Scandal or no scandal, R. Kelly is a hit factory, and his new release ”Chocolate Factory” performed up to his usual standards, debuting on top of the Billboard album chart on sales of 532,000, according to SoundScan. That’s just 11,000 less than he sold the first week his previous solo album, ”TP-2,” was in stores in November 2000, before he was rocked with child-porn allegations. It was also just enough to end the two-week reign of 50 Cent’s ”Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” which sold 520,000 copies for a second-place finish. 50 Cent has sold 2.2 million albums in less than three weeks; you would have to go back again to late 2000 to find other records (the Backstreet Boys’ ”Black & Blue” and the Beatles’ ”1”) that sold at least 500,000 copies for three straight weeks.
Norah Jones’ ”Come Away with Me” marked the first anniversary of its release by finishing at No. 3 on sales of 144,000; watch for a boost next week in the wake of her Grammy sweep. Same for multiple Grammy winners the Dixie Chicks, whose ”Home” finished fourth this week and sold 126,000 copies. Sliding one slot to No. 5 was Kid Rock’s ”Cocky”; maybe his Grammy show duet with Sheryl Crow will also help his sales.
Besides ”Chocolate,” the highest-charting new album, at No. 6, was DMX’s soundtrack to his new movie ”Cradle 2 the Grave,” opening this weekend. Grammy bridesmaid Avril Lavigne’s ”Let Go” slipped one slot to No. 7, and the ”Chicago” soundtrack dropped three notches to No. 8. Newcomers to the top 10, climbing six spots each, included the ”Daredevil” soundtrack at No. 9 and the ”Grammy Nominees 2003” compilation at No. 10.