'God Forgives, I Don't' sees rapper notch fourth No. 1

Rapper Rick Ross gave a much-needed lift to the U.S. album chart this week with the No. 1 debut of his fourth album “God Forgives, I Don’t.”

The Def Jam collection arrived at the top with a 218,000-unit score, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ended Aug. 5.

Set is the fourth No. 1 album for the Miami rap power, succeeding “Port of Miami” (2006), “Trilla” (2008) and “Deeper Than Rap” (2009). His last release “Teflon Don” just missed the summit in 2010, peaking at No. 2.

Ross’ strong debut dispels some of the gloom that settled last week, when the Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged” retook the pinnacle with the year’s lowest sales for a No. 1 release. But a dearth of other potent titles made for a largely inert chart.

The Georgia country group’s “Uncaged” (Atlantic) slipped to No. 2 behind a 39,000-unit week (off 18%). Pop pin-up Justin Bieber’s “Believe” (Island) climbed three rungs to No. 3 with 35,000 shifted, representing a meager 1% gain. The year’s sales champs to date, U.K. boy band One Direction, registered an identical small hike and rose three slots to No. 4 as “Up All Night” moved 34,000.

No. 5 was occupied by the latest Amazon-bred anomaly: the Bee Gees’ “Number Ones” (Polydor), which leaped back into the top 10 behind a three-day 99ยข promotion by the online retailer, shifting 32,000. Previously, the set peaked at No. 23 on its release in 2004. The sibling trio has not had an album in the top 10 since the “Staying Alive” soundtrack peaked at No. 6 in 1983. The group’s Robin Gibb died in May.

Some familiar titles maintained position with mild sales: Nas’ “Life Is Good” (No. 6, 32,000 sold, off 29%), “Kidz Bop 22″ (No. 7, 31,000, down 11%), Adele’s “21” (No. 8, 29,000, down 5%) and Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” (No. 9, 25,000, up 7%).

Joss Stone’s “The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2″ (S-Curve) was the only other new release to reach the top 10, entering at No. 10 with a 24,000-copy week. The soulful U.K. thrush last hit the top 10 with the indie release “LP1,” which peaked at No. 9 last year.

The dog days will likely continue next week, with the 43rd edition of “Now That’s What I Call Music” the only slam-dunk contender for a major debut.

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