Consider for a moment the kind of pressure Grammy-winning rapper T.I. must have faced during the recording of his latest opus, T.I. vs. T.I.P. His previous release, 2006's King, debuted at #1 on Billboard's albums chart, moving more than 522,000 units during its first week of commercial release. The LP earned the distinction of being one of the year's top sellers, and it was far and away the best-selling hip-hop offering of 2006, with nearly 1.6 million copies sold.
Needless to say, expectations have been high for T.I. vs. T.I.P., and to T.I.'s credit, he delivered. With first-week sales of 467,700, the disc doesn't replace Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight (which sold 623,000 copies in its first week) as 2007's best-performing debut to date, but it trounced sales of Norah Jones' Not Too Late, which scanned 405,000 copies to take second-place honors.
T.I. knocks last week's #1, Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus — the latest release from pop artist Cyrus, star of the Disney Channel original series "Hannah Montana" — to #2. The disc sold 187,600 copies, falling 42 percent from last week, according to the latest SoundScan totals.
T.I. wasn't the only newcomer to next week's chart to make a top 10 bow. Debuting at #5, with sales reported at 93,400 and change, is Velvet Revolver's sophomore LP, Libertad, followed closely at #6 by former Destiny's Child songstress Kelly Rowland's Ms. Kelly, which generated sales of close to 82,500. The fifth-place finish has to be disappointing for the Revolver, considering the band's 2004 debut, Contraband, opened at #1 with 256,000 scans. Rowland, on the other hand, must be thrilled: Her first album, 2002's Simply Deep, debuted at #12, clocking sales of 77,300.
Falling one spot this week to #3 is Kelly Clarkson's new one, My December, which sold another 113,300 units, even after taking a 61 percent sales hit. Interestingly, Clarkson's album, in just two weeks, has managed to outsell Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad, even without the benefit of a top 40 radio single. Clarkson's disc has cleared the 405,000 mark, while Rihanna's album, which has been in stores for five weeks and boasts the hit songs "Umbrella" and "Shut Up and Drive," has sold just 382,600 units.
Sales of Bon Jovi's Lost Highway remain strong, earning the New Jersey rockers the chart's #4 position, thanks to 93,600 scans. Following Rowland at #7 is Brad Paisley's 5th Gear, with 59,500 copies sold, and at #8 this week, sliding two spots, is Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, which sold to the tune of 57,000. Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight follows at #9, with 56,500 units scanned, and rounding out the top 10 with 55,600 copies sold is the White Stripes' latest, Icky Thump.
Eight other albums make their debuts on next week's chart, including the soundtrack to the summer blockbuster "Transformers." The set features contributions from Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins, Disturbed, Taking Back Sunday and others, and it bows at #21 with 32,300 scans. Silverstein's Arrivals and Departures follows at #25, having sold 27,000 copies during its first week at retail, while Twiztid's Independent's Day opens at #57, with 12,600 sold. Reggae artist Collie Buddz's self-titled debut takes the chart's #68 position, with 10,800 scans, while rapper Pastor Troy's Tool Muziq claims the #91 slot, thanks to 8,300 scans.
Finally, there's Pearl Jam, whose live box set, Live at the Gorge 05/06, debuted on last week's chart at #36, with 19,150 units flying off store shelves during its initial sales week. But like most box sets, second-week sales took a dive, dropping the set to #191 on next week's chart.