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"The debuts this week covered a lot of different genres, from a red-hot Mary J. Blige, to Hilary Duff showing that the Lizzie McGuire phenomenon is no fluke."
——Tony Bazemore, Alliance Entertainment
HAIL MARY!!
New Geffen Nabs First #1, Hilary Duff Bows at #2, YoungBloodz, Nappy Roots Debut in Top 10
There’s something about Mary and this week’s HITS Top 50.

As in Geffen Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige, whose Love & Life album climbed to the top of the heap with a #1 bow and more than 285k in first-week sales.

Label President Jordan Schur celebrated the label's first #1 album debut since it merged with MCA by buying Fred Durst a new baseball cap and commenting, "First-week sales were fanastic. We believe Mary's first label release is a career record. And the new single, 'Ooh!' has been getting great response."

Blige was one of four newcomers to this week’s Top 10, followed closely by Buena Vista/Hollywood’s Hilary Duff, star of TV, movies and now the pop charts, with her Metamorphosis into a music icon and #2 bow, passing the 200k mark in sales.

Alliance Entertainment’s Tony Bazemore announced his candidacy for Governor of California before revealing: "The debuts this week covered a lot of different genres, from a red-hot Mary J. Blige, to Hilary Duff showing that the Lizzie McGuire phenomenon is no fluke."

So So Def/Arista rappers YoungBloodz debuted at #5, behind Arista Nashville's Alan Jackson (#3) and labelmates The Neptunes (#4), giving Arista two of the Top Five (and BMG three), with Atlantic/Atl G’s southern hip-hop conglomerate Nappy Roots nailing the #9 spot in its first week in stores.

The Top 10 also included Columbia/CRG’s Beyoncé, who went 9-6 with an 11% rise, thanks to her show-stopping VMA performance with Jay-Z, and Shady/Aftermath/ Interscope rapper 50 Cent (#10), also up 9% thanks to his version of "P.I.M.P." on the MTV show with Snoop Dogg. The list was rounded out by a pair of perennials in Wind-up goth-rockers Evanescence (#7) and Bad Boy/Universal’s Bad Boys II soundtrack (#8).

MTV VMA exposure was also instrumental in the 23% rise of Capitol’s Coldplay, who parlayed their appearance into a 20-13 move; Daylight/Epic’s Good Charlotte, which climbed 33-21, with an 8% boost, and Jive’s three-time winner Justin Timberlake, with a 7% lift, going 44-36. V2’s White Stripes didn’t appear on the VMAs, except for the Metallica cover of "Seven Nation Army" and an award for Best Editing, but their album still hopped 46-34 with a 16% increase in sales.

Another chart newcomer was Warren Zevon, whose terminal illness added a poignancy to his Artemis album, The Wind, with its all-star cast of collaborators, which landed at #19 with almost 40k in sales. The only other new entry was Cher’s Live: The Farewell: Tour on Warner Bros. at #48.

Added Bazemore: "Probably the most interesting story is Zevon’s emotional release. The independent sector has been deluged with fans, tons of stores selling out and re-orders going through the roof."

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