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NELLY’S FO’ REAL!!!

Eminem’s Five-Week Reign Ends, and Avril Lavigne Continues to Grow, While Truth Hurts and N.O.R.E. Bow Big
Meet the new boss, a little different from the old boss.

Fo’ Reel/Universal’s St. Lunatic hip-hopper Nelly’s Nellyville not only unseats Aftermath/Interscope five-time chart-topper Eminem, but the album posts the largest first-week sales figure of the year to date, with more than 780k. Eminem, of course, tallied second-week sales of 1.4 million after the label allowed retailers to put the album on the shelves over Memorial Day weekend. Nelly’s debut record, Country Grammar, released in June 2000, sold 250k its first week on the way to 7.7m OTC in the U.S.

Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez took some time out from buying illegal fireworks in Alhambra to state: "Nelly is a true phenomenon. He’s now one of the biggest stars in the nation, and these first week sales prove the point. This is as reactive a record as I’ve ever seen."

Another pair of newcomers cracked the Top 10, as both Def Jam/IDJ’s N.O.R.E. (#4) and Aftermath/Interscope’s Truth Hurts (#5) landed impressive debuts, giving UMG five of the top six, with only Arista’s Avril Lavigne at #3 breaking the logjam as she racked up a solid 26% increase, her third in a row since the album came out. In fact, L.A. Reid’s label had three of the Top 10, including Bad Boy’s P. Diddy at #9 and Pink still growing at #10.

Added Suarez after losing a finger to a cherry bomb: "There were also two other stories this week, with Truth Hurts and N.O.R.E. showing solid first-week muscle."

Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ashanti (#6), Epic’s Korn (#7), DreamWorks' Papa Roach (#8) and New Noize/DreamWorks’ Papa Roach rounded out the Top 10.

Other significant gains were shown by Disney’s Lilo & Stitch soundtrack (28-12), Mercury/IDJ’s O Brother ST (27-16) and Enjoy/Universal’s Jack Johnson (38-28).

Next week, look for Columbia’s Aerosmith greatest-hits package, Reprise’s Green Day and Murder Inc.’s Irv Gotti Presents among the top chart debuts.

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