The movie "Godzilla" may have debuted in the #1 spot at the box office, but
rough-edged rapper DMX and R&B singer Sparkle conspired this week -- along
with the soundtrack to the film "City of Angels" (at #2) -- to keep the star-studded
Godzilla: The Album soundtrack down at #4.
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, the debut from DMX, landed at #1 on the
Billboard 200 albums chart after moving more than 250,000 copies in the
week ending May 24, according to SoundScan. The rapper's name may be
unfamiliar to many chart-watchers, but he's made a name for himself in the hip-
hop community over the past year by appearing on such songs as LL Cool J's
"4,3,2,1," Ice Cube's "We Be Clubbin' Remix," The Lox's "Money, Power,
Respect," Mase's "24 Hours to Live" and Onyx's "Shut Em Down." Sales for the album may also have been boosted by its being packaged with Survival of
the Illest Vol. 1, a Def Jam compilation that features LL Cool J's
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/LL_Cool_J/The_Ripper_Strikes_Back.ram ">"The Ripper Strikes Back"
">"The Ripper Strikes Back"(RealAudio excerpt), the response single
to rapper Canibus' LL dis song,
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Canibus/LP_Version.ram">"2nd Round K.O."
Coming in at #3, behind the City of Angels soundtrack, was the self-titled
debut from R&B singer Sparkle. Produced by Chicago hit-maker R. Kelly and
featuring the current #1 R&B single "Be Careful," the album moved 146,378
copies last week -- just enough to keep it out of the jaws of the Godzilla: The
Album soundtrack, which sold 140,000 copies. The movie blockbuster's
soundtrack includes new tracks by Ben Folds Five, the Foo Fighters and Puff
Daddy with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
Also debuting in the top 10 this week was Lost, the two-CD solo debut
from Memphis, Tenn., producer/rapper Eightball. The set, which also features a
bonus sampler disc of songs from his Suave House Records labelmates, is
Eightball's first album without partner-in-rhyme MJG.
The Eightball set, which features appearances by such rappers as Busta
Rhymes and Redman, sold 127,000 copies and debuted at #5. Reached
Wednesday (May 27) at his hotel room in New York, Eightball (a.k.a. Premro
Smith) was quick to point out that, while it wasn't his first trip to the top 10 --
1995's Eightball and MJG album On Top of the World debuted at #2 -- he
was still very thankful. "It's just beautiful, man," he said. "I pretty much expected
it to do that well, you know what I'm saying? But just knowing that my hard work
paid off like that -- it's just beautiful."
This week's other top-10 debut belonged to former 10,000 Maniacs singer and
co-headliner of this year's Lilith Fair, Natalie Merchant. The singer's rock-
opera-like Ophelia, her second post-10,000 Maniacs album, sold
102,000 copies and landed at #8.
Soulja Slim, Master P's umpteenth protégé, also debuted high this week. His
disc, Give It 2 'Em Raw, sold 82,000 copies and entered the charts at
#13. Sean Lennon's debut album, Into the Sun, made an appearance at
#153 on sales of 7,400.
Headed south this week are electronic-pop band Garbage, who saw Version
2.0 drop from #13 to #23 with two-week sales of 143,000. Retro-funk hippie
Lenny Kravitz also saw a second-week sales drop, with his 5 dropping
from #36 to #49 and totaling out at 57,000. Among the other acts slipping down
the charts: experimental noise-rock masters Sonic Youth, whose A
Thousand Leaves went from #85 to #168; trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack,
whose Mezzanine dropped from #60 to #94; and Soul Asylum, whose
Candy From a Stranger just barely managed to stay on the charts,
slipping from #121 to #190.
While newer releases on the Billboard 200 albums chart are starting to
drop, some of the older chart residents are seeing new life. Green Day's
Nimrod, which was released six months ago, moved from #78 to #60 --
its second week in a row of upward chart movement. Aside from turning in an
energetic set two weeks ago at Washington, D.C.'s HFStival, the group also has
gained exposure by having
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Green_Day/Good_Riddance.ram">"Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)"
of Your Life (Good Riddance)"(RealAudio excerpt) featured on the
television shows "ER" and "Seinfeld." Also inching upward this week were
electronica duo the Crystal Method, continuing to cash in on their "Busy Child"
being used in a Gap commercial. Their 7-month-old debut, Vegas,
climbed up the charts from #189 to #172.
The rest of the best: Garth Brooks, The Limited Series (#6); Dave
Matthews Band, Before These Crowded Streets (#7); Vonda Shepard,
Songs From Ally McBeal (#9); and LeAnn Rimes, Sittin' on Top of the