The No. 1 debut of the hit compilation ”NOW That’s What I Call Music! 4” knocks Eminem from the top of the album chart and marks the first time in 17 weeks that Billboard’s album charts haven’t been topped by a rap or teen act. Well, sort of. Many of the artists included on the 18 song set — which sold 320,000 copies last week — are, in fact, bona fide ”TRL” staples, including the Backstreet Boys, Hanson, and Aaliyah, whose single ”Try Again” has been No. 1 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for seven weeks. The singing ”Romeo Must Die” star made history last month when ”Try” became the first noncommercial single ever to top Billboard’s singles’ chart.
And speaking of girls on top, Britney Spears, by holding at No. 2 with her album ”Oops!… I Did It Again,” bests her rappin’ nemesis Eminem for the first time, as ”The Marshall Mathers LP” slips two spots to No. 3. And because Spears’ ”(You Drive Me) Crazy” is included on ”NOW,” technically she’s beaten the bad boy twice. Oops, indeed.
But hip hop fans mourning the end of Eminem’s eight week reign at No. 1 needn’t despair: There’s still a lot of rap action on the charts this week, with the pride of St. Louis, Nelly, continuing to exceed expectations at the No. 4 spot. The rap-filled ”Nutty Professor II” soundtrack slides to No. 8. And the Ruff Ryders turn up at No. 10 with ”Ryde or Die II.”
The week’s biggest chart jumper is Papa Roach’s ”Infest,” which crawls up three places from No. 8 to No. 5. The video for their thrash-inducing single ”Last Resort” is the second most played clip on MTV, which has tagged the act as ”buzz worthy.” Other rockers on the chart this week include Creed (No. 6) and 3 Doors Down (No. 9).
Keeping the top 10 safe for boy bands, though, is ‘N Sync, whose ”No Strings Attached” holds at No. 7. And you can expect ”Strings” to rise next week following the group’s concert special to be broadcast live from Madison Square Garden, Thursday at 9 p.m. on the usually adult skewing HBO. What’s next, a Backstreet Boys guest spot on ”Oz”?