Jay-Z's "The Black Album" led a rap assault on the pop album chart that resulted Wednesday in new rap releases holding the top three spots on the national list.
Jay-Z's CD was supposed to have gone on sale Tuesday, but was rush-released last Friday after copies began circulating over the Internet. It claimed the No. 1 position by selling 463,000 copies in three days.
Tupac Shakur's "2Pac: Resurrection," which was released Nov. 11, sold 430,000 to claim second place, while G Unit's "Beg for Mercy," which was also rush-released last Friday because of piracy concerns, sold 377,000 copies to finish third.
Three other new releases also debuted in the Top 10: Josh Groban's "Closer" (375,000 copies), Kid Rock's "Kid Rock" (189,000) and Pink's "Try This" (147,000) finished fourth, eighth and ninth respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It looks as if Jay-Z's stay at No. 1 will be brief.
Britney Spears' "In the Zone" got off to such a fast start when it was released Tuesday that retailers expect it to sell between 550,000 and 600,000 copies in its first week, Hits magazine reported Wednesday.
Hefty first-week sales also are expected from Blink-182's new, self-titled CD and the revised version of the Beatles' "Let It Be." Both also went on sale Tuesday.