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‘Nellyville’ continues expansion in 2nd week

Rapper's ascension shows U Music domination

NEW YORK — Record buyers flocked to “Nellyville” again this week, keeping St. Louis rap phenom Nelly atop the album charts for a second straight sesh.

Universal disc sold more than 447,000 units in its latest outing, pushing the hip-hop star well into platinum territory, according to SoundScan data. Nelly’s second disc continued to outsell waning champion Eminem; sales of Slim Shady’s most recent effort, “The Eminem Show” (Interscope/Shady), slipped 15% to 263,000, good for second place.

Presenting a formidable challenge to the entrenched rap rulers was “Irv Gotti Presents — the Inc.” (Def Jam), a compilation exec produced by Gotti, chief executive of Murder Inc. Records. Album, which features performances by Ja Rule, Ashanti, Caddillac Tah and Charli Baltimore, landed in the No. 3 slot, selling just under 193,000 units.

Universal reach

Gotti’s strong showing again reinforced the chart dominance of Universal Music Group, which fielded all of the top three releases and half of the top 10 in this week’s rankings.

The first break in the hip-hop (and UMG) hegemony at the top of the charts came from veteran Boston rockers Aerosmith, whose “Ultimate Greatest Hits” (Columbia) package bowed in fourth, scanning a hair under 137,000 discs.

The only other new release to penetrate the top 20 was the soundtrack to Lil’ Bow Wow vehicle “Like Mike” (Columbia), which opened at No. 18. Selling a respectable 44,000 copies, “Like Mike” is heavy with tracks from the adolescent rap star (who has since dropped the Lil’), along with work from pop acts B2K and Mario.

Marketplace Oasis

Further down the rankings, Brit rock icons Oasis debuted at 23 with “Heathen Chemistry” (Epic), marking the highest debut for a British act in months. U.K. trade org the British Council recently published a report calling for a U.S. liaison office to promote Blighty music Stateside, noting British acts’ market share has tumbled from a high of 32% in 1986 to a scant 0.2% in 1999.

Green Day logged a somewhat tepid opening week for its latest album, “Shenanigans” (Warner Bros.), in 27th place. A hits compilation from Chicago titled “Very Best of: Only the Beginning” (Rhino) hit the ground at No. 38.

Next week’s chart duel promises to be red-hot. “By the Way” (Warner Bros.), the latest effort from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is set to bow comfortably inside the top five, benefiting from strong airplay of the first single –the album’s title track — on radio and music TV.

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