Kanye West’s Late Registration Tops Albums Chart — By A Mile

Rapper's second album sells more than 860,000 its first week out.

First, Kanye West wowed the Miami audience assembled at the MTV Video Music Awards two weekends ago with his performance of “Gold Digger.” He even walked away with the Best Male Video Moonman. Then, a handful of television talk shows later, West generated national headlines thanks to his appearance on NBC’s “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” this past Friday, where he delivered a scathing assessment of President Bush for his response to the devastation and ruin wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

The last week’s been quite a doozy for Kanye (see “T.I., David Banner Get Behind Kanye’s Bush Comments”), but one that’ll be capped off by a crowning achievement: West’s sophomore album, Late Registration, opens at #1 on next week’s Billboard albums chart, having sold more than 860,000 copies during its first week on shelves. Kanye’s debut LP, The College Dropout, entered the chart at #2 the week after it was released in early 2004, with first-week scans of close to 441,000.

(For more on Kanye and his album Late Registration, check out the feature “All Eyes on Kanye West.”)

West ran away with the week’s top honors, outselling the second-place debut from G-Unit member Tony Yayo, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon, by more than 600,000 copies. Late Registration slaughtered Hillbilly Deluxe, the new one from country duo Brooks & Dunn, which claims the chart’s #3 slot with more than 111,000 units scanned.

Kanye’s Dropout, meanwhile, climbs more than 50 chart positions this week to #57, thanks to a 69 percent boost in sales that yielded scans of more than 9,500.

It was a big week for debut offerings, with fresh releases taking the chart’s top four positions. The major-label debut from Death Cab for Cutie, Plans, moved close to 90,000 copies in its first week, to grab fourth place. Rounding out the top five, with more than 85,000 scans, is the unstoppable Mariah Carey and her latest, The Emancipation of Mimi. After just 21 weeks in stores, the album has scored sales of nearly 3.2 million copies.

The Black Eyed Peas’ Monkey Business falls two spots to #6, with close to 84,000 in sales. The 19th installment in the Now That’s What I Call Music! franchise descends five chart positions to #7, with more than 78,000 scans. Last week’s #1 is this week’s #8, as Hilary Duff’s Most Wanted sustains a 23 percent deceleration in retail speed, resulting in sales of little more than 77,000.

Christian pop act Casting Crowns’ latest, Lifesong, opens at #9 with 71,000 scans, followed at #10 by yet another debut disc: Rihanna’s Music of the Sun, which achieved opening-week scans of 68,000 and change.

Other significant debut performances were turned in by Eric Clapton’s Back Home (#13, with sales of 59,000 plus); Bob Dylan’s No Direction Home: The Soundtrack – The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 (#16, 51,000); Cold’s A Different Kind of Pain (#26, 36,000); 30 Seconds to Mars’ A Beautiful Lie (#44, 21,000); Our Lady Peace’s Healthy in Paranoid Times (#45, 21,000); From Autumn to Ashes’ Abandon Your Friends (#58, 16,000) and Opeth’s Ghost Reveries (#64, 15,000).

Several VMA winners and performers benefited tremendously from their trips to Miami Beach (see “Green Day Clean Up, Kelly Clarkson Gets Wet, 50 Rips Into Fat Joe At VMAs” ). Green Day’s American Idiot experienced a 20 percent rise in sales, but fell two chart positions to #12 with scans of close to 61,000; the veteran punks not only opened the festivities with a performance of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” but took home seven Moonmen, including Video of the Year. Kelly Clarkson braved gallons of water in her VMA closer, as she belted out her hit “Since U Been Gone,” and took home Best Female Video and Best Pop Video honors. On next week’s chart, her disc Breakaway finishes at #14 with 56,000 in sales — a 10 percent jump for that LP.

Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree also enjoyed a 10 percent boost in sales, to take the chart’s #18 spot; the band performed “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” during the VMA pre-show, and walked away from the ceremony with the MTV2 Award. Meanwhile, My Chemical Romance, who’d been nominated in several categories but went home sans Moonman, were, aside from Kanye West, perhaps the biggest post-VMA winners. The band’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge jumped 10 spots on the chart, thanks to a 40 percent surge in retail interest, to take #31 with close to 30,000 in sales. The Garden State rockers also performed during the event, as did belly-dancing bombshell Shakira. Sales of her latest, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1, swelled by 34 percent, earning her the chart’s #36 with scans of more than 23,000.