Jay-Z's Retirement Gets Even Richer As 'Collision Course' Debuts At #1

Next week will see top-10 debuts for Kelly Clarkson, Nas and T.I., as well.

Jay-Z will make his second trip to the top of the Billboard albums chart this year, and he's brought Linkin Park along for the ride.

Collision Course -- the mash-up album that blends Jigga's rhymes and beats with the grinding guitars, explosive choruses and anguished lyrics of the nu-metal band -- will come in at #1 on next week's chart, with first-week sales totaling more than 368,000 copies, according to SoundScan. The LP, which stems from MTV's "Ultimate Mash-Ups" show, follows the #1 debut by Jay and R. Kelly's Unfinished Business in November, and marks the rapper's seventh chart-topping debut overall.

For Linkin Park, the CD/DVD set, which also includes live footage of the two artists performing together in July, counts as their second #1 debut, following 2003's Meteora.

Collision Course will handily knock the previous top album, U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, down to #2. The band's latest album sold more than 288,000 copies last week for a two-week total of more than 1.1 million.

Former "American Idol" champ Kelly Clarkson will return to the top 10 with her second album, Breakaway. Her follow-up to last year's Thankful sold more than 250,000 copies.

Nas did much better in the first week with his new double album, Street's Disciple, than he did with its 2002 predecessor. The Queensbridge rapper's latest sold more than 231,000 copies last week to take the #5 spot, while God's Son moved just 156,000 after an abbreviated opening week due to online leakage.

A troubled year, complete with jail time, was little more than a stumbling block for rapper T.I., who bounced back into the top 10 with his third album, Urban Legend. If anything, being a fugitive helped the Southern rhymer's first-week sales: Where Urban Legend will come in at #7 with more than 192,000 copies sold, last year's Trap Music debuted higher but sold about 84,000 fewer copies.

The rest of next week's top 10 will find Eminem's Encore slipping two spots to #4 (with more than 248,000 copies sold); Shania Twain's Greatest Hits dipping three places to #6 (195,000); Now That's What I Call Music! 17 dropping a pair to #8 (168,000); Destiny's Child's Destiny Fulfilled sliding from #4 to #9 (164,000); and Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2 losing five places to #10 (141,000).

Being an American Idol, or even an almost-Idol, isn't what it used to be.

As the televised talent show gets ready to vault into its fourth season, past winners and runners-up haven't packed the punch that they once did at retail. While Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway did better than every new album except one last week, it couldn't top her debut. Not only did last year's Thankful take the top slot after week one, it even beat out the mighty 50 Cent to get there. Amid the 50 frenzy, when Get Rich Or Die Tryin' was still in the top five, the pop singer sold 50,000 copies more than the rapper's CD/DVD set The New Breed -- and that wasn't even during the inflated, holiday shopping season.

Clarkson's not the only Idol to have her follow-up land further down the chart than her debut. Season-two winner Ruben Studdard, a.k.a the Velvet Teddy Bear, suddenly isn't as cuddly anymore. Where once Rube topped the chart with Soulful, selling more than 416,000 copies in its first week, Studd's second effort, I Need An Angel, placed at #20. Next week, the soul goes south, down to #43, a 57 percent drop-off.

Most recent Idol Fantasia was the first winner not to have a #1 debut. Her Free Yourself bowed in at #8, and will fall to #21 in its second week.

Despite his lovably large ears and good-boy mannerism, folks aren't achin' for Clay like they used to, either. Aiken's Merry Christmas With Love has been on a steady decline since it debuted at #4 three weeks ago. Next week it falls to #13, while other non-pop holiday offerings from Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra both improved in both chart position and weekly sales.

On the Move

After just one week, Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby will vacate the top 10, a surprising slip for the No Doubt singer, considering the media attention heaped upon the star-studded solo album. It slides eight spots down to #15. By comparison, No Doubt's last effort, The Singles 1992-2003, spent its first two weeks at #2 and #8.

Precious Metal

The Recording Industry Association of America issued 13 multi-platinum, 11 platinum, and 25 gold albums for certified sales shipments last month (gold = 500,000 copies sold; platinum = 1,000,000). Nelly scored on both the Sweat and Suit fronts, with the former earning a gold and platinum award, and the latter lauded for its gold, platinum, and double-platinum status.

JoJo's self-titled debut was certified platinum, while Alter Bridge's One Day Remains and Finger Eleven's eponymous LP both crossed the half-million threshold. More than two years after its release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot earned Wilco their first gold record.