Jay-Z's Black is back.
After falling to #4 a week ago, the rapper's farewell disc is returning to #1, bumping Britney Spears from the top of the Billboard albums chart, according to SoundScan sales figures released Wednesday (December 3).
The Black Album sold more than 260,000 copies last week, pushing its three-week total past 1 million copies. But while Jay-Z was the overall top seller, his album actually dropped 9 percent in sales from the previous week.
No Doubt's The Singles 1992-2003 debuts at #2 with almost 253,000 copies sold. The only new song on the hits collection is a cover of Talk Talk's 1984 single "It's My Life" (see " No Doubt To Tell Fans 'It's My Life' ").
On a 58 percent sales plunge, Spears' provocative In the Zone drops to #3 with more than 251,000 copies sold. On Tuesday, Britney's 22nd birthday, she announced she'd be promoting the disc with a 25-date North American tour beginning in March (see "Britney Spears Lines Up Tour For In The Zone").
Perky 16-year-old singer/actress Hilary Duff springboards back up the chart to #4 with Metamorphosis, which sold almost 224,000 copies last week, a 132 percent increase over the previous week. Now That's What I Call Music! 14 holds onto #5 (220,000), Toby Keith's Shock'n Y'all takes #6 (205,000), and Josh Groban's Closer nabs #7 (202,000).
G-Unit's Beg For Mercy falls six to #8 on sales of around 193,000 copies, a 41 percent sales dip from the week prior. The crew's latest mixtape, G-Unit Radio Part 4: No Peace Talks!, is currently on the streets.
Korn's visceral sixth album, Take a Look in the Mirror, jumps 10 to #9 on sales of 179,000 units. The record's chart position last week was deceptive because it reflected just a weekend's worth of sales, since the disc dropped three days early due to an online leak (see "Korn Releasing Take A Look In The Mirror Early Due To Leak").
Outkast hold fast at #10 after selling another 169,000 copies of their Speakerboxxx/The Love Below double album.
Nelly's remix album, Da Derrty Versions — The Reinvention, bows at #12 with 144,000 sold, while Missy Elliott's This Is Not a Test! debuts at #13 (143,600), which pales in comparison to her 258,000-copy #3 debut last year with Under Construction.
The most disappointing debut, however, comes from Madonna, whose Remixed & Revisited EP enters at #115, even with a recording of her infamous VMA performance with Spears, Christina Aguilera and Missy (see "Madonna Smooches With Britney And Christina; Justin, Coldplay Win Big At VMAs").
Puddle of Mudd's second offering, Life on Display, enters at #20 (103,000), one slot behind Rod Stewart, whose ex-wife Rachel Hunter is now dating Puddle frontman Wes Scantlin. And in its second week, Michael Jackson's Number Ones drops 16 to #29 (79,000).
Enrique Iglesias' 7 earns a #31 ranking in its first week (77,200), and Counting Crows' Films About Ghosts: The Best Of ..., enters at #32 (76,900). Other notable debuts include crunkmasters Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz' Part II EP at #37 (69,000); Nelly Furtado's second album, Folklore, at #38 (68,000); Rage Against the Machine's Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium at #94 (26,000); and Default's Elocation at #105 (23,400). Bob Guiney, the object of affection on the television program "The Bachelor," earns a #102 slot for his debut solo album, 3 Sides (21,000).