50 Cent doesn't seem to like change.
After debuting at #1 with Get Rich or Die Tryin' and holding on for two weeks, he was briefly brushed aside by R. Kelly and Norah Jones. The short stint at #2 must've been about as comfortable as wearing a Kevlar vest on a muggy August afternoon, because the bullet-riddled rapper quickly reclaimed the top spot and stays there for a second week on the new Billboard 200 albums chart.
Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold another 279,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (March 19), bringing his six-week total to more than 3.2 million copies. As long as "In Da Club" continues to be a staple in da clubs, 50 Cent's reign looks to be a lengthy one.
Jones continues to benefit from her Grammy sweep, holding on to #2 with Come Away With Me after selling more than 243,000 copies last week. R. Kelly, also capitalizing on his media attention, though in a different way, moves up a spot to #3 with Chocolate Factory. The LP's hit single, "Ignition," paved the way for another 128,000 in sales to bring the album past the 1 million mark.
Bay Area punks AFI probably aren't following the directive of their album Sing the Sorrow, since it's the chart's highest debut, landing at #5 with more than 96,000 copies sold. Having paid their dues since 1991, the melodic punks can attribute much of their success to the single "Girl's Not Grey" and fawning media accolades for their most accessible album yet, which was given a sheen by producers Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins) and Jerry Finn (Green Day, Blink-182).
Killer Mike, signed to Outkast's Aquemini imprint, brings up the rear of the top 10 with Monster, which sold more than 79,000 copies in its first week. Many fans got their first taste of Killer on Outkast's "The Whole World," which earned him a Grammy, while others simply like the fit of his hit single "A.D.I.D.A.S."
R&B group Blackstreet's first album in four years, Level II debuts at #14 (52,000), while Diamonds on the Inside by the funky and folky Ben Harper comes in at #19 (46,000).
The rest of the top 10 includes: the Dixie Chicks, whose backlash over Natalie Maines' derogatory comment about President Bush had just two days to impact sales of Home, at #4 (123,000); the soundtrack to "Chicago" up three spots to #6 (94,000) and likely to climb higher if the flick does well at Sunday's Academy Awards; Fabolous' Street Dreams slipping four to #7 (92,000); Kid Rock's Cocky at #8 again (92,000), pushing him past 3 million; and Evanescence down two spots from last week's #7 debut (91,000).
Other notable debuts include Evolve by D.I.Y. folk singer Ani DiFranco at #30; Everclear's first full-length in three years, Slow Motion Daydream, at #33; Christian pop-punkers Relient K's Two Lefts Don't Make a Right, But Three Do at #38; the latest two-disc retrospective from the Clash, Essential Clash, at #99; and the soulful, beat-bountiful A Little Deeper by Ms. Dynamite, who claimed the U.K.'s Mercury Prize in September, at #179.
For a feature interview with 50 Cent, check out "50 Cent: Money To Burn."