T.I. must have foreseen that his fourth LP would open at the top of Billboard's albums chart. After all, he did title the effort King. And with the week-one sales tally coming in at just under 522,000 copies, the Atlanta rapper earned that regal title, and will take his rightful seat at retail's throne.
The top of Billboard's weekly albums roll is new territory for the Southern MC. According to the latest SoundScan data, King netted T.I. — who also debuted on the big screen last week, in the film "ATL" — his highest-charting debut and his biggest first-week sales showing (2004's Urban Legend bowed at #7 with 193,000 copies sold, while 2003's Trap Muzik opened at #14, scoring 109,000 scans during its first week).
Guest spots from Pharrell Williams, Young Jeezy, Jamie Foxx, B.G., UGK, Common and Young Buck helped King clear a path to #1. And to characterize Tim McGraw as T.I.'s nearest threat may be overstating matters, as King outsold the country idol's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: Reflected by over 275,000 copies. McGraw's disc racked up a solid 242,000 scans, which would have all but guaranteed him #1 any other week.
The surprise hit of 2006, the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical," hangs tough in the top five, dropping one spot to #3. The album generated an additional 165,000 sales in its 12th week in stores, pushing the album beyond the million-sold mark. "High School Musical" was the highest-charting veteran of the chart as five albums, including T.I.'s offering and McGraw's hits collection, manage to open in the top 10, including fourth-place-finishing Fishscale from Ghostface Killah.
While the Wu-Tang Clan member didn't top his best debut showing (1996's Ironman opened at #2 with sales of 156,000), more than 110,000 copies of Fishscale — which includes contributions from Ne-Yo, Notorious B.I.G., Cappadonna, Trife and Clan mate Raekwon — did swim off store shelves. Rob Zombie follows at #5 with his latest solo outing, Educated Horses. The disc racked up more than 107,000 scans, making it the second-best debut performance of Zombie's career; 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe also opened at #5, but sold more than 120,000 copies.
Shakira's Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, first issued in November, was re-released with two bonus cuts last week: "Hips Don't Lie," featuring Wyclef Jean, and an alternate version of "La Tortura." The revamping, coupled with her recent appearance on "American Idol," helped augment sales of the disc a whopping 643 percent, propelling the release from #98 to #6 after moving more than 81,000 copies. James Blunt's Back to Bedlam falls four to #7 this week, with close to 80,000 copies sold. That's followed by last week's #1, Prince's 3121, which experienced a week-two sales drop of 59 percent, selling nearly 76,000 copies to land at #8.
The third LP from Southern California metalcore quintet and Ozzfest 2006 second-stage performers Atreyu, A Death-Grip on Yesterday, opens this week at #9. Sales nearing 69,000 make it the band's biggest debut yet (2004's The Curse bowed at #32 with 34,000 scans). Alan Jackson's Precious Memories follows at #10 with 58,000 in sales.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs flirted with a top 10 debut but fell just shy of the mark. The band's latest, Show Your Bones, surfaces at #11 with nearly 56,000 copies sold. Other notable newcomers to the chart were Rammstein's Rosenrot, at #47 with 20,000 scans, and Do or Die's Get That Paper, which opens at #159 with over 6,000 sales.
Check out "T.I.: Expanding An Empire" for an in-depth interview with the chart's reigning king.