Notorious B.I.G. Is The Greatest: Hits LP Debuts At #1

Arcade Fire, Relient K, Korn releases open in Billboard albums chart's top 10.

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Notorious B.I.G.’s death and Bad Boy Records’ release of Greatest Hits, a collection of 17 tracks from the rapper. This week, the LP sits atop Billboard’s top 200 sales chart, earning the late, great Biggie a third #1 debut — though it generated far fewer scans than most of his previous efforts.

B.I.G.’s inaugural outing Ready to Die opened at #15 on the chart in 1994, with sales nearing 56,000, while 1997’s posthumous Life After Death bowed at #1 with 689,500 sold. Two years later, 1999’s Born Again also debuted at #1, with 485,000 scans, while 2005’s Duets: The Final Chapter opened at #3, with 438,000 sales.

Greatest Hits, however, just cleared 99,000 scans, meaning that for a third-straight week, not a single album on Billboard’s top 200 hit the 100,000-sold mark, according to the latest SoundScan totals. And this trip to the top wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Canadian indie rockers the Arcade Fire posed quite a threat to Biggie’s Hits reign, selling 92,000 copies of Neon Bible, which debuts at #2; the band’s 2004 release, Funeral, took 17 weeks to even make the chart, entering at #169 with 6,500 scans.

Compared to previous weeks’ charts, this ended up being a strong one for new releases, with a total of 23 cracking the top 200 — five even penetrating the coveted top 10. Opening this week at #5 is honky-tonker Gary Allan’s Greatest Hits, which scanned close to 70,000 copies. Right behind him at #6 is the latest from Relient K, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, which sold nearly 64,000 units its first week in stores. Korn’s MTV Unplugged set opens at #9, generating 51,000 scans.

Elsewhere on the chart, Sevendust’s Alpha closes out its first week at #14 with sales of 42,000. At #31 is Them vs. You vs. Me, the latest LP from Finger Eleven, which sold more than 19,000 copies during its first week of commercial release. Air’s Pocket Symphony follows at #40, with close to 17,000 copies sold, while Chimaira’s Resurrection pops up at #42 after moving more than 16,000 units.

Bright Eyes’ six-song EP Four Winds debuts at #57, having sold 13,000 copies in its initial sales week. The soundtrack to the nation’s #1 movie, “300,” occupies the #74 slot with close to 11,000 scans. Son Volt’s The Search bows at #81 with 10,000 copies sold.

And in at #113 with 7,500 sales is rapper Consequence’s latest, Don’t Quit Your Day Job. Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s first solo crack, Yours to Keep, enters the top 200 at #117, selling 7,000 copies, while the Stooges’ first album in three decades, The Weirdness, surfaces at #130, with 6,500 scans. Lovedrug’s Everything Starts Where It Ends claims the #162 slot, putting up week-one sales of 5,100, while Ry Cooder’s My Name is Buddy follows at #168 with 4,900 scans.

Johnny Cash is back in the top 200 at #184, with his latest compilation, Cash: Ultimate Gospel ending the week with 4,500 units snatched up. At #190 is The Third Hand, the new one from hip-hop producer RJD2, which sold 4,300 copies. And coming in at #195 is the fresh studio offering from !!!, Myth Takes, scanning 4,200 copies.

In addition to the five new releases cracking the latest top 10, there’s last week’s #1, Daughtry, the eponymous debut from “American Idol” contestant Chris Daughtry’s band, which drops two spots to #3 with 82,000 scans. Akon’s Konvicted follows at #4, moving 76,000 units, while Norah Jones’ Not Too Late falls five positions to #7 with more than 59,000 copies sold. Fall Out Boy’s Infinity on High takes the chart’s #8 spot with 58,000 scans. Robin Thicke’s The Evolution of Robin Thicke moves another 47,000 copies to take #10 on the chart.

Check out the feature “Biggie: Excerpts From the Life” for a closer look at the legendary rapper in his words and those of his friends.