It's an understatement to say that Kanye West is on a roll. As predicted, 'Ye's fifth album, the hotly anticipated My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, will easily top the Billboard 200 albums chart next week, after selling a robust 496,000 copies, giving the Chicago MC his fourth #1 debut in a row.
Just behind him at #2 is the debut from Young Money First Lady Nicki Minaj, who moved 375,000 copies of her Pink Friday. The pair of rap superstars lead a parade of new faces in the top 10 during the biggest week of new album releases of the year, which helped propel the top 11 discs past the six-figure mark.
After nearly two years of mixtapes and guest spots on other artists' songs for Minaj and months of leaking tracks by West, the two friendly rivals prove that the traditional way of setting up albums may officially be a thing of the past. In fact, Minaj's total is one of the highest ever for a female MC's debut, falling just short of the 423,000 copies former Fugees singer Lauryn Hill scored in 1998 with her smash The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Justin Bieber's Walmart-exclusive acoustic disc, My Worlds Acoustic, comes in at #7 on sales of 115,000, with My Chemical Romance just behind at #8 (112,000) with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Also breaking into the top 10 is Ne-Yo, whose Libra Scale hit #9, as the in-demand singer/songwriter sold just a shade under MCR.
The rest of the top 10 features Susan Boyle at #3 with The Gift (263,000), Taylor Swift's Speak Now, which moves up five spots to #4 as sales picked up by 64 percent after five weeks in stores to 241,000, putting her within spitting distance of 2 million albums sold. Jackie Evancho's O Holy Night EP falls a few spots to #5 (142,000), while Rihanna slips three to #6 with her latest, Loud (141,000), and the cast of "Glee" round out the top 10 with their first Christmas collection (108,000).
Kid Rock's time in the top 10 was brief, as his classic-rock-influenced Born Free falls six spots to #11 in week two on sales of 104,000, mirroring the tumble by popera singer Josh Groban, who slips eight slots to #12 in the second week for his latest, Illuminations (99,000).
Despite a digital hit with "We R Who We R," Ke$ha's second album of 2010, Cannibal, has a modest debut, landing at #15 (74,000), even as fellow pop provocateur Katy Perry's Teenage Dream shoots up 18 slots to #16 (72,000) as sales increased by nearly 180 percent from the previous week.
The soundtrack to the Christina Aguilera/Cher movie "Burlesque" matches the so-so box-office returns of that hoofing drama, with a soft debut at #18 (63,000), and G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks has to settle for a #26 bow (44,000) for his H.F.M.2 (Hunger for More 2).
It was also not stellar news for a pair of greatest-hits collections, as Pink's Greatest Hits So Far! drops 14 spots to #29 in its second week (41,000), and Jay-Z's Hits Collection sneaks into the top 50 at #43 (28,000) in its chart debut.
Things are also looking grim for season-nine "American Idol" winner Lee DeWyze after his major-label debut, Live It Up, craters in its second week, nose-diving 74 slots to #93 as sales trailed off by 63 percent. DeWyze scored the worst-selling debut figures ever by an "Idol" winner last week.
Over on the iTunes albums chart, it was mostly the same story, as Kanye took the #1 spot, followed by Nicki, the "Burlesque" soundtrack, the "Glee" Christmas album, Ke$ha, Rihanna, MCR, Swift, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More and Kings of Leon's Come Around Sundown.
Perry still ruled on the iTunes single tally with her latest single, "Firework," with Pink's "Raise Your Glass" just behind, Ke$ha holding at #3 with "We R" and the Black Eyed Peas hitting #4 with "The Time (Dirty Bit)." iTunes doesn't provide detailed sales results, but Rihanna was probably happy with locking down #5 with "What's My Name?" and #7 with "Only Girl (in the World)," with Bruno Mars slipping in at #6 with "Grenade." Rounding out the top 10 was Mars again at #8 with "Just the Way You Are," Far East Movement with "Like a G6" and Trey Songz with "Bottoms Up."
The battle for the top will start all over again next week with the arrival of the Black Eyed Peas' The Beginning, as well as new albums from Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan, Tim McGraw and Flo Rida, as well as yet another "Glee" cast disc.