While DMX chooses to play down the business side of his profession, the rapper has proven to be every bit the tenured chart force as Jay-Z, making them the most bankable pair of rappers in the business, even if their styles are innately disparate. DMX's fourth album, The Great Depression, sold 439,957 copies in its first week, according to SoundScan, to give him his fourth straight Number One debut. Like Jay-Z, DMX is as prolific as he is successful, as The Great Depression makes four releases in the span of three years. And like Jigga's The Blueprint, Depression shows a sales recession from his previous efforts (And Then There Was X and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood sold 698,000 and 670,000 copies, respectively, both in 1999), the dip is more likely connected with a industry-wide ebb than any sort of artist fatigue.
Perhaps it was the summer heat that had a delirious (and optimistic) public thinking a return to rock was on the horizon with albums by Tool and Staind leading the charge. While Incubus' Morning View mustered a quite respectable 266,188 copies sold, the fact that the group's previous album, 1999's Make Yourself, was still lodged on the charts and spawning singles over the summer, suggested a mightier debut. But this week's charts proved that, if anything, rock is still currently running third in the race of the three R's, as rap and R&B compose half of the fifty best-selling albums of the year, while rock claims fifteen, with several of those (including albums by Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit) only leaving one foot in the rock boat.
But rock wasn't without other new voices this week. The Dave Matthews Band sold an impressive 130,857 copies of its two-disc Live in Chicago, a number that pales in comparison to the 700K debut of their 2000 studio album, Everyday, but nonetheless strong given the lack of fanfare surrounding its release.
Debuts were dropping like leaves elsewhere. Reba McEntire's Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (Number Eighteen), Bush's Golden State (Number Twenty-two), Enigma's LSD (Number Twenty-nine), the Dilated People's Expansion Team (Number Thirty-six), C-Murder's C-P-3.com (Number Forty-six) and the Cranberries' Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (Number Forty-seven) all made strong showings.
Sales milestones were reached by a pair of albums: Alicia Keys' Songs in A Minor topped 3 million sales after just over four months of release, and Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water passed the 6 million copies sold mark, just two weeks after its one-year anniversary.
Next week promises the most intriguing set of possibilities in recent memory. DMX's first-week sales suggest a 200K plus second week, which may feel a pinch from Lenny Kravitz's latest album, Lenny, and Michael Jackson's Invincible. But Kravitz's past successes have hinged on his ability to churn out radio hits, and the singles chart's Top Ten is currently Lenny-free. And Jackson's first album of new material in six years, which is rumored to have cost in the vicinity of $30 million to wax, has all the earmarks of a misfire, including a lukewarm reception for its lead single.
This week's Top Ten: DMX's The Great Depression (439,957 copies sold); Incubus' Morning View (266,188); Enya's Day Without Rain (162,929); God Bless America (147,602); Ja Rule's Pain Is Love (136,102); Dave Matthews Band's Live in Chicago (130,857); Nickelback's Silver Side Up (118,418); Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory (111,520); Usher's 8701 (100,362); and Totally Hits 2001 (98,735).