The results are in from the other election — the one determined not by paper, electronic or provisional ballots but by record sales — and R. Kelly and Jay-Z are the new leaders of the pop nation.
The super duo’s Unfinished Business, a re-visitation of Jay and Kelly’s collaboration that yielded 2002’s Best of Both Worlds, will take the top slot on next week’s Billboard albums chart by selling more than 215,000 copies, according to SoundScan. The album was released to support the pair’s co-headlining Best of Both Worlds tour, which crashed acrimoniously last weekend (see “R. Kelly Sues Jay-Z For $75 Million, Claims Sabotage” ).
Elsewhere, celebratory bells are ringing for Trick Daddy, who logged his best first week ever with Thug Matrimony: Married to the Streets. With a rocking Ozzy Osbourne-sampling single, “Let’s Go,” the Miami rapper’s follow-up to 2002’s Thug Holiday, his previous best, sold more than 145,000 copies to assume the #2 position.
Simple Plan’s continued inability to “get any” has nonetheless earned the Canadian quintet some sympathetic record sales. Their second album, Still Not Getting Any …, sold more than 139,000 copies for a #3 debut.
A former Doobie Brother’s second album of Motown hits, Michael McDonald’s Motown Two, will bow at the #9 spot by selling more than 69,000 copies, while the success and praise of the Ray Charles biopic “Ray” helped the soundtrack jump up 13 spots to #10 in its second week on the chart, with more than 55,000 copies sold.
Rounding out next week’s top 10 will be last week’s top album, Rod Stewart’s Stardust … The Great American Songbook Vol. 3, which will fall to #4 (with more than 134,000 copies sold); Nelly’s Suit dropping three spots to #5 (130,000); Usher’s Confessions slipping two places to #6 (113,000); and George Strait’s 50 Number Ones falling four notches to #8 (103,000).
The Donnas, who sold nearly 400,000 copies of their last album, 2002’s Spend the Night, will re-emerge on the chart at a disappointing #76 by selling just over 13,000 copies of their new album, Gold Medal.
Other notable debuts on next week’s chart include Wu-Tang Clan’s Legend of the Wu-Tang: Wu-Tang Clan’s Greatest Hits at #72; Willie Nelson’s It Always Will Be at #75; Jacki-O’s Poe Little Rich Girl at #95; Music From the O.C.: Mix 2 at #104; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ double album, Abattoir Blues/ Lyre of Orpheus, at #126; and the remastered reissue of Pavement’s 1994 breakthrough, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, at #164.
Jay-Z’s Jinx And The Curse Of R. Kelly
Despite the #1 debuts of Unfinished Business and R. Kelly and Jay-Z’s last collaboration, The Best of Both Worlds, it seems fate doesn’t want the two chart-toppers to work together.
Just after The Best of Both Worlds was released in 2002, R. Kelly was hit with multiple counts of child pornography and Jay-Z refused to promote the album. Consequently, the LP fell out of the top 20 in its sixth week, the kind of sudden drop to which neither artist is accustomed. The album went on to quietly sell just 363,000 copies, less than any album that either artist has released individually.
Two and a half years later, disaster struck again. Just days after their second collaboration dropped, the superstars’ co-headlining tour fell apart and R. Kelly filed a $75 million lawsuit against Jay. The fallout combined with the coincidence that both albums’ first-week sales are nearly identical (a difference of only 8,000 copies) perhaps doesn’t bode well for the future of Unfinished Business.
On The Move
With the hype surrounding Monday’s Country Music Association Awards reaching an apex and a tour with Big & Rich set to take off Friday, Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party has cracked the 2 million mark, as it moves up four spots to #21 with a 14 percent increase in sales. But the week’s biggest jump was made by that weirdest of new-age classical composers, Mannheim Steamroller. Halloween helped scare up sales for the Steamroller’s Halloween: Monster Mix, which will catapult from #144 to #65.
Biggest sliders this week are Jimmy Eat World’s Futures and Brooks & Dunn’s The Greatest Hits Collection II, which both took a 59 percent dip in sales. In their second week on sale, Futures falls from #6 to #19, while the country hits set sinks from #7 to #26.
This story was updated on November 3 at 4:02 p.m. ET