TLC Top Chart For Fourth Straight Week

Ginuwine, Life soundtrack score high, soulful debuts.

It was a soulful week in record stores.

Soul-rap trio TLC's Fan Mail remained the country's best-selling

album last week as it neared 1 million in total sales, according to

album sales tracker Soundscan. That put Fan Mail on top of the

Billboard 200 albums chart for a fourth consecutive week.

Meanwhile, soul singer Ginuwine's 100% Ginuwine, mostly produced

by rapper Timbaland, entered the Billboard chart at #5, making

it the week's highest debut, while the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy/

Martin Lawrence movie Life, featuring Maxwell, Mya and Wyclef

Jean among a lineup of rappers and R&B acts, debuted at #10.

Weekly sales of Fan Mail, which includes

"Silly Ho"

(RealAudio excerpt), slipped below 200,000 for the first time, to 192,988,

but that was still enough to outsell the #2 record, rapper Eminem's

Slim Shady LP, by 20,000 copies. The Eminem album was #4 a week

ago.

Britney Spears' ... Baby One More Time held onto the #3 spot in

a top 10 that remained heavy with female artists. Her debut effort has

sold 1.7 million copies in two and a half months, according to Soundscan

figures.

Rounding out the top 10 were hip-hop/soul diva Lauryn Hill's The

Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (#4); country singer Shania Twain's

Come On Over (#6); punk rockers' the Offspring's Americana

(#7); singer/actress Cher's Believe (#8); and country trio the

Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces (#9).

Cher's album has been propelled by the single "Believe," which remains

at #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart. Dance remixes of the

song have helped fuel sales, according to John O'Reilly, pop music buyer

for Tower Records in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood. He said the

same goes for Lauryn Hill.

"People are just doing a lot more remixes of songs, especially of these

types of artists," O'Reilly said.

Australian rockers Silverchair entered the chart at #50 with their third

album, Neon Ballroom, with sales of just 30,678 copies. The album

contains "Anthem for the Year 2000"

(RealAudio excerpt), which guitarist Daniel Johns recently said was

written to ruffle feathers Down Under.

"The One Nation party in Australia is looking to put curfews on people

of certain ages, which I think is ridiculous," Johns said. "Young people

should stand up for their rights, and I wrote that song to convey that

lyrical idea."

Three others debuts worth a mention: Irish pop band the Corrs entered at

#72 with Talk on Corners. British guitarist Jeff Beck, who was in

the Yardbirds in the 1960s, came in at #99 with Who Else! And

former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre -- the one artist on the chart

who can certifiably say he has the right stuff -- bowed at #49 with his

first solo album, Stay the Same.

Another Australian, Baz Luhrmann, who is best known as a film director

("Romeo and Juliet"), marched into the top 100 with Something for

Everybody. The 1998 album includes "Everybody's Free (To Wear

Sunscreen)," Luhrmann's spoken rendition of a bogus Kurt Vonnegut

graduation speech that spread around the Internet last year.

Busta Rhymes' third album, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The

Final World Front, continued its recent push up the chart, moving up

to #31; two weeks ago it was at #50. The album features

"This Means War!!"

(RealAudio excerpt), a collaboration with Ozzy Osbourne.

Korn, who are on tour with Rob Zombie, continued their own ascension by

jumping six spots to #18 with Follow the Leader, which features

the single "Freak on a Leash"

(RealAudio excerpt).

Exiting the top 10 were Everlast and C-Murder. Everlast's Whitey

Ford Sings The Blues dropped to #11, where it had spent three weeks

before, while C-Murder's Bossalinie, following the pattern of

other albums released by the rap label No Limit, plummeted after a

strong first-week showing.

Bossalinie sold 71,594 copies in the week ending Sunday, after

selling 175,611 copies a week earlier. The album dropped from #2 to #12.

Albums by fellow No Limit artists Silkk the Shocker (at #59) and Mr.

Serv-On (#159) are now in the mid-chart molasses after bursting out of

the gate strongly. No Limit chief executive officer Master P has albums

at #185 (Ghetto D) and #200 (MP Da Last Don).

The deep sales pit that potentially awaits did not bother C-Murder when

he spoke of No Limit earlier this month. "I look at No Limit as this

huge dream that came true for us," said the 23-year-old rapper, who

chose rapping for older brother Master P's label over playing college

basketball.

Hard-core rapper DMX is suffering no such drop-off a year after

exploding into hip-hop conscience. With Flesh of My Flesh -- Blood

of My Blood, which slipped two spots to #14, and It's Dark and

Hell Is Hot, which moved up two spots to #25, he's now had two

albums near the top of the chart for four months.

Fatboy Slim continues to wave the electronica flag up the chart. His

You've Come A Long Way, Baby moved from #48 to #39, continuing a

steady climb that has been fueled by the instantly recognizable hooks of

"The Rockafeller Skank" and "Praise You."