‘Firm’ grasp on No. 1

Rap compilation bows atop music chart

A two-month lull between rap albums bowing at No. 1 on the nation’s pop album sales chart ended Wednesday with Interscope Records’ compilation disc “The Firm” replacing teenage sensation LeAnn Rimes in the top spot.

More than 147,000 copies of the disc, which boasts tracks from Foxee Brown, A.Z. and Nas, were sold during the week ended Oct. 26, according to sales data released Wednesday.

Rimes sold more than 117,000 copies of her Curb Records disc “You Light Up My Life” during the seven-day period. Its fall-off was less than 15,000 copies from the previous week.

But overall sales in the industry were sluggish compared to the previous week, when the top seven albums sold more than 100,000 copies each. On this week’s list, only the top two discs boasted six-figure sales tallies.

Fleetwood Mac’s “The Dance,” which checked in at No. 3, posted sales of 96,000 copies. The disc is closing in on 1.2 million copies in its 10 weeks of release.

Mariah Carey’s “Butterfly” disc rose two spots to No. 4 on sales of 90,000 copies. The tally helped push Janet Jackson’s Virgin Records disc “The Velvet Rope” down to No. 5 on sales of 83,000 copies.

The Jackson disc, which bowed two weeks ago at No. 1, saw its third-week sales tally drop by 40,000 copies.

Checking in at No. 6 was the LaFace/Arista soundtrack “Soul Food,” which logged 82,300 copies. The total was sufficient to keep the disc ahead of Boyz II Men’s Motown Records offering “Evolution,” which topped 77,000 copies during the period.

“Aquarium,” the debut from MCA Records act Aqua, rose to No. 8 on sales of 75,500 copies. The Danish quartet, which has not been embraced by MTV, has still averaged an impressive 80,000 copies sold in each of its seven weeks of release.

Rapper Master P, who had the last rap disc to bow at No. 1, on the Sept. 7 chart, returned to the top 10 as his No Limit/Priority Records disc “Ghetto D” moved 72,000 copies.

The disc, which rose two rungs to No. 9, edged out Jewel’s “Pieces of You” by less than 3,000 copies. Her Atlantic Records disc rose three notches to No. 10 by logging 69,200 in sales.

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