2Pac Too Tough to Top

Latest posthumous release from slain rapper tops SoundScan charts

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If the tsunami of posthumous 2Pac releases suggests an eventual market fatigue for the rhymes of Tupac Shakur, record buyers have yet to be informed. The late, great West Coast rapper's double-disc Until the End of Time sold 426,870 copies last week, according to SoundScan, to claim the top spot from Hotshot, Shaggy's backdoor success, which in its thirty-fourth week of release is finally slowing down to catch its breath as it nears the 5 million copies sold mark.

Shakur's live fast/die young existence has invited post-mortem comparisons to James Dean, but Dean's vaults didn't run nearly as deep. Try Mozart instead. Shakur's body of work is a hip-hop hydra; for every legitimate posthumous release that is cut from his vaults springs a flurry of LaserLight-esque releases of dubious merit. The hit parade started just weeks after Shakur's 1996 death with Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (released under the nom de rap, Makaveli). For every Greatest Hits (1998), R U Still Down? (1997) and Still I Rise (1999), authorized by Shakur's mother and released by Interscope, there is a handful of small-label odds and ends that clutter 2Pac's legacy. But as posthumous releases of unreleased material go, Until the End of Time is in good, if not exactly friendly company, as the Notorious B.I.G.'s Born Again, also a collection of previously unreleased material, scanned 485,000 copies to claim the top spot in December of 1999.

Elsewhere in the Top 100, the charts were somewhat quiet, as only three albums (Until the End of Time, Hotshot and the Dave Matthews Band's Everyday) broke the 100,000 sales mark. Still, there were more than a few strong debuts: Train's Drops of Jupiter at Number Six; India Arie's debut album, Acoustic Soul, at Ten; Buckcherry's Time Bomb at Sixty-four; Ben Harper's Live From Mars at Seventy; Jesse Powell's JP at Seventy-one; and Saliva's Every Six Seconds at Eighty-five. Pearl Jam didn't manage the same sort of record-setting onslaught with their third wave of bootleg releases, but Seattle 11/6/00 bowed in at Ninety-eight, the first of their double-live albums to break into the Top 100.

This week's releases contending for slots on next week's chart include Run-D.M.C.'s star-studded Crown Royal, Rammstein's Mutter, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live in New York City, all of which arrived in stores Tuesday.

This week's Top Ten: 2Pac's Until the End of Time (426,870 copies sold); Shaggy's Hotshot (175,927); the Dave Matthews Band's Everyday (109,328); 112's Part III (99,583); Dido's No Angel (87,132); Train's Drops of Jupiter (80,766); Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (79,309); Trick Daddy's Thugs Are Us (78,992); Aerosmith's Just Push Play (76,979); and India Arie's Acoustic Soul (76,275).