Rapper sells 187,000 copies to top the charts

Nas secured the fourth No. 1 of his career, selling 187,000 copies of his untitled Def Jam album in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

The album, which had been pushed back and had a couple of title changes, is the rapper’s seventh top 10 album in his 14-year career. Nas’ previous release, “Hip-Hop Is Dead,” came out during Christmas week 2006 and sold 354,000 copies during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. He will perform “Sly Fox” tonight on “The Colbert Report.”

Elsewhere, six other albums debuted in the top 20 and the “Mamma Mia!” soundtrack nearly doubled its sales total from its debut sesh. The Decca release sold 91,000 copies to move up four slots to No. 3.

John Mellencamp’s “Life, Death, Love & Freedom” (Hear Music) sold 56,000 copies to open at No. 7. Mellencamp’s title is the first significant release to come from Starbucks’ Hear label since the coffee company announced that it would dramatically scale back its entertainment offerings. Album ranks as the 22nd release of Mellencamp’s career, his fourth top 10 debut and 11th top 10 album overall.

David Banner’s “Greatest Story Ever Told” (Universal) sold 52,000 copies to open at No. 8, giving Universal Music Group five of the top 10 entries, three of them from hip-hop artists.

Taylor Swift’s EP and DVD “Beautiful Eyes” (Big Mountain) sold 45,000 copies at Wal-Mart outlets to debut at No. 9.

O.A.R., the rock act lumped in with the jam band movement, set sail by selling 33,000 copies of “All Sides” (Atlantic) to dock at No. 13. Randy Travis was one slot lower, selling 31,000 copies of “Around the Bend” (Warner Bros.). Both artists set new chart position records.

The score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard for “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) sold 25,000 to premiere at No. 20.

Among the other debuts were Hold Steady’s “Stay Positive” (Vagrant) moving 17,000 (No. 30), and at No. 48, the iTunes exclusive release of four live tracks from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band under the heading of “Magic Tour Highlights.” The Sony-released bundle of cuts sold 12,000 copies.

Last week’s No. 1, Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III,” dropped a slot on sales of 105,000.

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