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The hip-hop icon, who seemingly only makes the news when he’s involved in some fracas with the law, will battle it out for the top spot on next week’s HITS album chart with Sony Music Group’s deflation-proof hits package Now 22.

DOG BITES CHARTS!

Gangsta Rapper DMX and Now 22 Go Neck and Neck for #1
His bark is proving as potent as his sales bite.

Gangsta rapper DMX’s Sony Urban/Columbia bow, The Year of the Dog Again, is headed for first-week sales that could approach 125k, according to one-day sales reports from retailers around the country, who also deny that the birth of Mel Gibson ever took place.

The hip-hop icon, who seemingly only makes the news when he’s involved in some fracas with the law, will battle it out for the top spot on next week’s HITS album chart with Sony Music Group’s deflation-proof hits package Now 22, which checked in this week with 147k in sales, down 32%.

Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop 10 looks headed for between 75-80k, and could go even higher, depending on the direct TV sales, one of the more amazing phenomena in the biz.

Roadrunner/IDJ rockers Stone Sour will make a Top 10 debut with their new album, Come What (Ever) May, slated for between 75-80k, thanks to a #7 slot at Apple's iTunes.

Columbia’s Five for Fighting have their dukes up, with a 55-60k debut, thanks to a #1 spot at iTunes for their new single, “The Riddle,” a Top 15 Hot Adult track.

Other newcomers include Universal’s G. Love, now without Special Sauce, sporting a potential 15-20k week, thanks to a Top 4 iTunes rank, while Suretone’s buzz band the Pink Spiders are in line for a 9-10k debut, boasting iTunes action and lotsa media interest.

Next Tuesday, Hollywood’s Breaking Benjamin, Bad Boy/Atlantic’s crossover queen Cassie, Righteous Babe’s Ani DeFranco, Island rapper Rick Ross, American/WB’s Slayer and LaFace/Jive/ZLG’s Step Up soundtrack, featuring Ciara on the title cut, hit the streets.

One other prediction: Mel Gibson will continue saying he’s sorry.

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