Rapper Juvenile's disc checks in at No.1

Juvenile’s “Reality Check” (Atlantic) sold 174,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, earning the New Orleans-based rapper his first No. 1 record.

Juvenile’s home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and the region’s devastation is among the subject matter of the disc, which also features appearances from Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe.

Another Atlantic album, James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam,” greatly benefited from the Brit artist’s recent “Oprah” perf as the disc, released in the U.S. in October, surged to the second spot from ninth last week, moving 161,000 discs for a huge 142% sales increase.

Previous week’s No. 1, Ne-Yo’s “In My Own Words’ (Island Def Jam), slid to fifth position on sales of 113,000, down from more than 300,000 in its debut sesh, while the soundtrack to the Disney TV pic “High School Musical” dropped one slot to No. 3 despite a modest upturn to 138,000 copies sold.

In at No. 4, Matisyahu’s “Youth” (JDub/Or/Epic) achieved an impressive major label studio debut for a reggae singer, selling 119,000. Disc joins “Live at Stubbs” (No. 36, 25,000 sold) to make Matisyahu the only artist with two albums in the top 40 this week.

“On an Island” (Columbia), David Gilmour’s first studio recording since Pink Floyd’s “The Division Bell” in 1994, and first solo effort since 1984’s “About Face,” moved 96,000 to bow at No. 6. The singer-guitarist has a short, sold-out U.S. tour skedded in April.

Carrie Underwood’s “Some Hearts” (Arista) stepped up from eighth to seventh on 74,000 discs sold, while the “Curious George” soundtrack (Brushfire) from Jack Johnson and Friends dipped from seventh to 10th place with 60,000.

Other bows this week include rapper Scarface’s “My Homies Part 2″ (Asylum/Rap-a-Lot) at No. 12; Van Morrison’s country sojourn, “Pay the Devil” (Polydor/Lost Highway), at No. 26; the self-titled Milking Bull disc from the Little Willies, featuring Norah Jones and others, at No. 48; and alt-country singer Neko Case’s “Fox the Confessor Brings the Flood” (Anti) at No. 54.

Discs that enjoyed greater awareness in the aftermath of the Academy Awards include Island/American/Columbia/Legacy compilation “The Legend of Johnny Cash” and the Wind-up soundtrack to “Walk the Line,” at No. 8 (70,000 sold) and No. 9 (63,000), respectively; the Atlantic soundtrack to “Hustle & Flow,” which jumped from No. 143 to No. 73 (14,000); and the Verve soundtrack for “Brokeback Mountain,” featuring the Oscar-winning original score of Gustavo Santaolalla, which climbed from No. 148 to No. 83 (12,000).

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