For the second consecutive week rap reigned over the album sales charts as the sophomore disc by Cleveland hip-hoppers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony bowed as expected at the top of the nation’s chart. The strong bow of the quartet’s “Art of War” disc pushed last week’s leader, Puff Daddy, into the No. 2 spot.
Bone Thugs’ double album sold more than 394,000 copies in the week ended Aug. 3 and eclipsed the group’s debut, “E. 1999 Eternal,” which sold north of 307,000 copies in its first week in 1995.
The disc easily passed the second-week tally of Puff Daddy & the Family’s “No Way Out,” which logged more than 301,000 copies, representing an almost 50% drop from its first-week numbers.
The falloff marked a continuing trend of hip-hop releases bowing big and receding by more than 50% the next week.
The single-notch drop of Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy/Arista Records disc mirrored the movement of the chart’s top six releases.
The soundtrack to Columbia Pictures’ “Men in Black” fell to No. 3 on sales of 166,000 copies; the Spice Girls’ Virgin Records disc “Spice” landed at No. 4 on sales of 134,000; and “Middle of Nowhere,” the debut from Mercury Records’ trio Hanson, checked in at No. 5 on sales of 117,000 copies. Arista songstress Sarah McLachlan also saw her “Surfacing” disc drop one spot to No. 6 on 105,000 units.
The top 10 listings also boasted the soundtrack to “Spawn,” which debuted at No. 7 on sales of almost 98,000 copies.
The album was funneled through the recently established Sony Music Soundtrax arm, which was able to claim ownership of the top three soundtracks in the chart’s top 20, a never-before-achieved industry milestone. (The label also had “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” which nabbed No. 17 with 57,000 units.)
Other notable chart action included Sugar Ray benefiting from a spate of TV appearances including a stop at MTV’s Motel California, which pushed his Atlantic Records disc “Floored” to No. 24 on 50,000 copies; Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Epic Records disc “Live at Carnegie Hall” landing at No. 40; and Lisa Stansfield’s self-titled release opening at No. 55 on 21,000 copies.
Rounding out the top 10 was Prodigy’s Maverick Records bow “Fat of the Land” at No. 8 on 91,000; and a pair of Atlantic Records discs — Matchbox 20’s “Yourself or Someone Like You,” at No. 9; and Jewel’s “Pieces of You,” at No. 10 on sales of 82,000 discs.