Gentlemen fill the #5 and #6 positions, respectively. The Crows’ first album since 1999′s This Desert Life sold more than 138,000 copies, while the solo debut from the lyricist who’s part of East Coast trio the LOX trails behind by only 4,000 copies.

Twenty-one-year-old singer Josh Groban enjoyed the biggest bump of any top-40 artist. His self-titled debut will move up 17 places to #8 thanks to selling more than 77,000 copies of his self-titled LP, an increase of more than 40,000 from the previous week’s total. A possible reason for the goose was Groban’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” July 11, which fulfilled the wishes of Winfrey’s audience, who, as she said during the broadcast, made Groban the show’s most requested guest of the year so far.

Life’s not so “complicated” as long as you’re selling more than 100,000 copies of your debut album. Such is the case with 17-year-old Avril Lavigne, whose Let Go won’t let up on its rise to the top of the charts. The LP again saw an increase in sales, and it will occupy the #4 position with more than 600,000 total copies under its belt after a six-week chart life.

The remainder of next week’s top 10 is rounded out by the Murder Inc. family album Irv Gotti Presents the Inc., which will slip to #7 after debuting this week at #3; Ashanti’s self-titled debut, which continues its top 10 residency at #9, down from #6; and Aerosmith’s O Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits, falling six spots to #10.

Hip-hop veteran E-40′s Grit & Grind will be the only other top 20 debut in next week’s chart. The literally multi-faceted rapper (see alter egos Charlie Hustle, Forty Fonzarelli and 40-Water) will land at #13 by moving more than 52,000 copies of his follow-up to 2000′s Loyalty and Betrayal.

Besides E-40′s LP, no top-20 album moved up in chart position or increased its weekly sales. Among those who took the longest ride on the old Slip ‘N Slide include Korn’s Untouchables and N.O.R.E.’s God’s Favorite, both of which forfeited their top 10 slots as they move down from #7 to #15 and from #8 to #17, respectively. Other LPs that took a nosedive are P. Diddy & Bad Boy Records’ We Invented the Remix, sinking from #11 to #18; and Papa Roach’s Lovehatetragedy, which will drop from #13 to #20.

The chart’s notable debuts are rounded out by Bacdafucup II, Onyx’s full-circle return to their 1993 debut, Bacdafucup, at #46; Dolly Parton’s Halos & Horns, which includes a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” at #58; Glassjaw’s second LP, Worship & Tribute at #82; the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ first album in two years, Jackknife to a Swan, at #131; and the Grateful Dead live gem Steppin’ Out – England ’72 at #182.

For full-length features on Nelly, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avril Lavigne and Eminem, check out “Nelly: Still Fly,” “Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Secret Sauce,” “Avril Lavigne: The Real Deal” and “Eminem: The Gift And The Curse.”