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LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Veteran rapper Nas is on course to notch his fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 when data are issued Wednesday, but sales will likely be considerably lower than those for his previous release.
Nas' untitled Def Jam release -- originally set to be called "Nigger" -- sold 113,000 copies during its first three days of sale through Thursday, tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan said.
Nas' interim total is a tad behind the 116,000 that another rapper, Rick Ross, rang on "Trilla" during the same period in March. It went on to open at No. 1 with sales of 198,000 copies in its first six days.
Nas' last No. 1 album, "Hip-Hop Is Dead," arrived in late December 2006, selling 354,000 copies during Christmas week.
Rapper Lil Wayne currently leads the chart with "Tha Carter III," which sold 125,000 copies during the week ended July 13.
The interim tally for Nas' album represents un-weighted sales at nine leading music merchants -- Trans World Entertainment, Apple, Best Buy, Circuit City, Borders, Starbucks, Target, Anderson Merchandisers and Handleman Co. They account for about 80% of the U.S. album market. Anderson now services all Wal-Mart stores, which do not report directly to Nielsen SoundScan.