September 7, 2005

Rapper West debuts at No. 1 on US charts

By Margo Whitmire

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Kanye West was top of the class
on Wednesday as his second release "Late Registration" opened
at No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts.

After a few weeks of relatively low-key activity on the
Billboard 200, West led a slew of high-profile debuts by
G-Unit's Tony Yayo, Brooks & Dunn, Death Cab For Cutie, Casting
Crowns, Rihanna, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. After two weeks at
No. 1, Hilary Duff's hits package fell to No. 8.

The highly-anticipated "Registration" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
sold 860,000 copies in the week ended September 4, according to
Nielsen SoundScan, besting the nearest competition by more than
600,000. The total is nearly double the outspoken
producer/rapper's previous high water mark, achieved when his
2004 debut, "The College Dropout," opened at No. 2 with 441,000
units. That Grammy-winning set has sold 2.7 million to date.

Along with being embroiled in a lawsuit with a Chicago DJ
over an alleged forged recording agreement, West has been in
the news following his highly-charged comments against
President George W. Bush during last week's NBC Universal
Hurricane Katrina telethon. He is slated to take part in
another such event, MTV/VH1/CMT's "ReACT Now" benefit, on

Yayo's "Thoughts of a Predicate Felon" (G-Unit/Interscope)
took the No. 2 slot with a 214,000-copy start. The rapper's
solo debut is led by the single "So Seductive," featuring
fellow G-Unit star 50 Cent, which reached No. 7 on Billboard's
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list.

Veteran country duo Brooks & Dunn earned its highest spot
on the Billboard 200 with a No. 3 entry for "Hillbilly Deluxe"
(Arista Nashville). Sales of 111,000 mark the second-largest
opening week for the pair, just behind 2003's "Red Dirt Road,"
which opened at No. 4 with 114,000. Lead single "Play Something
Country," recently became the duo's 20th No. 1 on Billboard's
Hot Country Songs list.

One-time indie kingpin Death Cab For Cutie reached the
highest chart spot of its career with its major-label debut,
"Plans." Featuring the modern rock airplay single "Soul Meets
Body," the Atlantic album debuted at No. 4 on sales of 90,000
copies. It's a huge leap from the band's 2003 Barsuk set
"Transatlanticism," which started with just 13,000 at No. 97
before falling off the chart two weeks later.

Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam)
slipped two places to No. 5 with 86,000 copies. The Black Eyed
Peas' "Monkey Business" (A&M/Interscope) also was down two,
landing at No. 6 with 84,000.

The 19th installment of "NOW! That's What I Call Music"
(EMI Group/Universal/Sony BMG/Zomba/Capitol) compilation slid
five places to No. 7 with 78,000, and Duff's "Most Wanted"
(Hollywood) dropped to No. 8 with 77,000 copies.

Casting Crowns entered The Billboard 200 at No. 9 with
"Lifesong," thanks to a career-best sales week of 71,000
copies. The album also zoomed to No. 1 on the Top Christian
Albums tally. In 2004, the Christian group bowed at No. 198 on
the big chart with 6,000 units sold of its self-titled debut;
the album eventually reached No. 59 and to date has sold 1

After storming the singles charts with "Pon De Replay" --
which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 -- hip-hop newcomer
Rihanna debuted at No. 10 on the album chart as "Music of the
Sun" (SRP/Def Jam/IDJMG) sold 69,000 copies.

Outside the top tier, Eric Clapton's latest studio set,
"Back Home" (Duck/Reprise), bowed at No. 13 with 59,000 copies.
The guitar great's last set of original material, "Reptile,"
started at No. 5 with 102,000 copies in 2001 and has sold
561,000 to date.

Fellow rock legend Bob Dylan entered The Billboard 200 at
No. 16, his highest ranking on the chart in almost four years,
with "No Direction Home: The Soundtrack -- The Bootleg Series
Vol. 7" (Columbia/Legacy). The soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's
documentary about the singer/songwriter moved 51,000 copies.
Dylan last reached the top 20 with "Love & Theft," which began
at No. 5 in September 2001 with 134,000 copies and has sold
754,000 to date.

Also bowing inside the chart's top 50 were Herbie Hancock's
"Possibilities" (Vector, No. 22), Yolanda Adams' "Day By Day"
(Atlantic/WEA, No. 23), Cold's "A Different Kind of Pain"
(Lava, No. 26), 30 Seconds To Mars' "A Beautiful Lie" (Virgin,
No. 44) and Our Lady Peace's "Healthy in Paranoid Times"
(Columbia, No. 45).

Overall U.S. album sales were up 8.6% from last week at
10.5 million units, but trailed the same week last year by 13%.
Sales for 2005 are behind 2004 by 8.4% at 375 million units.