Mary J. Blige's Share My World Tops Album Chart

Jimi's back on the charts.

The reign of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. was finally

ended this week as the queen of New Jill Swing, Mary J. Blige, took the top

spot for the week ending April 27. Blige, whose fourth album, Share My

World has garnered the often tempestuous diva some of her best notices

since her 1992 debut, took the top spot on the Billboard charts with

sales of 240,000 copies according to Soundscan, easily beating country legend

George Strait, whose Carrying Your Love With Me landed in the #2 spot on

first week sales of 194,000.

B.I.G.'s Life After Death, slipped to

fourth on sales of 134,000, giving it a six-week total of nearly 1.5 million in

sales, while the Spice Girls dropped a spot to third with their debut,

Spice, on sales of 145,000 copies. The only other debut in the top ten

was rapper Heavy D's latest, Waterbed Hev, which debuted at #9.

Other chart debuts this week: camp popsters Erasure's Cowboy landed

at #43, Son Volt's Straightaways at #44, punk folkie Ani DiFranco had an

impressive showing with her double-live album Living In Clip, at #59 and

Pennywise's Full Circle also had a strong first week, landing at #79.

Despite the hype over the start of their tour, U2's Pop slid down a

few more notches, to #15, while the Chemical Brothers' massively-hyped Dig

Your Own Hole continued to drop from its #14 debut a few weeks ago,

tumbling from #23 to #38. Meanwhile, the suddenly smokin' hot jazz combo

Squirrel Nut Zippers leaped eight spots to #35, for their highest chart

position yet.

In re-issues news, a compilation of re-packaged Jimi Hendrix

material, First Rays of the New Rising Sun, which contains six tracks

never released on CD before and is the first in a series of Hendrix-family

approved recordings under a new deal with MCA Records, landed in the #49 spot

in its first week on the charts.