It's surprising that a rapper as respected as Common, who's been in the game for more than 15 years, never had one of his records open in the #1 slot on Billboard's albums chart — well, until now.
The MC's latest release, Finding Forever, has accomplished what none of his previous LPs could. With more than 155,300 first-week scans, Finding Forever is the nation's newest #1, fending off Korn's Untitled, which claims the #2 spot on next week's chart with 123,000 sold, according to the latest SoundScan figures.
Before now, the closest Common had come to the top was with 2005's Be, which bowed at #2, selling over 184,600 units (see "Audioslave Rage To First Billboard #1"). For Korn — whose last studio offering, 2005's See You on the Other Side, opened at #3 with sales of 220,800 — Common's conquest means they'll have to wait for another of their discs to debut on top. The last Korn set to do so was 1999's Issues on approximately 573,800 first-week sales.
Sliding two places to #3 this week, selling 122,900 copies, is the 25th release in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series, followed at #4 by the Hairspray soundtrack, which generated sales of close to 82,200. Meanwhile, Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, the latest from the star of the Disney Channel series, falls one spot to #5, scanning 81,600 copies.
T.I.'s T.I. vs. T.I.P. hangs tough at #8, thanks to 55,300 week-five scans, while Fergie's The Dutchess tumbles three positions to #9, with 53,400. And rounding out next week's top 10 is Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight; next week, look for the album's total sales to top the 1.5 million mark.
All told, there were just 13 newcomers to next week's albums sales chart. A total of four managed to crack Billboard's top 10, including reggae-influenced rapper Sean Kingston, whose self-titled debut claims the #6 position with 74,700 sold. Following him at #7, with 70,700 scans, is the latest installment in the Kidz Bop franchise, Kidz Bop 12, an album boasting children covering songs by Avril Lavigne, Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Nickelback, Maroon 5 and others.
The Starting Line's latest, Direction, debuts on next week's chart at #30, thanks to reported sales of more than 20,200, and coming in at #43 with sales of 17,100-plus is True Beauty, the debut LP from Mandisa, who was the ninth-place finalist in season five of "American Idol." DevilDriver's Last Kind Words follows at #48 with nearly 14,300 units scanned, and making his return to the chart at #52 is Keith Murray, whose Rap-Murr-Phobia (The Fear of Real Hip-Hop) sold more than 13,300 units its first week.
Rapper Kia Shine's Due Season bows at #84, having sold close to 9,500 units, while an Elvis Presley live compilation titled Elvis: Viva Las Vegas follows at #94 with 8,100 scans. Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald's Love Letters From Ella opens at #97, selling little more than 7,800 copies, and down in the #105 slot, with sales of 7,200 and change, is the "Bratz" soundtrack. Finally, just making the Billboard cut at #199, is the latest from Five Finger Death Punch, Way of the Fist, which sold 3,800 copies.