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"Ray, the movie had a huge first week at the box office and both the soundtrack and the Genius Loves Company duets LP rocketed into our Top 5!"
——Kevin Hawkins, Tower Records
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
R&B/Hip-Hop Pair Go to #1 Despite Tour Cancellation, Lawsuit, Pepper Spray
Never mind Bush and Kerry.

Feuding superstars R. Kelly & Jay-Z’s Unfinished Business (Jive/Rock Land/Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) tops the charts this week, despite a canceled tour, pepper spray facials and the former’s $75 million lawsuit.

Only in the music business, right?

But the biggest gainers of the week were two Ray Charles releases. "Ray!" the movie had a huge first week at the box office and both the soundtrack and the "Genius Loves Company" duets LP rocketed into our Top 5!"

Two Atlantic Records acts, Track Daddy (#2) and Lava’s Simple Plan (#3) debut in the Top 5, with the other Top 10 newcomer, Motown’s second Michael McDonald collection of soul hits, bowing at #8.

Tower RecordsKevin Hawkins, after declaring victory for Ralph Nader, exclaimed: "The new R.Kelly and Jay Z record topped our chart and there were also solid debuts from Simple Plan and Trick Daddy." No kidding, Kev.

The rest of the Top 10 includes Fo’ Reel/Universal’s Nelly Suit album (#4), J/RMG’s Rod Stewart Songbook, last week’s #1 (#5), LaFace/ZLG’s repackaged Usher (#6), MCA Nashville’s George Strait (#7), Concord’s Ray Charles tribute (#8) and Reprise’s Green Day (#10).

Other chart newcomers are Reunion’s Christian star Michael W. Smith (#15) and Warner Bros. country act Blake Shelton at #19.

Atlantic/Rhino/WMG SoundtracksRay album is the week’s top gainer, moving #27-11 with a 57% rise, thanks to the movie’s $20 million opening last weekend.

Added Hawkins: "The biggest gainers of the week were the two Ray Charles releases. Ray, the movie had a huge first week at the box office and both the soundtrack and the Genius Loves Company duets LP rocketed into our Top 5!" OK, now hit the road, Hawk.

A pair of country albums also showed upward movement, with Warner Bros. Nashville’s Big & Rich (#33-21, +28%) and Epic/Sony Nashville’s Gretchen Wilson (#26-22) both showing double-digit gains.

Columbia/CRG’s Switchfoot (#39, +4%) and RCA/RMG’s Velvet Revolver (#29, +1%) also register upticks, with hit singles now crossing to Top 40.

Next week, look for chart debuts from Capitol’s Now Vol. 17, Virgin’s A Perfect Circle, Geffen’s Counting Crows and DreamWorks Nashville’s 9/11 rabblerouser Darryl Worley.

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