Young Jeezy, Hicks Enter Atop Album Chart

Young Jeezy, Hicks Enter Atop Album Chart

( - Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with his second Def Jam album, "The Inspiration,"

The set sold 352,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, more than doubling the 172,000-unit first week for his 2005 debut, "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation." First single "I Luv It" is top 30 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

At No. 2 on The Billboard 200 is 2006 "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks, whose self-titled Arista debut sold 298,000 in its first week. That's a drop-off from 2005 winner Carrie Underwood's debut week with "Some Hearts," which sold 315,000. That album leaps 10-6 in its 57th week on the chart on a 58% increase to 199,000.

In a week where every non-debuting album in the top 10 enjoys a sales increase, the Disney soundtrack to "Hannah Montana" inches up 4-3 on an 18% increase to 274,000, while the "NOW! 23" compilation rises 5-4 on a 27% jump to 235,000. Josh Groban's "Awake" (143/Reprise) is up 11-5 on an 83% increase to 222,000, while Daughtry's self-titled RCA debut holds at No. 7 despite a 17% increase to 181,000. Both Groban and Underwood enjoyed a boost from a Dec. 11 appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The Beatles' "Love" (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol) also remains at No. 8 on a 17% boost to 178,000, followed by Mary J. Blige's "Reflections (A Retrospective)" (Geffen), which is new at No. 9. The set sold 171,000 units, good enough to debut behind Young Jeezy's "The Inspiration" at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

Last week's No. 1, Ciara's "The Evolution" (LaFace/Zomba), plummets to No. 11 on a 51.5% drop to 164,000, while last week's No. 2, the Eminem-reared compilation "Eminem Presents: The Re-Up" (Shady/Interscope), slips to No. 13 on a 51% decline to 151,000. Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" (Interscope), which opened at No. 3 last week, drops significantly (No. 13, 149,000).

Augmenting the big week for "Idol" albums Hicks and Underwood, Fantasia's self-titled sophomore album for J, debuts at No. 19 on The Billboard 200 and No. 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with 133,000 copies. Her first set, "Free Yourself," started at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 in 2004 with 240,000 on its way to 1.7 million copies sold to date.

The only other debut inside the top 50 this week is Tyrese's "Alter Ego" (J), which lands at No. 23 with just shy of 116,000. The double album also charts on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at No. 4 and on Top Rap Albums at No. 2.

Meanwhile, Ghostface Killah only managed a No. 71 debut on The Billboard 200 with his second Def Jam album of the year, "More Fish," which sold 36,000. In April, "Fishscale" started at No. 4 on the big chart with 110,000 and at No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Overall, album sales are up 24% from last week's count and are down 5.6% compared to the same week a year ago at 23.39 million units. Sales for 2006 are down 4.6% compared to 2005 at 543 million units.

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