Proving that there's no such thing as bad publicity, R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory sold 532,000 copies in its first week, according to SoundScan, to bump 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' from the Number One slot.
For Kelly, the tally is a return to form at a time when most thought he'd lost his step. The R&B crooner has been the focus of a pair of child porn investigations over the past year. The allegations were thought to play a role in the sputtering first week sales of his collaboration with Jay-Z (The Best of Both Worlds), which only mustered 223,000 copies out of the gate. But Chocolate Factory's sales find Kelly at the top of his game, nearly matching his previous best first week tally, registered by 2000's TP-2.com, which debuted Number One with sales of 543,000.
And while Kelly regained his chart prowess, 50 Cent's figure is hardly chump change. The 520,000 copies it sold at Number Two push its total to 2.2 million in less than three weeks of release.
Norah Jones' Come Away With Me celebrated its one-year anniversary with a 144,000-copy sales week, good enough for Number Three. The album's sales, well past 2 million, are likely to jump significantly next week as its Grammy-sweeping momentum translates into sales. Likewise, the Dixie Chicks' Home and Kid Rock's Cocky remain Top Five mainstays, at Numbers Four and Five, with sales of 126,000 and 102,000, respectively.
Just missing the Top Five was the week's second highest debut, the Cradle 2 the Grave, soundtrack, which featured new material by DMX. The album sold 98,000 copies at Number Six, and was one of three soundtracks -- along with Chicago (Number Eight, 81,000 copies sold) and Daredevil (Number Nine, up from Fifteen last week, 70,000).
The charts also featured a few big movers. More is written about T.A.T.U.'s age, country of origin and sexual preference (teens, Russians and, reportedly, lesbians) than what their music actually sounds like. Well, as Chocolate Factory has amply proven, dubious sex (or allegations thereof) sells, and the duo's 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane bounded from Number Thirty-six to Number Thirteen with sales of 51,000. A slot below, Sean Paul's Dutty Rock sold 49,000, scaling the charts from Number Thirty-nine last week.
Next week's charts should be a free-for-all, the Grammys being the week's biggest wild card. Get Rich or Die Tryin' has been suffering weekly sales decreases, but at a significantly smaller percentage than the average release. Chocolate Factory should muster strong six-figure sales, yet again, giving it a chance. And Norah's big Grammy night makes Come Away With Me a tough contender.
This week's Top Ten: R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory; 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'; Norah Jones' Come Away With Me; the Dixie Chicks' Home; Kid Rock's Cocky; the Cradle 2 the Grave soundtrack; Avril Lavigne's Let Go; the Chicago soundtrack; the Daredevil soundtrack; and Grammy Nominees 2003.