After helping so many other artists reach the summit, it's only fair that the Neptunes take a turn at the top of the Billboard albums chart.
Super-producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's The Neptunes Present ... Clones will sit at #1 on next week's chart by selling more than 249,000 copies, according to SoundScan. Working with the likes of Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Nelly established that the Neptunes had the Midas touch, and this LP finds the beat-making duo striking gold repeatedly over the course of its 18 tracks.
The pair's last LP, recorded along with vocalist Shay under the acronym N.E.R.D., In Search Of ..., premiered at #61 with more than 20,000 in first-week sales last year.
New hip-hop albums will have a strong showing in the top 10. Free of the "Lil' " prefix, Bow Wow will claim the #3 spot with his third LP, Unleashed. The follow-up to 2001's Doggy Bag sold more than 120,000 copies last week.
Southern rapper T.I.'s second album, Trap Muzik, will follow right behind Bow Wow at #4 by moving more than 108,000 copies. Diplomats member Juelz Santana distinguishes himself from the rest of the "Dip Set" this week to secure a #8 debut. From Me to U sold more than 73,000 copies to assume the position.
Newlywed Jessica Simpson's decidedly sexed-up third album, In This Skin, will slide into the #10 position. The follow-up to 2001's Irresistible sold more than 64,000 copies, partially as a result of "Sweetest Sin," the ode to booty knocking that serves as the LP's first single.
The remainder of the top 10 will find the previous #1 album, Alan Jackson's Greatest Hits Volume II, receding to #2 (158,000); the soundtrack to "Bad Boys II" falling a deuce to #5 (93,000); the "Chicago" soundtrack making a huge 93-spot and 64,000-copy leap to #6 (75,0000) thanks to the home-video release of the Oscar-winning film; Evanescence's Fallen moving three places down to #7; and Beyoncé's Dangerously in Love slipping four spots to #9.
Following their headlining spot on the Vans Warped Tour, Rancid will wave their punk flag proudly at #15 with Indestructible, an apt title considering their sixth album, and first in three years, has their most successful first-week showing. The LP sold more than 51,000 last week. When it debuted in 2000, the band's last album, Rancid, sold only 23,000 copies; while Life Won't Wait sold 39,000 copies after it premiered two years prior.
Chris Carrabba may have even more to sigh about. Dashboard Confessional's third album, A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar, has the distinction of being the album to fall the furthest in the top 20. The former #2 LP will plummet 14 spots, while its weekly sales were cut by about 60 percent.
It's hard to imagine him doing much doe-eyed sighing, but 50 Cent will spend his second consecutive week outside the velvet ropes of the top 10. Get Rich or Die Tryin' will slip three spots further, to #14.
Alien Ant Farm's second album, truANT, will make surprisingly soft impact at #42, just barely ahead of Adema's Unstable. Only 11 copies separate the two albums, according to SoundScan figures.
Other notable debuts on next week's chart include Neil Young's concept album Greendale at #22; the posthumous package The Best of Barry White at #100; Youth & Young Manhood, by Kings of Leon, Southern rock's answer to the to Strokes, at #113; Chi-town rappers Do or Die's pronouncement Pimpin' Ain't Dead at #115; the Dandy Warhols' fourth album, Welcome to the Monkey House, at #118; the 11-track label showcase Drive-Thru Invasion Tour Compilation, with contributions from the Movielife, New Found Glory and Something Corporate, at #187; The Big Zane Theory by formerly Lil' rapper Zane at #191; and indie rock record-making machines Guided by Voices' Earthquake Glue at #193.