'Life is Good' marks third straight No. 1 for rap vet

“Life is Good” for Nas this week, as the like-titled album became the rapper’s third consecutive album to bow at No. 1.

The Def Jam collection took the top spot on the U.S. album chart with first-week sales of 149,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending July 22.

“Life is Good” succeeds Nas’ untitled 2008 set and 2007′s “Hip Hop is Dead” at the pinnacle. He has scored three more chart-toppers on his own, plus another as a member of the rap supergroup the Firm.

Though “Life is Good” failed to match the 187,000-unit debut performance of its predecessor, its tally was more than enough to displace last week’s No. 1 debut, the Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged” (Atlantic), which fell to No. 2 with a 78,000-copy frame (down 67%).

Kidz Bop 22,” Razor & Tie’s latest installment in the perennially popular kiddie covers franchise, leaped in at No. 3 with 64,000 shifted. Current package includes sometimes sanitized versions of hit tunes by Adele, Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and others.

Hip hop/R&B vocalist Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” (Def Jam) slid two poles to No. 4. However, week’s posted score of 54,000 units (representing a 59% loss) does not include a reported 15,000 digital copies sold for $2.99 last week at Amazon’s MP3 store. Sale was a punitive case of Web tit-for-tat, since “Orange” launched as an iTunes exclusive.

Under a rule instituted by SoundScan last year after big debuts by lowballed titles, albums sold for less than $3.49 during the first four weeks of release do not count towards chart placement.

That interdiction didn’t prevent a 14-year-old title from slipping onto the chart behind the week’s No. 5 set, Justin Bieber’s “Believe” (45,000 sold, off 1%).

Phil Collins’ “…Hits” vaulted to No. 6 with 40,000 sold on the back of a one-day 99-cent sale by Amazon. Set sold less than 1,000 copies last week, and thus lodged an increase of approximately 4,000%. Triple-platinum package’s previous peak came in 1998, when it arrived at No. 18.

With flat sales of 36,000, Brit boy band One Direction’s “Up All Night” (Columbia) took the No. 7 post. This week marked a sobering milestone for the album: It became only the first 2012 release to sell more than a million copies domestically. (The year’s bestseller to date, Adele’s 2011 release “21,” has moved nearly 3.8 million.)

In an extremely rare top-10 incursion by an all-orchestral soundtrack, Hans Zimmer’s score for the Batman opus “The Dark Knight Rises” (Water Tower) arrived at No. 8 with 33,000 sold.

Top 10 was filled out by Adele’s “21″ (No. 9, 33,000 sold, off 7%) and Maroon 5′s “Overexposed” (No. 10, 29,000, down 35%).

New titles by Gaslight Anthem, Passion Pit and Slipknot will compete for the summit next week.

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