Wednesday (November 14) marks a professional milestone for hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z. With 425,000 copies of his latest release, American Gangster, flying off shelves during its first week, the MC/ Def Jam president has earned himself the 10th chart-topping debut of his career.
Now, while that’s certainly an impressive feat for any artist these days, it’s an even more monumental achievement than you’d think. Thanks to American Gangster, a concept album inspired by the Ridley Scott-directed film of the same name , Jay’s now tied with Elvis Presley in second place for most career #1 albums; only the Beatles have more, with 19 overall.
And to think the man wanted to retire after 2003’s The Black Album.
Gangster is Jay-Z’s second full-length project in a year’s time, following up 2006’s comeback album, Kingdom Come. Both The Black Album and Kingdom Come entered the Billboard top 200 at #1, with 463,000 and 680,000 scans, respectively. According to SoundScan, Hov has had seven other studio offerings open at the chart’s peak, including 1998’s Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (with 352,200 scans); 1999’s Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter (462,700); 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc la Familia (557,800); 2001’s The Blueprint (426,500); 2002’s The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse (545,200); his 2004 collaboration with R. Kelly, Unfinished Business (215,000); and 2004’s Collision Course, a mash-up set featuring Linkin Park (368,300).
While most figured Jay was a lock for the #1 position on next week’s chart, some put their money on R&B heartthrob Chris Brown’s sophomore release Exclusive to deliver a mind-bending upset — after all, the ladies do love him. Others had Garth Brooks’ two-CD/ DVD collection The Ultimate Hits finishing in first. Of course, they were wrong. In fact, Jay’s closest competitor was last week’s #1 , the Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden, which sold another 359,300 copies for the chart’s #2 opening. Brooks’ best-of generated 351,800 scans to open at #3, while Brown’s LP sold 294,500 units and follows in the #4 spot.
Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride slipped two spots to #5, with sales reported at 120,780, and at #6, up two places from the previous week, is Josh Groban’s Noël with 115,600 copies sold. Britney Spears’ Blackout nosedives five positions to #7, selling another 86,700 units (second-week sales of the disc suffered a 70 percent decline), while Taylor Swift’s self-titled LP follows at #8 with 67,600 scans.
All told, five new releases entered next week’s chart in the prestigious top 10, including Angels & Airwaves’ sophomore LP, I-Empire, which sold 66,500 copies to take the #9 slot, and Cassidy’s first post-prison outing, B.A.R.S.: The Barry Adrian Reese Story, which scanned 63,200 copies to debut at #10. Meanwhile, a dozen other titles are making their first appearances on the chart this week, including Latin reggaetón duo Wisin & Yandel’s Los Extraterrestres, which enters at #14 with 52,600 copies sold. Country act Little Big Town follow at #24, selling 34,600 copies of their new one, A Place to Land, while the soundtrack to “American Gangster” takes the #36 spot with 21,000 scans.
Still on Top: The Greatest Hits, the third compilation album to be issued by Van Morrison in 2007, debuts at #48 with 17,900 copies snatched up, while Jimmy Buffett’s Live in Anguilla sold 15,350 copies to enter at #54. Hvarf/Heim, Sigur Rós’ double-CD compilation, follows at #58 with 14,500 scans, and coming in at #85 with 10,500 copies sold is Demon Hunter’s Storm the Gates of Hell. Nas’ Greatest Hits comes in at #124 with 6,900 sold.
Nonpoint return from obscurity at the #130 position, having sold 6,400 copies of their new one, Vengeance, while Aliados de la Sierra’s Con Los Ojos Cerrados follows at #137 with 6,000 scans. American songstress Sara Groves’ Tell Me What You Know debuts at #194 with 4,300 scans, and at #196, with sales of 4,200, it’s Andrea Bocelli’s The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere.