Rapper notches first Christian music No. 1 since 1997

Summer wound down to a sluggish close on the U.S. album chart with Christian hip-hopper TobyMac taking the No. 1 spot with his “Eye on It.”

The ForeFront Records album took the top position with first-week sales of 69,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Sept. 2.

It’s singer-rapper Toby McKeehan’s first chart-topping collection in a solo career dating back to 2001, when he exited the top Christian group DC Talk. His previous personal best was 2010′s “Tonight,” which peaked at No. 6.

A Christian album hasn’t attained the pinnacle of the chart since 1997, when collections by moonlighting country singer LeAnn Rimes and Bob Carlisle reached the top.

TobyMac’s debut sales are the softest for a No. 1 album this year. Previous low was recorded by Adam Lambert’s “Trespassing,” which came in with 77,000 in May.

Rap posse Slaughterhouse — Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce da 5’9″ — signed on at No. 2 with their sophomore release “Welcome to: Our House” (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope), which reaped 52,000. Collective’s self-titled indie debut peaked at No. 25 in 2009.

Alanis Morissette’s “Havoc and Bright Lights” entered at No. 5 with a 33,000-copy debut frame. It was the Canadian singer-songwriter’s first album since 2008′s “Flavors of Entanglement,” which reached No. 8. New set was issued on Collective Sounds, independent custom imprint of the vocalist’s management, the Collective.

Morissette’s tally is a far cry from the glory days of her chart-dominating 1995 smash “Jagged Little Pill,” which to date has sold nearly 15 million domestically.

Holdovers among the top 5 included last week’s No. 1 debut, Trey Songz’s “Chapter V” (Atlantic), which slipped two rungs to No. 3 with 41,000 sold (off 69%), and the Capitol-distributed “Now 43″ hits compilation, which fell a notch to No. 4 with a 9% drop, about 500 units behind Songz’s total.

Remainder of the top 10 comprised Maroon 5′s “Overexposed” (No. 6, 31,000 sold, down 4%), 2 Chainz’s “Based on a T.R.U. Story” (No. 7, 29,000, off 38%), Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” (no. 8, 28,000, up 85% behind an iTunes sale), fun.’s “Some Nights” (No. 9, 25,000, up 3%) and returnee Adele’s “21″ (No. 10, 23,000, down 2%).

Titles by Matchbox 20, Melissa Etheridge, Cat Power and Animal Collective will contend for chart action in the coming week.

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