R. Kelly Steps Out Of The ‘Closet,’ Into Billboard‘s #1

R&B star outshines Missy Elliott and Coldplay with TP.3.

His latest single has dominated water-cooler chatter for weeks. Radio stations nationwide just can’t get enough of it, and the track’s epic video plays more like an afternoon soap opera than a promotional tool. “Trapped in the Closet” was a big risk that has paid off well for R. Kelly, helping send his new LP straight to the top of Billboard‘s latest albums chart.

Expectations were high for the R&B star’s latest release, TP.3 Reloaded, which follows 2000′s TP-2.com as the second “sequel” to his classic solo debut, 12 Play. As predicted, the Pied Piper finds himself back on top, thanks to “Trapped,” his five-part “urban operetta.” According to the latest SoundScan totals, TP.3 Reloaded‘s impressive opening as this week’s Billboard champ was nothing if not a lock.

(Check out chapters one through five of “Trapped in the Closet” on MTV Overdrive.)

With first-week sales of close to half a million, TP.3 Reloaded crushed the competition; Kelly’s nearest challenger, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot, finishes as the chart’s #2, but couldn’t come close to matching the silky singer’s sales. Missy’s The Cookbook sold over 175,000 copies during its initial week at retail, just in front of Coldplay’s X&Y, which spends a second straight week at #3 with nearly 127,000 scans — just enough to push overall sales of the disc to 1.5 million after five weeks of release.

Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi holds the chart’s #4 spot, with more than 115,000 copies scanned, followed by last week’s #2 finisher, the Ying Yang Twins, who come in at #5 with second-week sales of 100,000 plus for United State of Atlanta. Last week’s #1, George Strait’s Somewhere Down in Texas, falls to #6, with close to 91,000 discs scanned.

The Black Eyed Peas’ Monkey Business hangs in the top 10, claiming the chart’s #7 thanks to sales of more than 75,000. Following the Peas is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rapper Webbie, who earns the week’s third-best debut showing with sales of 68,000 and change for his first album, Savage Life. Coming in at #9 are Foo Fighters with In Your Honor. The rock record netted fourth-week scans of just over 66,000, bumping Gwen Stefani’s Love, Angel, Music, Baby down to Billboard‘s #10 slot; the No Doubt dame’s solo debut continues to rack up some of the year’s most consistent sales, netting scans of almost 62,000 this week.

Two weeks after performing for a televised audience of millions during Philadelphia’s Live 8 concert, the Dave Matthews Band finished as the chart’s #21 with Stand Up. Week-nine sales of nearly to 38,000 pushed the LP to over 1 million total scans.

Although R. Kelly, Missy and Webbie all enter the top 10, the week’s fourth-best opener, the soundtrack to “Fantastic Four,” comes in at distant #77, selling just over 13,000 despite the presence of tracks by Chingy, Sum 41, Taking Back Sunday and Velvet Revolver. Got Hits, Vol. 2 opens at #110, with sales of close to 9,500; the compilation features selections from Hilary Duff, Jesse McCartney, JoJo and Lindsay Lohan. Sufjan Stevens’ latest, Illinois, scores the chart’s sixth-best debut, taking #121 with sales of more than 8,500.

Live 8: Successful Where It Counts

Millions of viewers tuned in and turned out for the Live 8 concerts, watching rousing performances from Destiny’s Child, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Will Smith and many others. But although the concerts largely achieved their primary goal of increasing awarness of — and aid for — poverty in Africa, they didn’t do much to boost those artists’ album sales during the subsequent retail week.

With Green Day (which moves #27-20) and Rob Thomas (#44-37) as the sole exceptions, all of Live 8′s Billboard Top 200 participants experienced a decline in scans. Coldplay’s disc slumped 10 percent, Mariah’s 12 and the Peas’ by 16. Interest in Shakira’s Fijación Oral (#28) waned 27 percent, while Audioslave’s Out of Exile (#31) suffered a 12 percent sales slide; so, too, did the latest discs from Smith (#43), Destiny’s Child (#57), Def Leppard (#66), Simple Plan (#70) and Alicia Keys (#196). However, a boost in sales for the Who, Pink Floyd, Dido and Keane was reported in England shortly after the concerts (see “After Live 8: Bootlegs Hit eBay; Kickoff Tops Charts; LP Sales Spike” ).

Roach On The Rise

For a while there, it looked like Papa Roach were down for the proverbial count. When the band’s latest offering, Getting Away With Murder, hit stores back in September, it opened at #17 on Billboard‘s albums chart with a respectable 52,000-plus copies sold. The LP then began an apparent slide toward nu-metal irrelevance, falling as far as #140, but never once slipping out of the Top 200.

However, when the album hit #140 some 31 weeks ago, a slow rebound began: Presumably fueled by the eye-catching video for “Scars,” Murder managed to inch a little bit further up the chart each week. And this week, the album re-entered the top 50 at #46 with sales of close to 20,000. All of a sudden, Papa Roach are getting more radio and video play (“Scars” is even on the “TRL” ballot) — and of course we can’t discount the impact of slimmed-down frontman Jacoby Shaddix’s dreamy longer hairdo. Either way, Papa Roach, who will spend the summer on tour with 311, have proven they’re still a band that matters.

To see R. Kelly’s five-part epic for yourself, check out the mini-movie For R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet.” For an in-depth feature on Coldplay, see “Coldplay: The Quiet Revolution.” And check out “Mariah Carey: Free At Last?” for more on Mimi’s Emancipation.