Lil Wayne hot off the blocks

Rapper's 'Tha Carter IV' debuts at No. 1 on album chart

Lil Wayne made a monster entrance on the U.S. album chart last week, as the rapper’s “Tha Carter IV” smashed in at No. 1 with a 964,000-unit debut.

The New Orleans star’s Young Money set was the second-biggest entry of the year, trailing only Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which took the top with a 1.1 million-unit week in early June. Weezy also accomplished his feat without the benefit of the lowball 99-cent Amazon sales that lofted Gaga’s title.

Wayne did not manage to top his own personal best: the 1 million-unit debut of “Tha Carter III” in 2008. He nonetheless more than doubled the 436,000-unit bow of this year’s superstar rap collaboration, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne,” which arrived at the pinnacle last month.

“Tha Carter IV” also trumped the Throne’s one-week iTunes record by shifting more than 300,000 units at the digital store. Album went on sale as a download on Aug. 29.

L.A. funkateers the Red Hot Chili Peppers place on the chart last week with their first album in five years, “I’m With You”; the Warner Bros. package hit No. 2 with 229,000 sold. Their last collection, “Stadium Arcadium,” entered at No. 1, moving 442,000.

Adele’s tireless “21” sat tight at No. 3, but posted an 88% gain thanks to the Brit singer’s appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards, which pushed her weekly sales tally to 154,000 units. VMAs bystanders Jay-Z and West’s “Watch the Throne” dipped two positions to No. 4 with 80,000 units moved (off 16%).Week’s other top five debut belonged to DJ-producer David Guetta, whose “Nothing But the Beat” reached No. 5 with a 56,000-unit week. The French house music giant’s previous set “One Love” topped out at No. 70 in 2009.

Florida-born country singer Jake Owen posted his highest-charting album to date with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (RCA Nashville), which took the No. 6 slot with 55,000 units. It was his first top 10 set: His previous album “Easy Does It” peaked at No. 13 in 2009.

Beyonce’s “4” (Columbia) got a five-rung boost to No. 7, tracking 39,000 (up 87%). The top 10 was filled out by the Game’s “The R.E.D. Album” (No. 8, 39,000 sold, off 60%), Barbra Streisand’s “What Matter’s Most” (No. 9, 37,000, down 69%) and the “Now 39” hits package (No. 10, 36,000, off 18%).

New releases by country luminary George Strait, “House” star Hugh Laurie, Fleetwood Mac axe man Lindsey Buckingham, and country singer Miranda Lambert’s side project Pistol Annies all qualify for chart debuts in the coming week.