Canadian rapper notches third-highest selling debut of the year

On the eve of music retail’s annual Black Friday gold rush, rapper Drake’s “Take Care” takes No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with the third-best debut of 2011.

Canadian star’s sophomore Cash Money release tops the list with a 631,000-unit tally, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Nov. 20. Only Lady’s Gaga’s “Born This Way” (1.1 million) and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” (964,000) sold more in their first frame this year.

While some observers had predicted a bigger week for “Take Care,” its sales still eclipse the first-week total for his first set “Thank Me Later,” which moved 447,000 on arrival last year.

Andrea Bocelli’s “Concerto: One Night in Central Park” (Decca) moves in at No. 4, shifting 87,000. Tenor’s “My Christmas” was the top-selling holiday title of 2009, and has sold 2.6 million to date.

The week’s new seasonal chart arrival is “Glee, the Music: The Christmas Album, Volume 2,” which enters at No. 6 behind a 71,000-unit week. The Fox musical show’s first Yule package debuted at No. 8 last year.

Rest of the top 10 reflects pre-holiday stasis. Michael Buble’s “Christmas” (Warner Bros.) holds at No. 2 with a 165,000-unit frame (up 35%). Adele’s “21” (Columbia) moving up two slots to No. 3, moving 113,000 (up 8%) and topping the 4.5 million-unit mark. Justin Bieber’s holiday collection “Under the Mistletoe” (Island) inches up one position to No. 5 despite a 13% loss, selling 84,000.

Top 10 is completed by the “Now 40″ comp (No. 7, 71,000 sold, off 40%), the “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1″ soundtrack (No. 8, 61,000, down 42%), Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” (No. 9, 54,000, down 23%) and Susan Boyle’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” (No. 10, 52,000, off 27%).

New albums by Nickelback and Rihanna should materialize near the top of the chart next week. Post-Thanksgiving week is invariably one of the music biz’s biggest, and indie stores are stoking traffic with their “Black to Black Friday” promotion featuring an array of exclusive (mostly vinyl) product.

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