Mariah Carey Frees 50 Cent From Billboard‘s #1 Spot

Mimi topples The Massacre with over 400,000 sold.

Before The Emancipation of Mimi hit record stores last week, it had been three full years since Mariah Carey released new studio material. So it wasn’t unfair when several critics dubbed the vivacious pop diva’s latest a “comeback” album, one that — depending on its retail performance — could set the tone for the rest of Mariah’s career.

Well, how’s this for a comeback? First-week sales of almost 404,000 scored Carey not only the biggest debut of her 15-year career, but the coveted top spot on Billboard‘s albums chart — unseating rapper 50 Cent as the top seller following The Massacre‘s impressive six-week reign as retail champ.

According to SoundScan results, The Emancipation of Mimi shattered the star’s previous first-week sales record of 323,000 units, set back in 1999 with the debut of Rainbow. The album outperformed her most recent #1 showing, 1997′s Butterfly, by close to 170,000 scans. Charmbracelet, released in 2002, opened at #3 with sales of more than 241,000.

But, as it turns out, Mariah wasn’t 50 Cent’s only problem this week. What’s more, Carey wasn’t the sole artist on the chart to achieve a career landmark.

Finishing a distant second, with first-week sales of an astonishing 151,000 plus, is metal quartet Mudvayne’s newest, Lost and Found — an album that topped 50′s sophomore opus, The Massacre, by just over 10,000 scans. Like The Emancipation of Mimi, Lost and Found represents the hard-rockin’ band’s best opening-week sales showing; 2002′s The End of All Things to Come debuted at #17 with sales of 78,980.

Although 50 Cent was forced to relinquish his Billboard throne, settling for the chart’s #3 slot, week seven wasn’t all that bad for The Massacre. A 15 percent sales dip notwithstanding, the rapper’s LP did manage to transcend the 3-million-sold milestone. Besides, third place isn’t all that bad, is it, Fif?

Placing fourth, with sales of just under 75,000, is the fourth LP from Garbage. With Bleed Like Me, the band earned its first top-10 album. Still, the album failed to destroy Garbage’s first-week sales record, set back in 1998 with Version 2.0, which finished at #13 with 88,000 plus scans. Beautiful Garbage — released in 2001 — opened at #11 with sales of 73,000 and change.

The prior chart’s second-place finisher, Faith Evans, fell to #5, thanks to a 60 percent sales slip for her latest effort, The First Lady; that album recorded just over 63,000 scans during its second week of release. Right behind Evans, at #6, is the 18th installment of the beloved Now That’s What I Call Music! franchise, a compilation album featuring contributions from Chevelle, Omarion, Frankie J, Ashanti and Snoop Dogg and Pharrell. Just over 61,000 copies of Now 18 soared from store shelves during that album’s fifth week at retail. Beck’s Guero clings to the top 10, taking the #7 slot with third-week sales of close to 58,000, falling off 28 percent from the previous week.

American Idiot, pop-punk outfit Green Day’s unstoppable eighth album, continues to be one of the past year’s more consistent sellers. After 30 weeks in the retail battle, American Idiot still has a lot of fight in it; with sales of little more than 57,000, the disc drops one chart position to finish at #8. Gwen Stefani’s Love, Angel, Music, Baby is another one that just refuses to give up, finishing out its 21st week at retail in the chart’s #9 spot, thanks to an 18 percent sales boost that pushed scans well above the 56,000 mark. And lastly, closing out the top 10 are the Killers and their debut, Hot Fuss. Another album that’s been out there for what seems like eons (it’s been 44 weeks, to be exact), Hot Fuss benefited from a 2 percent rise in consumer interest, and scored sales of just under 55,000 units.

Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams falls out of the top 10 for the first time since its release seven weeks ago. The album takes the #11 spot with sales of just over 50,000. Ciara’s Goodies follows at #12 with over 48,000 scans, besting Will Smith’s Lost and Found — which finishes at #13 — by less than 500 albums. Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway and Frankie J’s The One round out the top 15, finishing at #14 and #15, respectively.

Second-week sales for both Lisa Marie Presley’s Now What and Hot Hot Heat’s Elevator plummeted. Now What lands at #33 (down from #9 on the previous week’s chart), compliments of a 58 percent lag in sales, while the Heat’s latest disc takes #85, down from #34, with sales of that disc slipping by 51 percent.

The Phunk Won’t Stop

It’s been almost two years since the release of the Black Eyed Peas’ Elephunk, but that hasn’t done much to derail sales of the colossal chart-topper. The album still managed to net sales of more than 8,600 during its 95th retail week, taking the chart’s #105 spot.

All told, Elephunk has sold close to 2.6 million copies — and there’s no question that the Peas hope to repeat that album’s success on June 7, when their next LP, Monkey Business, is set for release.

A Boost For Best Ofs

While it was a relatively sluggish retail week overall for artists not named Mariah, sales of several best-of albums managed to gain some momentum. Could increasingly warmer temperatures be reminding consumers that barbecue and beach season is just around the corner?

Tongue-twisting rap act Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Greatest Hits shoots from #128 to #95, with sales of close to 9,700 — a 24 percent spike for that disc. The Beach Boys’ Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys rises to the chart’s 106th position, with sales of that album swelling 22 percent to finish at 8,600 scans. And Queen’s Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You resurfaces in the top 200 after a 28-week absence. In at #197, sales surged 51 percent to move close to 4,800 copies. Sales of Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits rose 8 percent, landing it the chart’s #49 slot with just over 18,000 scans. And just one week after announcing to the world that she had a bun in the proverbial oven, Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits: My Prerogative saw a 3 percent increase, moving more than 7,200 copies from shelves to score the #131 spot.