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.