[artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] will keep his crown next week, topping the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second time with The Blueprint 3, which moved 298,000 copies in week two. With a modest 37 percent drop-off, Jigga managed to hold the top spot as his latest steamed toward sales of 775,000 in just two weeks, according to numbers provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
There was plenty of competition from other rappers' new releases in the top 10, but nobody came close to Jay. English prog trio and "Twilight" soundtrack darlings Muse will notch their best U.S. chart debut to date with their ambitious rock opera The Resistance, which lands at #3 on sales of 128,000. They're followed by the trippy debut from rapper [artist id="3066140"]Kid Cudi[/artist], Man on the Moon: The End of Day (104,000); the debut EP from fellow up-and-comer [artist id="2545682"]Drake[/artist]'s So Far Gone (#6, 73,000) and the long-awaited new one from Louisiana's Lil Boosie, Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz (#7, 49,000), which charts the day after the MC agreed to a plea deal on a drug charge that will send him to prison for two years. Also debuting in the top 10 is the latest from long-running metallers [artist id="1257"]Megadeth[/artist], Endgame, which comes in at #9 on sales of 45,000.
The rest of the top 10 are: Whitney Houston's I Look to You (#2, 156,000), Miley Cyrus' Time of Our Lives EP (#5, 75,000), Taylor Swift's Fearless (which jumped 37 percent to 46,000 following her run-in with Kanye West at the VMAs) and the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which slips a bit to #10 on sales of 40,000.
Also seemingly getting the VMA bump is Lady Gaga's Fame, which moves up 11 spots to #12 (33,000) with a 76 percent sales increase over the previous week. Pink's nearly year-old Funhouse zooms up 35 spots to #28 on sales of 16,000 (a 95 percent increase from the previous week). Jonas Brothers-approved act Honor Society hit #18 in the chart debut for their Fashionably Late album (22,000), while Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 swan dives from its #4 debut to #22 as sales (21,000) dropped 68 percent. Boys Like Girls had a similar fate as Love Drunk shed 63 percent of its debut-week business to drop 22 spots to #30 (15,000).
Trick Daddy's reverse psychology didn't seem to work, as the rapper's independently released Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug only hit #34 in its first week (13,000), finishing just ahead of the latest from former Kid Rock protégé Uncle Kracker, Happy Hour (#38, 13,000), the first Spanish-language album from Nelly Furtado, Mi Plan (#39, 13,000), and the debut from singer/songwriter Pete Yorn and actress Scarlett Johansson, Break Up (#41, 13,000). The news is also just so-so for "You're a Jerk" rappers New Boyz, whose Skinny Jeanz & a Mic pulls up to the #56 position in its first week on sales of 10,000, still beating out the long-awaited release of Q-Tip's Kamaal the Abstract, which limps in at #77 (6,000).
Look for chart debuts from Pearl Jam, Sean Kingston and Brand New next week.