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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
12/22/2004 9:29:01 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include 2Pac.

Tupac Shakur grabs his third posthumous Billboard 200 chart-topper as "Loyal to the Game" (Amaru/Interscope) enters the chart at No. 1. The set, which sold 330,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, becomes the late rapper's fifth No. 1 on the tally.

Since his 1996 murder, Tupac's album sales total more than 18 million units in the United States, with a career total is 24.4 million. His last posthumous album, "Better Dayz," debuted in 2002 at No. 5 with 366,000 copies; it has sold 1.6 million to date.

Despite rising fortunes for most titles as the gift-giving crunch hit full swing, last week's No. 1, Ludacris' "Red Light District" (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South), suffered a 34% sales decline to 214,000 and plummets to No. 12 on the chart.

Leading the stocking-stuffer charge is 17th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Sony BMG/Universal/EMI/Zomba/Capitol), which makes a 5-2 jump on a 33% gain to sales of 323,000. A 15% increase to 315,000 copies keeps Eminem's "Encore" (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) secure at No. 3 for a second week, while Shania Twain's Mercury Nashville greatest hits set moves 6-4 on a 31% spike to 311,000.

Though sales rose 7% to 297,000 units, U2's two-week stint at No. 2 with "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (Interscope) ends with slide to No. 5. Destiny's Child's "Destiny Fulfilled" (Sony Urban/Columbia) jumps 7-6 on a 25% gain to 267,000.

"Concrete Rose," Ashanti's third studio set for The Inc./Def Jam opens at No. 7 with sales of 245,000, becoming her first album of non-holiday material to not debut at No. 1. Last year's "Chapter II" entered at the top with sales of 326,000 copies and has sold 1.5 million to date.

Although sales of Toby Keith's "Greatest Hits 2" (DreamWorks Nashville/Interscope) were 25% larger at 238,000, the set remains moored at No. 8 for a second week. A 41% increase to 237,000 pushes Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) back into the top 10 as it fuels an 11-9 jump. "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Collision Course" (Machine Shop/Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) falls 9-10 to round out the top tier despite a 27% rise to sales of 236,000 copies.

Despite his popularity with the "Total Request Live" set, Xzibit's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (Columbia) settles for a No. 43 debut on sales of 81,000 in its first week. In 2002, the rapper and host of MTV's "Pimp My Ride" saw "Man vs. Machine" start at No. 3 with 156,000 copies; it has sold 596,000 to date.

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