‘The Firm’ Is Ninth Hip-Hop Album to Top Charts This Year

Rap rules again. “The Firm,” featuring a rap supergroup including Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown and Nature, was the nation’s top-selling album last week--the ninth hip-hop collection to top the chart this year.

“The Firm,” boasting the production talents of Dr. Dre and the Trackmasters, sold nearly 147,000 copies during its first week in stores, according to SoundScan.

Debuting far less impressively were Salt-N-Pepa’s “Brand New” and Wynonna’s “The Other Side,” which came in at Nos. 37 and 38, respectively.

The nation’s hottest record continues to be Elton John’s charity single, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which sold 408,000 copies last week to top the singles sales chart for the fifth consecutive week.


What’s Hot

Here are some recent releases that are generating critical or commercial attention:

Bjork’s “Homogenic” (Elektra). In her third solo album, the Icelander delivers an enigmatic but resonant album that affirms her stature as one of pop music’s most uncompromising adventurers.

Bob Dylan’s “Time Out of Mind” (Columbia). Rock’s master songwriter has come up with what is arguably his most artful and convincing collection since the ‘70s.


Green Day’s “Nimrod” (Reprise). The Bay Area trio barrels through its third album with its usual youthful spunk and lyrical low self-esteem, but the adolescent vim belies the mature songwriting that makes the album tick.

Janet Jackson’s “The Velvet Rope” (Virgin). As a musician, Michael’s little sister has never seemed more confident or ambitious than she does here.

The Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon” (Virgin). This ballad-heavy collection is bland enough in spirit and attitude to make you long for the good old days of gratuitous controversy and sexist swagger.

Wynonna’s “The Other Side” (Curb/Universal). On her fourth solo album, Wynonna mixes toughness and tenderness while continuing to showcase a voice and a sensibility as fiery as her red hair.

What’s New

The Cure’s “Galore” (Elektra), Nydia Rojas’ “Florecer” (Arista Latin).

What’s Coming

Tuesday: The Spice Girls’ “Spiceworld” (Virgin), Bobby Brown’s “Forever” (MCA), Jane’s Addiction’s “Kettle Whistle” (Warner Bros.).