In a year that has seen many a notable hip-hop album surge to the top of the chart and then, just as suddenly, plunge out of the top 10, rapper -- and Roc-A-Fella Records CEO -- Jay-Z is proving himself the exception to the rule.
His Volume 2: Hard Knock Life remained at the #1 slot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the second week in a row, holding back such competitors as fellow rappers Bizzy Bone and Kurupt, and such mainstream rockers as Phil Collins and John Mellencamp. The album, Jay-Z's third, is the follow-up to Volume 1 -- In My Lifetime (1997).
According to SoundScan, the company that tracks record sales, Jay-Z moved 208,000 copies of Volume 2: Hard Knock Life in the week ending Oct. 11, bringing his two-week total to 562,000. That's enough to earn a gold record (500,000 copies sold) from the Recording Industry Association of America, a feat that has been achieved in two weeks this year only by a select group of artists, including punk-rappers the Beastie Boys and Fugees singer/rapper Lauryn Hill.
Nipping at Jay-Z's heels this week was Heaven's Movie, the first solo album from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony member Bizzy Bone. It landed at #3 after moving 130,000 copies.
Also debuting in the top 10 is ANTRA records CEO (and former member of Tha Dogg Pound) Kurupt, who nestled in at #8 with his first solo album, Kuruption. A two-CD set, it features one disc of beats-and-rhymes East Coast rap and one disc of groove-centered West Coast rap -- including the single "We Can Freak It" (RealAudio excerpt). It moved 82,000 copies in its first week of release.
Falling just short of the top 10 this week was the #11 charting IV from ganja-rappers Cypress Hill and The Recipe from West Coast-rapper Mack 10, which bowed at #15.
Creeping up behind the rappers at #18 was pop-rock drummer/singer and former Genesis frontman Phil Collins, whose Hits album came in at #18. Further down the charts, quirky rockers Cake debuted at #33 with Prolonging the Magic, followed closely by rappers Twista & Speedknot Mobstaz at #34 with Mobstability, and '80s synth-pop giants Depeche Mode's Singles 86-98 at #38.
Heartland-rocker Mellencamp's self-titled record bowed at #41, while rapper Tela's Now or Never staked its claim at #49. Ska-rockers Less Than Jake made their presence known at #80 with Hello Rockview, and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura thrashed into the #82 spot with Against.