Jailed rapper Lil Wayne busts out atop album chart

Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:59pm EDT
 
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By Keith Caulfield

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Two weeks after jailed rapper Lil Wayne's "I Am Not a Human Being" debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. pop album chart exclusively from download sales, its CD release pushed it to No. 1 on Wednesday.

The set moved up from No. 16 after selling 125,000 copies during the week ended October 17, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sales to date stand at 259,000 copies.

It's the first No. 1 to climb to the top of the Billboard 200 (as opposed to debuting there) since a year ago, when the "Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack moved up one place in its second week. (Most albums that hit No. 1 tend to do so by debuting there.)

Lil Wayne recorded the album before he began serving an eight-month sentence for criminal possession of a weapon in March.

His 15-place jump to the top is the largest since the chart dated January 2008, when Radiohead's "In Rainbows" soared from No. 156. That disc debuted a week early on the list because retailers began selling it before its official street date.

Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned solo star Darius Rucker arrived at No. 2 with his second country set, "Charleston, SC 1966," which sold 101,000 copies. His previous release, 2008's "Learn to Live," debuted and peaked at No. 5 with a 60,000-unit start.

Rucker's set was one of five new arrivals in the top 10. The others were Nickelodeon TV stars Big Time Rush with their debut set "B.T.R." (No. 3, 67,000 units), the Band Perry's self-titled full-length debut (No. 4, 53,000), Sufjan Stevens' "Age of Adz" (No. 7, 36,000 -- his best sales week yet) and rock band All That Remains' "For We Are Many" (No. 10, a career-high 29,000).

Last week's No. 1, Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun" slid to No. 9 with 30,000. Eminem's "Recovery" slipped one to No. 5 (50,000), Kenny Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey" dropped four spots to No. 6 (40,000) and Zac Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" fell three to No. 8 (34,000).

Overall album sales totaled 5.01 million units, up 2% compared to the previous week, but down 14% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009. Year to date album sales stand at 230.97 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year.

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift's "Back to December" arrived at No. 1 after selling 241,000 downloads. It's the third pre-release single from her "Speak Now" album, which comes out on Monday.