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LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Eminem on Wednesday became the first artist since March to lead the U.S. pop chart for three consecutive weeks, while new releases from OutKast member Big Boi and Enrique Iglesias started slowly.
Eminem's "Recovery" sold 229,000 copies during the week ended July 11, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sales to date stand at 1.3 million.
The last album to string three weeks in a row at No. 1 was Sade's "Soldier of Love" in March. "Recovery" is also the first album to sell at least 200,000 copies in each of its first three weeks since Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" in January and February.
Canadian rapper Drake's "Thank Me Later" spent a third week at No. 2, selling 74,000 copies. It has sold 783,000 copies to date.
Big Boi's debut solo album "Sir Lucious Left Foot ... The Son of Chico Dusty" started at No. 3 with 62,000. That's a big drop from both the 196,000-unit start for OutKast's previous effort, the 2006 "Idlewild" soundtrack, and from the 510,000-unit bow for the duo's Grammy-winning "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" in 2003.
Iglesias' "Euphoria" came in at No. 10 with 27,000. His last studio set, 2007's "Insomniac," debuted and peaked at No. 17 with 45,000 units. His new album was preceded by the single "I Like It," featuring Pitbull, which last week became Iglesias' first top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in eight years.
"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" soundtrack fell one place to No. 4 (45,000), Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" climbed one to No. 5 (43,000), the "Now 34" compilation dropped one to No. 6 (33,000), Jack Johnson's "To The Sea" rose one to No. 7 (30,000), Lady Gaga's "The Fame" soared five to No. 8 (29,000), and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" rose one to No. 9 (28,000).
Bret Michaels' third solo full-length studio album "Custom Built" becomes his highest charting solo effort on the Billboard 200, entering at No. 14 with 22,000. The beleaguered Poison frontman's only previous solo set to chart was 2008's "Rock My World" which hit No. 40. The last Poison album to start higher was 1990's No. 2 hit "Flesh and Blood."
The final new arrival in the top 20 is Kylie Minogue's "Aphrodite," starting at No. 19 with 18,000. That sales figure tripled what her last studio album "X" started with when it debuted and peaked at No. 139 in 2008 with 6,000. "Aphrodite" is also the pop diva's second-highest charting album -- only 2002's "Fever" was bigger, as it bowed and peaked at No. 3.
Overall album sales totaled 5.23 million units, down 5% from the previous week and down 28% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009. Year to date album sales stand at 159.2 million, down 12% compared to the same point last year.