Roach Multiplies, Peace Sells and Avril Flowers
The summer may have started, but Eminem continues to school the competition. The Aftermath/Interscope rap icon is once again treating the charts as his own personal playground.

Neither pirates, censors nor the current economic doldrums can keep Slim Shady from his appointed rounds in dominating the opposition.

Fred Meyer’s Brian Stevens denied Stephen Bing was his father before coming to praise the artist formerly known as Marshall Mathers: "Eminem continues to be the hottest release of the year. He’s obviously broken through as more than just a rap star but has become a bona fide pop icon."

The Eminem Show almost tripled the number of sales of its closest challenger, New Noize/DreamWorks’ NoCal thrashers Papa Roach, who bow at #2 with their new lovehatetragedy album.

Added Stevens: "Papa Roach had a solid first-week debut, showing some real muscle in a decidedly soft market. I just wish they’d stop crawling across my kitchen floor."

Arista’s red-hot skateboard diva Avril Lavigne, continues to rise, nailing the #3 slot on a sizzling 31% sales increase.

Stevens is impressed with the teen star: "Arista is breaking this wide open in a very short period of time. This record is truly reactive. Hey, you know where I can get some cheap Chinese fireworks?"

Columbia’s Canuck rockers Our Lady Peace defied Gravity by landing a #8 debut, followed by the same label’s Wyclef Jean (#9). A fourth debut, Universal’s Paulina Rubio, barely missed the Top 10, coming in at #11.

"It’s also nice to see Our Lady Peace off to such a good start," said Stevens. "But I still refuse to accept Canadian loonies for it."

Making an impressive upward move is Arista’s Pink, who gives L.A. Reid’s label three in the Top 10 by going 17-10; P. Diddy is #6. Meanwhile, three young artists continue to solidify their gains, with 143/Reprise crooner Josh Groban climbing 26-12, Blue Note’s Norah Jones rising 28-15 and Aware/Columbia’s John Mayer up 23-18.

Next week, it’s the last train from Universal’s Nellyville, along with new albums from Aftermath/Interscope’s Truth Hurts, Def Jam/IDJ’s Noreaga, Columbia’s Aerosmith and Will Smith.