Whoa, Nelly! rapper hits top with ‘Grammar’

'Oops' still rules deuce spot as 'Now' slips to 3rd

Paced by the singular success of the title track, male rapper Nelly’s debut album “Country Grammar” (Fo’ Real/Universal) rocketed to the top spot on the national music charts, shifting more than 234,000 units in the week ending Aug. 13, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The St. Louis rapper’s disc debuted in the top three seven weeks ago and, unlike most rap albums, which post big first-week numbers then drop off dramatically, hasn’t fallen out of the top five since, selling more than 200,000 copies each week.

While the current hits compilation “Now That’s What I Call Music — Vol. 4” (Universal Music Enterprises) exchanged chart positions with Nelly, dropping to No. 3 on sales of more than 212,000 copies, Britney Spears’ “Oops! … I Did It Again” (Jive) extended its lock on the second-place slot to four weeks with sales of more than 215,000 units.

The next five spots in the top 10 — held by Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP” (Aftermath/Interscope), ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” (Jive), Creed’s “Human Clay” (Wind-up/Universal), Papa Roach’s “Infest” (DreamWorks/Universal) and 3 Doors Down’s “Better Life” (Republic/Universal), all of which sold between 199,000 and 116,000 units — remained unchanged from last week. The various artists soundtrack to “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” (Def Soul/Universal) likewise maintained its top-10 status on sales of more than 81,000 discs.

Rappers top Klumps

The week’s only major debut came from veteran rap trio De La Soul’s “Art Official Intelligence — Mosa” (Tommy Boy). Sales of this fifth album, the group’s first in four years, bested “The Klumps” soundtrack by roughly 160 copies, good enough for ninth place.

The biggest sales gainer of the week was the soundtrack to “Coyote Ugly” (Curb/Atlantic), up a whopping 29,000 units over last week’s figures. Despite the Disney film’s second-week dropoff at the box office, soundtrack shows legs, shifting more than 54,000 copies in its second week.

With six of the top 10 albums, Universal won the battle for current album market share with 32%, followed by BMG, 17.6%; Warners, 13.9%; Sony, 11.6%; and EMI, 7.6%.