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Nas Bows at No. 1 with ‘Life is Good’


Hip-hop veteran Nas achieves his sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as “Life Is Good” bows with 149,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That surpasses initial forecasts for the set by industry prognosticators, which had pegged it to begin with around 125,000.

Nas previously hit the top with “It Was Written” (1996), the collaboration set “The Firm” (1997; with Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature), “I Am” (1999), “Hip-Hop Is Dead” (2007) and “Untitled” (2008). The latter — Nas’ last solo studio release — arrived with 187,000. More recently, his 2010 “Distant Relatives” collabo effort with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley started at No. 5 with 57,000.

On the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, Nas also debuts at No. 1, securing him his ninth topper on the tally. Among rap acts, only Jay-Z has earned more leaders on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, with 12.

Last week’s No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged,” falls to No. 2 with 78,000 (down 67%). The new “Kidz Bop 22” collection starts at No. 3 with 64,000 — marking the 15th top 10 for the long-running series. The latest entry in the franchise offers up kid-friendly covers of such Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles as the Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.”

The last regular “Kidz Bop” title, “Kidz Bop 21,” bowed at No. 2 earlier this year with 59,000. A No. 1 set still eludes the “Kidz” — as the line has launched a total of four No. 2-peaking albums.

In its second week, Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” slips two spots down to No. 4 with 54,000 (down 59%) after becoming widely available to all retailers last week. (That number does not include sales from Amazon MP3, as it sold the title for $2.99 last week. Per Billboard policy, that is below the minimum price of $3.49 required for sales to count towards chart placement during an album’s first four weeks of release.)

Justin Bieber’s “Believe” dips 3-5 with 45,000 (down 1%) while a surprising album returns to the chart at No. 6. Phil Collins’ “Hits” bounds back onto the list at No. 6 with 40,000 sold (up 4,575%) after Amazon MP3 sold the set for 99-cents one day last week. Unlike the Frank Ocean album, this title’s discounted Amazon MP3 sales are allowed to count as the set is more than four weeks old.

“Hits” originally peaked at No. 18, where it debuted, on Oct. 24, 1998. With the album’s return to the list, it instantly gives Collins his first top 10 — and highest charting album — since 1989’s “But Seriously” spent four weeks at No. 1 and completed a top 10 run in April of 1990. It’s now his fourth top 10, joining “Face Value” (No. 7), “Hello, I Must Be Going!” (No. 8), “No Jacket Required” (No. 1) and “But Seriously.”

“Hits” isn’t the only set impacted by 99-cent pricing by Amazon this week, as Bruno Mars’ “Doo Wops & Hooligans” rises from No. 135 to No. 11 with 27,000 (up 644%) and Demi Lovato’s “Unbroken” zooms 124-27 with 13,000 (up 239%). The latter was promoted for 99-cents on Sunday, July 22 — the same day she co-hosted Fox TV’s “Teen Choice Awards.”

One Direction’s “Up All Night” holds at No. 7 with 36,000 (down less than 1%) while the soundtrack to “The Dark Knight Rises” debuts at No. 8 with 33,000. The Water Tower Records soundtrack is the first top 10 album from a “Batman” film since 1997’s “Batman & Robin” flew to No. 5. That effort was a various artists affair, unlike the new “Knight” set, which features only Hans Zimmer’s score.


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