Ruff Ryders Compilation, With DMX, Jay-Z, Tops Chart

Tom Waits, Cranberries, Naughty by Nature, Ben Folds Five also debut.

Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die Vol. 1, a compilation spotlighting such

hard-core rappers as DMX and Jay-Z, sold nearly 300,000 copies last week

to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.

The week also saw solid debuts from Irish popsters the Cranberries,

veteran troubadour Tom Waits and the soundtrack to television's "Dawson's

Creek."

But the top three spots on the chart belonged to hip-hop, with Ruff

Ryders leading the way, according to figures compiled by sales tracker

SoundScan.

The album, released by DMX's label, Ruff Ryders, also features Ma$e --

who recently said he plans to retire from music after his second album,

Double Up, comes out in June -- as well as Lox and Big Punisher.

DMX is featured on three songs, including "Ryde or Die"

(RealAudio excerpt), while Jay-Z contributes "Jigga My Nigga"

(RealAudio excerpt).

Ruff Ryders unseated hip-hop-pop trio TLC's Fan Mail,

which dropped to #2, while rapper Nas' I Am, another former #1

album, came in at #3.

Perhaps the most surprising entry on the chart was Mule Variations,

singer/songwriter Waits' first album for Epitaph Records, a label known

for releasing punk albums. It entered the chart at #30, having sold just

over 40,000 copies in the week ending Sunday.

Waits recently said he and his wife, Kathleen Brennan, wrote 25 songs

for the album. "Sixteen of them made the record and the others go in the

orphanage," Waits said. "You line up these guys and you tell them, 'OK,

now go out and bring dad home some money.' "

The "Dawson's Creek" soundtrack entered the chart at #7. It features

sweet pop tunes and light-rock songs, including Paula Cole's "I Don't

Want To Wait" and Sixpence None the Richer's top-10 hit "Kiss Me."

The Cranberries, who began a U.S. club tour last week, debuted at #13

with Bury the Hatchet, their first album since 1996's To the

Faithful Departed. The album includes "Animal Instinct"

(RealAudio excerpt).

Also debuting this week: veteran rappers Naughty by Nature at #22 with

Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury; soul singer Eric Benet at

#25 with A Day in the Life; Ben Folds Five at #35 with The

Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner; and child rappers Lil'

Soldiers at #80 with Boot Camp.

Rounding out the top 10 were country singer Shania Twain at #4 with

Come on Over; teen pop singer Britney Spears at #5 with

... Baby One More Time; singer/actress Cher at #6 with Believe;

punk-rockers the Offspring at #7 with Americana; Italian tenor

Andrea Bocelli at #9 with Sogno; and rapper Eminem at #10 with

The Slim Shady LP.

Spears' album has now been in the top five since it came out in January,

and it is approaching U.S. sales of 3 million copies, according to

SoundScan figures. It sold another 105,401 copies last week.

Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals dropped from #162 to #189, having sold 6,525 copies.

Manson has been in the news regularly since the high school

shootings in Littleton, Colo., two weeks ago -- the alleged shooters

reportedly were fans.