Hip-hop balladeer Jaheim hit the top 10 back in 2001 with his debut offering, Ghetto Love, and got one step closer to the top a year later with Still Ghetto. More than three years later, the singer's third release, Ghetto Classics, achieves what his previous efforts couldn't: a #1 debut on Billboard's albums chart.
With first-week sales of more than 152,000 copies, Ghetto Classics (produced by Scott Storch and Bink) swipes the #1 spot from last week's victor, the Jack Johnson-rich film soundtrack Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies for the Film "Curious George," which slips to #2. According to the latest SoundScan figures, Classics outsold the "Curious" collection by more than 35,000 copies, earning Jaheim his biggest first-week-sales showing. (Ghetto Love opened at #9 with 80,000 scans, while Still Ghetto bowed at #8 with 111,000 copies sold).
Barry Manilow's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties holds the #3 slot for a second straight week, moving more than 116,000 units. Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough slips two spots to #4 with sales of 111,000, while Andrea Bocelli's Amore drops a single chart position to #5, selling just 152 fewer copies than Blige's latest.
The soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical" climbs seven spots to #6 thanks to a 32 percent spike in retail interest that amounted to sales of more than 97,000. An 8 percent sales boost helps Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts return to Billboard's top 10, rising four spots to #7 with 87,000 scans. An 11 percent retail kick bumped James Blunt's Back to Bedlam from #12 to #8 this week, selling just 160 fewer copies than Underwood.
Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable moved another 81,000 units to spend a ninth-straight week in the top 10. Foxx checks in at #9, just in front of Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits, which finishes at #10 with 73,000 copies scanned.
Jaheim scores the chart's biggest debut, but his latest wasn't the only Billboard newcomer of note. New York rockers Matchbook Romance earned the week's second-best debut, as their Voices sold close to 28,000 copies during its first week on store shelves, securing the chart's #43 spot. At #44 — selling only 115 fewer discs — is Brazilian bossa nova king Sergio Mendes' Timeless, featuring Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott.
British metal act Bullet for My Valentine — who will open Rob Zombie's Educated Horses tour this spring — come in at #127 with The Poison selling close to 10,000 copies its first week out. The Secret Life of the Veronicas, the debut from Aussie twins the Veronicas, sold just 26 fewer copies to bow at #132.