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Week Ending Sept. 4, 2011. Albums: Weezy Does It

Chart Watch

Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV sold a whopping 964,000 copies in its first week. That's the second biggest one-week sales tally of the year. It trails only Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which sold a discount-boosted 1,108,000 copies in May. It's the heftiest tally for a rap or hip-hop album since Tha Carter III debuted in June 2008 with sales of 1,006,000.

Tha Carter IV is already the fifth best-selling album so far this year, trailing only albums by Adele, Lady Gaga, Mumford & Sons and Jason Aldean. It's the year's best-selling rap album, surpassing Watch The Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West, which has sold 787K copies in its first four weeks. Throne ranks #7 for the year-to-date.

Lil Wayne released two studio albums in between the third and fourth installments of Tha Carter. The new album has already outsold them both. Rebirth has sold 775K copies to date. I Am Not A Human Being has sold 953,000.

Rap is responsible for the last three #1 albums on The Billboard 200. Tha Carter IV follows Watch The Throne and Game's The R.E.D. Album. This marks the first time that rap has accounted for three or more consecutive #1 albums since late 2004, when Jay-Z/Linkin Park's Collision Course, Ludacris' The Red Light District, 2Pac's Loyal To The Game and Eminem's Encore were #1 in succession.

Tha Carter IV sold 362K digital copies, which is the second largest one-week tally in digital history. Born This Way sold 662K digital copies in its first week. But an estimated 440K of those albums were sold for just 99 cents through Amazon's MP3 store, which puts an asterisk by Gaga's achievement. Watch The Throne is in third place, with sales of 321K digital copies in one week. Thus, the three biggest one-week tallies in digital history have all been recorded in the past four months. A growth area in the music business!

Sixteen of the 18 tracks on the deluxe version of Tha Carter IV are listed on Hot Digital Songs. Here's another striking stat: Seventeen of the 18 tracks are flagged by Amazon.com for explicit content. (The sole exception: the hit "How To Love").

Tha Carter is one of the most successful series of albums by a single artist in music history. All four installments have reached the top five on The Billboard 200. Other successful long-running series include Jay-Z's The Blueprint (the first three installments have all reached #1), Rod Stewart's The Great American Songbook (all five installments reached the top five), Barry Manilow's The Greatest Songs Of The... (the first three volumes went top five), Johnny Cash's American Recordings (the last two installments reached the top three), Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series (the last three installments reached the top 20), Jill Scott's Words And Sounds (the last two volumes made the top five) and, back in the day, Ella Fitzgerald's Song Book (two volumes made the top 15).

Red Hot Chili Peppers' I'm With You debuts at #2, becoming the band's sixth consecutive studio album to make the top five. That's the band's entire studio output since 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik put them in the big time. This is the band's third studio album in a row to debut at #1 or #2.

I'm With You sold 229K copies in its first week, which is the heftiest total for an album debuting shy of the #1 spot since Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday debuted at #2 in November with first-week sales of 375K. This constitutes the second-best sales week of 2011 for a rock album. Foo Fighters' Wasting Light sold 235K copies when it debuted at #1 in April.

I'm With You sold 104K digital copies. This marks the first time that two albums have sold 100K or more digital copies during any one week.

I'm With You enters the U.K. album chart at #1. It's the band's fourth #1 in the U.K., following By The Way, Live In Hyde Park (which wasn't released in the U.S.) and Stadium Arcadium.

David Guetta's Nothing But The Beat debuts at #5. The French producer and DJ first charted in 2009 with One Love, which debuted and peaked at #70. (A Frank Sinatra compilation in 2008 had a very similar title: Nothing But The Best.)

Jake Owen's Barefoot Blue Jean Night debuts at #6. It opens at #1 on Top Country Albums. I doubt that it was intentional, but the title could be seen as a sly nod to Jean Knight, whose "Mr. Big Stuff" was one of the sassiest hits of 1971. (If you don't know it, You Tube it. But finish Chart Watch first.)

Adele's "Someone Like You" leaps from #11 to #1 on Hot Digital Songs in the wake of her tender performance of the song on the VMAs. The song reaches the top spot in its 28th week on the chart, the slowest climb since Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" finally chugged into the top spot in its 31st week in March 2010. Will it leap into the top 10, maybe even the top five, on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV, 964,000. This new entry is Lil Wayne's third #1 album; his eighth to crack the top 10 (counting an album with Hot Boys and a collabo with Birdman). Sixteen songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Mirror" (featuring Bruno Mars), which debuts at #6.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm With You, 229,000. This new entry is the band's sixth consecutive studio album to make the top five. "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" drops from #41 to #74 in its seventh week.

