Nellyville sells well

Rapper takes top spot on charts

NEW YORK — Welcome to Nellyville, population 714,114.

That’s how many copies of St. Louis rap superstar Nelly’s latest LP flew off the shelves last week, making “Nellyville” (Universal) the undisputed leader on the album charts.

Record far outstripped “The Eminem Show” (Interscope/Shady), which had ruled the roost for the previous five weeks running. Slim Shady’s latest opus sank to number two in the latest outing, as sales slipped by almost 20% to 308,000.

Coming in just behind Em at third was yet another strong debut from Universal Music Group, “God’s Favorite” (Def Jam) from Queens-born rapper Victor “N.O.R.E.” Santiago. Album opened with nearly 119,000 copies sold.

Fourth place belonged to the young Arista breakout Avril Lavigne. The pop-rock chanteuse jumped one spot and boosted sales of her LP “Let Go” by nearly 30% to 113,000.

And rounding out the top five was yet a third bow from the UMG juggernaut, “Truthfully Speaking” (Interscope) by pseudonymous R&B vocalist Truth Hurts. “Truthfully” sold 89,000 copies out of the gate, and gave Universal a hefty four out of the top five releases.

Other notable debuts this session included “Born to Reign” (Columbia) from rapper/actor Will Smith at 13, “Knock On The Sky” (Hollywood) by the sisterly country trio SHeDAISY at 23, and “3” (Roadrunner) from Brazilian alt-metalers Soulfly at 46.

The soundtrack to Disney’s latest animated effort “Lilo & Stitch” got another bump from film’s perf at the box office last week. The Disney/Buena Vista Records album jumped five places to 11, boosting sales by 45% to 66,000 units.

And staging the umpteenth rebound of its 18-month chart run was the indefatigable “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. The Lost Highway Records release moved up from 22 to 16, with a sales gain of 16%. “O Brother” has sold more than 5.5 million copies to date.

Nelly appears to be in line to maintain his hold on the top spot next week, but a pair of strong contenders could help break Universal Music’s stranglehold on the top five. Columbia act Aerosmith are set to release a greatest-hits album, while Green Day are set to bow their latest effort for Warner Bros., “Shenanigans.”

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