Lil Wayne, one of the world's best-selling rappers, has known for the past week that he would have the #1 album in the country with his Tha Carter III finally making its way onto record store shelves — it was merely a matter of how high the numbers would ultimately be. After selling some 400,000 copies in its first day, everyone knew Tha Carter III had a great chance of selling more than 900,000 albums, with 1 million in first-week sales within a tattooed arm's reach.
Well, Weezy nation has spoken, and how: According to the latest sales figures from Nielsen SoundScan, Tha Carter III sold 1 million and change, and did so even after most of the album's tracks leaked months ago. The disc has earned the distinction of being the first studio offering since 50 Cent's 2005 LP The Massacre to sell more than 1 million copies in a single week. The only other artist to come close to that total was Kanye West, whose 2007 set Graduation put up opening week sales of 957,000.
Tha Carter III is Weezy's first album to open at #1 on Billboard's weekly albums sales chart. His previous best sales week came in 2005, when Tha Carter II bowed at #2, with 238,500 scans.
So, what does Wayne think about his monumental success? Well, he's pretty humble.
"Thank you, that's it," he told MTV News when asked about the album's first-week sales projections. "[I'm] just very grateful, that's it. Blown away, of course. Surprised, of course. Elated. Every positive word there is.
"I wasn't trippin' about this," he said about his numbers. "I didn't have no expectations. That's not only with music, [that's] period. You shouldn't expect anything. You never know what could happen."
Wayne did have a special message for his fans, however: "What's poppin', MTV? It's Weezy F. Baby, and I just want to thank everybody out there for making Tha Carter III the #1 album in the country. Thank you."
Better than any quote he could give, Wayne responded to his huge sales with a freestyle over the beat from his track "A Milli": "A milli-on sold, first day, I went gold/ How do I celebrate?/ Work on Tha Carter IV/ ... Shout out to every DJ/ Bootleggers, I made history anyway."
Wayne starts his Carter III tour on June 27. He also told MTV News that he and T-Pain are forming a supergroup.
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While Wayne's first-week sales performance is daunting, to say the least, he wasn't alone on next week's top 200, of course. His was among 22 new releases to impact the chart, including next week's #2, Plies' Definition of Real, which wasn't even a contender for the top spot, selling just 214,500 units its first week at retail. Also cracking the top 10 this week is N.E.R.D.'s Seeing Sounds, which enters at #7 with 80,000 sold; Alanis Morissette's Flavors of Entanglement, which follows at #8 with 70,400 scans; and My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges, opening at #9 with a reported 49,000 in sales.
The remainder of the top 10 is fleshed out by the 28th installment in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series, which falls one chart position to #3 with 132,500 sold. Disturbed's Indestructible slips three spots to #4, selling another 101,800 units. Usher's Here I Stand finishes fifth, with 100,800 sold. Journey's Revelation sits in the #6 slot, with 89,200 copies snatched up, and falling six spots to #10 is Weezer's self-titled red album, which sold 46,000 its second week of commercial release.
Elsewhere on the chart, Wallflowers frontman ( and son of Bob) Jakob Dylan's Seeing Things enters at #24, with 24,100 sold. The soundtrack to Nickelodeon's "iCarly" bows at #28, with 20,400 scans; the set features tracks from Avril Lavigne, the Naked Brothers Band, Good Charlotte and the show's star, Miranda Cosgrove. Coming in at #30, with 19,900 sold, is Total Club Hits, a comp featuring the likes of Missy Elliott, Shawty Lo, T.I., Rihanna and more. Rev Theory's Light It Up follows in the #74 position, scanning 10,200 units. The Fratellis' Here We Stand debuts at #80 with 9,600 sold, while rap outfit TMI Boyz's Grindin' for a Purpose enters at #88, thanks to 8,600 scans.
Meanwhile, Tiësto's In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia opens at #91 after selling 8,500 units. Pete Wentz-discovered pop artist Tyga's No Introduction is at #112, with 6,800 units scanned, bagged and carried away from the nation's record shops. Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman's fourth solo EP, Summer, enters next week's chart at #162, with sales reported at 4,700, and coming in at #196, with 3,800 scans, is rapper Keak Da Sneak's Deified.
[This story was originally published at 9:31 pm E.T. on 06.17.2008]