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"Holiday sales are on in earnest and the top of our chart is full of debuts. Three huge hip-hop records hit the street and did not disappoint."
——Kevin Hawkins, Tower Records

IT’S A RAP!!

Jay-Z, Tupac and G-Unit Nab the First Three Slots, While Josh Groban, Kid Rock and Pink Also Bow in Top 10
It’s all about the hip-hop at the top.

Roc-A-Fella/IDJ rapper Jay-Z, Amaru/Interscope’s Tupac and G-Unit/Interscope’s G-Unit took win, place and show positions on this week’s HITS Top 50, with the first two separated by less than 10k albums, giving Interscope two of the top three.

Tower RecordsKevin Hawkins was filled with the holiday spirits, and could barely stand up, let alone contain his enthusiasm: "Holiday sales are on in earnest and the top of our chart is full of debuts. Three huge hip-hop records hit the street and did not disappoint. Jay-Z proved that a rush mid-week release wouldn’t stop his fans from showing up in droves. And the indelible impact of Tupac on hip-hop culture continues as the companion piece to Tupac: Resurrection also did huge numbers. G-Unit did big business, even though it also was released on Friday, which is usually the day I go golfing, so it was a bit of an inconvenience. "

143/Reprise divo Josh Groban proved his appeal runs deep, with a #4 finish and an impressive 367k in sales, just a little over 1,000 less than 50 Cent posse G-Unit at #3.

Other Top 10 newcomers included Atlantic/Atl G’s Kid Rock (#8) and Arista’s Pink (#9).

Added Hawkins: " Josh Groban showed that his last record was no fluke, debuting Top Five for us. He’s even more macho than Clay Aiken."

Holdovers included last week’s #1, DreamWorks Nashville’s Toby Keith (#5), Columbia/CRG’s Now Vol. 14 (#6), Arista’s Sarah McLachlan (#7) and OutKast (#10), giving L.A. Reid’s house three of the Top 10.

Other chart newcomers included Epic’s Pearl Jam rarities and B-sides set (#13), Legacy’s Bruce Springsteen compilation (#14), Republic/Universal’s 3 Doors Down EP (#21), Atlantic/Atl G’s Stone Temple Pilots greatest hits (#25), DreamWorksDave Hollister (#32), EastWest/Elektra’s Dream Theater (#40), Atlantic/Atl G’s Matchbox Twenty EP (#41), Universal’s Nick Lachey solo album (#42) and J RecordsLove Actually soundtrack (#45).

Biggest gainer of the week was Columbia/CRG’s Harry Connick Jr., which went 46-36 with a 53% jump.

Next Tuesday, Jive’s Britney SpearsIn the Zone is expected to top the charts in a group of releases that includes Geffen’s Blink-182, Apple/Capitol/EMI’s Let It Be…Naked and RCA’s Dave Matthews Band Live in Central Park.

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