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Wyclef's ''Ecleftic'' debuts at No. 9

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Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean
Jean: David Atlas/Retna

While catchy rhyme-wielder Nelly holds at No. 1 for the third straight week on Billboard’s album chart, selling 213,500 copies of ”Country Grammar,” Wyclef Jean’s ”The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book” scores the week’s highest debut at No. 9. The Fugee member’s sophomore set sold 95,000 units — almost double the first week sales of his ’97 solo debut, ”The Carnival.”

But despite these decent numbers, things aren’t necessarily all good for the rap renaissance man. Radio has pretty much dissed Wyclef’s ”It Doesn’t Matter,” the album’s first single, which features a chorus by that WWF golden throat The Rock. After just 7 weeks, it’s fallen to No. 96 on the R&B charts. ”It’s a really catchy song,” says Preeti Vasudeva, Music Coordinator of New York City’s top urban station, Hot 97. ”But it isn’t doing that well because it’s just too poppy with the Rock (on it).” Evidently not poppy enough for Top 40 stations, though — it failed to make the Pop airplay chart.

Still, there’s hope for the future. Vasudeva says Jean’s next single — ”911,” a duet with Hip-Hop-Soul queen Mary J. Blige — is already scoring better, both with listeners and djs. ”Almost every jock has made a (positive) comment about ‘911’ before it comes on,” says Vasudeva. ”And that really helps a record because people are like, ‘What song are they talking about?”’ Plus, R&B staple Blige is a lot easier on the ears than the cacophonous WWF behemoth. Indeed, ”911” debuted higher (No. 73) than ”It Doesn’t Matter” peaked (No. 80).

In other chart news, much remains unchanged from last week. Britney Spears, whose new single ”Lucky” is the No. 4 clip on MTV, stays at No. 2 for the 14th consecutive week. Big Britney fan (NOT!) Eminem hangs onto the No. 3 spot, followed by the burstin’ with pop collection ”Now 4” (No. 4) and those Creed boys (No. 5). Another set of boys, ‘N Sync, hold down the No. 6 spot. And on their well-choreographed heels are rockers 3 Doors Down (No. 7) and Papa Roach (No. 8). But score one for LeAnn Rimes and girls of ”Coyote Ugly” — the film’s soundtrack moves into the No. 10 spot. We’ll drink to that!

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