After two weeks of dancing to their favorite hip-hop artist, it seems the record-buying public is now in the mood for something inspirational, if not a tad melodramatic in their music.
Everyone except die-hard Ozzy Osbourne fans such as 22-year-old Jason House, that is.
House, a mechanic from Ferndale, Mich., was among the 70,000 Ozzy heads who rushed to stores last week to pick up The Ozzman Cometh, the maniacal metal man's greatest hits and rarities collection which landed at #13 on the Billboard album chart for last week. "I'm a fanatic, so you know I had to have it," he said of the 2-CD collection which features rare tracks from his band Black Sabbath. "I eat, live and breathe Ozzy and I'm glad to see that I have 69,999 brothers and sister out there!"
Also looking for their own kind of inspiration last week were the Matchbox 20 fans who sent the pop-alternative group's Yourself or Someone Like You surging back into the top 10, after dwelling in the lower half of the top 20 for a period.
Meanwhile, indomitable diva Barbra Streisand's Higher Ground debuted in the #1 slot on the Billboard album chart, sending Puff Daddy protege Mase's groove filled Harlem World tumbling to fifth place. According to SoundScan, 207,000 people are likely singing along to Streisand's collection of inspirational songs, including her duet with Canadian songstress Celine Dion, "Tell Him."
While Mase took a tumble, New Orleans rapper Mystikal, the newest member of rap impresario Master P's No Limit Records family, saw his full-length debut, Unpredictable, move 156,500 copies -- enough to land the rough-edged rapper in the #3 slot. Tumbling 15 spots, rapper Jay-Z's In My Lifetime landed at #18. Jay-Z is currently supporting the album by performing on the massive Puff Daddy and the Family "No Way Out" tour. Old school rap master Rakim took a tumble this week, with The 14th Letter dropping 10 spots to #14.
The week's other big debut came from R&B supergroup LSG, which features the smooth vocal stylings of solo chart-toppers Levert, Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill. The group seduced 138,000 people into picking up a copy of their self-titled debut, good enough for a #4 showing.
Oakland-based rappers the Luniz, responsible for 1995's underground hit "I've Got Five On It," unleashed their latest collection of Lunitik Muzik only to watch it land at #34. Timbaland and Magoo, right-hand men for hot hip-hop songwriter/rapper Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot and producers of such acts as Aaliyah, Ginuwine and SWV, debuted at #35 with Welcome To My World.
Punk rockers NOFX moved enough copies of So Long... And Thanks For All The Shoes to appear at #79, while Lisa Loeb's Firecracker, her sophomore effort and her first album without back-up band Nine Stories, did not live up to its explosive name and landed at #90. Rapper MC Eiht's Last Man Standing took its stance in the #64 slot.
In the same week they released their latest LP, Re-Load, Metallica's previous album, Load, moved up eight spots to #141, not coincidentally a week after the excitement surrounding their free Veteran's Day concert in the parking lot of Philadelphia's CoreStates Complex. If Load's resurgence is any indication, Re-Load will more than likely take its place near the top of next week's chart.
The rest of Billboard's best: Shania Twain (#2), LeAnn Rimes (#6), Chumbawamba (#7), Spice Girls (#8) and Mariah Carey (#9). [Wed., Nov. 19, 1997, 5:30 p.m. PDT]