As expected, new albums from Kanye West and Nicki Minaj hold the no. 1 and 2 slots, respectively, on this week's Billboard 200 albums chart, beating out debuts from Ne-Yo, Lloyd Banks, and Curren$y.
West opened on top with his latest LP, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, selling 496,000 copies; and Minaj moved 375,000 of her Pink Friday debut to come in at no. 2.
According to Billboard.com, the numbers were slightly lower than expected ... but they'll take it.
West's new album gives him his fourth straight no. 1 opening, and the fourth-best sales week of 2010. It also sold more than the 450,000 that his last set, 2008's 808s & Heartbreak, opened with. 224,000 of those sales were digital downloads, equaling about 45% of the album's overall first week sales. That puts Fantasy as the fourth-biggest digital week for any set, only behind projects from Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Eminem.
As for Nicki, she earned the second-best sales week for a female hip-hop act. Only Lauryn Hill has done better, when The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill debuted at no. 1 with 423,000 in 1998.
Later in this week's top 10 is Rihanna's Loud, which drops three spots to no. 6 with 141,000.
Ne-Yo landed right inside the top 10 this week, with his fourth LP, Libra Scale. With 112,000 to start, the album lands at no. 9, recording his lowest debut sales week. His first album, 2006's In My Own Words, opened at no. 1 with 301,000, while its follow-up, 2007's Because of You, also began at no. 1, but with 251,000. His third set, 2008's Year of the Gentleman, came in at no. 2 with 250,000.
That does it for the top tier, but outside the top 20, we have three new releases: Lloyd Banks' H.F.M.2, Curren$y's Pilot Talk II, and Yelawolf's Trunk Muzik 0-60.
Banks' third solo album, H.F.M. 2 (The Hunger For More 2) marked the beginning of the G-Unit Records' EMI-distribution era. The project opens at no. 25 with 45,000 copies sold, thanks in part to the success of the album's smash hit, "Beamer, Benz Or Bentley."
At no. 83 is Curren$y's Pilot Talk II, selling 14,000 copies. The album is the rapper's second this year, it features Raekwon and former No Limit signee Fiend.
Lastly, Yelawolf's retail mixtape, Trunk Muzik 0-60, cracks the top 200 at no. 164 with 5,000 sold to start. It features Raekwon and Gucci Mane, and originally hit the Internet earlier this year.
That wraps things up this week. To cop any of these new releases, head over to Amazon.com.
According to Billboard.com, overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 28) totaled 10.24 million units, up 26% compared to the sum last week (8.12 million) and down 5% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (10.73 million).