3. Adele, 21, 154,000. The former #1 album holds at #3 in its 28th week. It has been in the top five the entire time. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Someone Like You," which leaps from #11 to #1.

4. Jay Z/Kanye West, Watch The Throne, 80,000. The former #1 album drops from #2 to #4 in its fourth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Otis" (featuring Otis Redding) jumps from #24 to #22. "Ni**as In Paris" drops from #77 to #89.

5. David Guetta, Nothing But The Beat, 56,000. This new entry is Guetta's first top 10 album. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Turn Me On" (featuring Nicki Minaj), which debuts at #19.

6. Jake Owen, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, 55,000. This new entry is Owen's first top 10 album. His previous best mark was 2009's Easy Does It, which reached #13. This is #1 on Top Country Albums. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" holds at #23. "Anywhere With You" debuts at #104.

7. Beyonce, 4, 39,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #12 to #7 in its 10th week. B's performance and baby bump reveal on the VMAs triggered the resurgence. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Three songs frsom the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love On Top," which vaults from #135 to #10.

8. Game, The R.E.D. Album, 39,000. The former #1 album drops from #1 to #8 in its second week. It's the steepest fall from the top spot since Amos Lee's Mission Bell plummeted from #1 to #26 in February. The album has sold 137K copies in its first two weeks.

9. Barbra Streisand, What Matters Most, 37,000. The album drops from #4 to #9 in its second week. The album has sold 105K copies in its first two weeks.

10. Various Artists, Now 39, 36,000. The album drops from #6 to #10 in its fourth week. The album has sold 253K copies in its first four weeks.

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Pistol Annies' Hell On Heels drops from #5 to #22, Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines drops from #7 to #11, Muppets: The Green Album drops from #8 to #21, Jason Alden's My Kinda Party drops from #9 to #13 and Eric Church's Chief drops from #10 to #15.

Adele's 2008 album 19 jumps from #25 to #17. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 22nd week. It's #27 on Nielsen SoundScan's running tally of the best-selling albums for the year-to-date.

Pop Quiz: Only other artist, besides Adele, has two albums among the 40 best-sellers for the year-to-date. Who? Answer below.

Lenny Kravitz lands his seventh top 20 album as Black And White America debuts at #17. Kravitz first cracked the top 20 with 1993's Are You Gonna Go My Way. (This may be the first time that two concurrent top 20 albums featured photos of the artists as children on their covers.)

Glen Campbell's Ghost On The Canvas bows at #24. This is Campbell's highest-charting album since Southern Nights hit #22 in 1977. Campbell was one of the hottest country crossover stars of the late '60s and early '70s. From 1967 to 1970, he had nine consecutive top 30 albums on The Billboard 200. Campbell has gone public with his diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer's.

Victorious: Music From The Hit TV Show drops from #32 to #41 in its fifth week. It's the #1 soundtrack for the fifth week...Country Strong drops from #45 to #83 in its 32nd week. It's the top-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the 17th week.

Young The Giant's eponymous album jumps from #130 to #42 in its second week. This was the only rock act to perform on the VMAs...Tyler, the Creator's Goblins rebounds from #102 to #48 in its 10th week. This is the album's highest ranking since its second week on the chart in May. Tyler, the Creator was named Best New Artist at the VMAs.

Quiz Answer: Justin Bieber is the only artist besides Adele with two albums among the 40 best-sellers for the year-to-date. Never Say Never-The Remixes is #10. My World 2.0 is #18.

The Help was #1 at the box-office for the third straight weekend. It's the first movie to rank #1 for three weekends since Inception in July 2010. Alas, the soundtrack is not doing well. It drops from #106 to #175 in its sixth week.

Louie Giglio's Indescribable jumps to #1 on Top Music Videos. The Contemporary Christian video was first released in 2008.

Coming Attractions: George Strait's Here For A Good Time is expected to debut at #3 next week. The Beatles' 1 is expected to re-enter the chart around #5, thanks to its belated digital release. Also due: Lindsey Buckingham's Seeds We Sow, Grace Jones' Hurricane and The Rapture's In The Grace Of Your Love.

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