50 Cent Still Tops; Dixie Chicks Backlash Hits Home On Albums Chart

Get Rich or Die Tryin' #1 for fourth straight week.

50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' will top the Billboard albums chart for the fourth straight week after selling more than 234,000 copies, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (March 26). Of the album's seven-week chart life, it's led the pack for five of them, for a grand total of 3.5 million copies sold.

Both Norah Jones and R. Kelly will remain in their respective #2 and #3 spots from the week before. Sales of Jones' Come Away With Me, a chart fixture for over a year, were upwards of 175,000 copies, a depression of more than 67,000 from the week before. Kelly's Chocolate Factory also slid in sales, from 128,000 to 104,000 copies.

The disparaging remarks the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines made about President George W. Bush in London two weeks ago ("Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas ..."), has hit Home, so to speak. In response to outrage from many Bush supporters, the country trio's songs were pulled from several radio stations' playlists, despite Maines' public explanation ("My comments were made in frustration ...") issued almost immediately after the news broke. The controversy took its toll at retail, as sales of Home fell by more than 42 percent, from 123,000 copies to 71,000. The LP, which has resided near the top of the chart for 30 weeks, will slide three spots to #7.

Thanks to the release of the "8 Mile" DVD, which includes the video for "Superman" as an extra, the film's soundtrack will re-enter the top 10 at #10, having advanced 19 places by selling more than 55,000 copies. The soundtrack, along with The Eminem Show, which will leap six spots to #12, are the only albums in next week's top 20 to have made a significant increase in sales.

The remainder of next week's top 10 finds sales of the "Chicago" soundtrack relatively calm before the storm following its Oscar victories as it moves up two spots to #4 (96,000); Evanescence's Fallen rising four places to #5 (84,000); Kid Rock's Cocky up two notches to #6 (77,000); Fabolous' Street Dreams dropping a peg to #8 (64,000); and Sean Paul's Dutty Rock moving up three places to #9 (62,000).

Audioslave's self-titled debut will also make a significant chart stride, though sales remained relatively unchanged. Having just wrapped up their first North American tour on the back of their latest single, "Like a Stone," and with politically outspoken guitarist Tom Morello expressing his feelings on the war in Iraq, Audioslave's visibility was raised, allowing the LP to move up six spots to #15.

Conversely, AFI's Sing the Sorrow will have the biggest slide of any top-20 album. The band's sixth LP made its debut at #5, but following a 60,000 copy drop-off in weekly sales, will sink 13 spots to #18.

The onset of war may have kept shoppers away from record stores last week. Total sales of top 200 albums were down by more than 641,000 copies, from 4.33 million copies to 3.69 million.

Notable chart debuts include (Hed) Planet Earth's fourth album, Blackout, at #33; classic Southern rockers the Allman Brothers Band's first studio album in nine years, Hittin' the Note, at #37; Atticus ... Dragging the Lake II, a compilation featuring unreleased and rare songs from Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, Sparta and others, at #51; Lost Boyz rapper Mr. Cheeks' second LP, Back Again!, at #75; the second post-Pavement album by Stephen Malkmus, this time with the Jicks, Pig Lib, at #97; hick-hop rapper DF Dub's Country Girl at #144; No Limit soldier Magic's White Eyes at #147; Massachusetts rockers Cave In's major-label debut, Antenna, at #169; and the label sampler, The Heart of Roadrunner Records, featuring cuts from Slipknot, Fear Factory, Type O Negative and other bands from the label's roster, at #186.