50 Cent sets record with ''Massacre'' debut. Despite a short sales week and competition from new J. Lo, Jack Johnson, and Mars Volta CDs, ''Massacre'' sells 1.14 million copies

By Gary Susman
Updated March 09, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
50 Cent: Kevin Winter/Getty

Proving the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, 50 Cent’s The Massacre debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and sold 1.14 million copies (according to SoundScan), marking the best sales week the feud-prone rapper has ever enjoyed. Despite a four-day sales week (50 moved the album’s release forward five days to pre-empt the sales of pirated copies), Massacre enjoyed the sixth-best first week since SoundScan began measuring sales 15 years ago. It was also the best debut ever for an album with shortened sales week, breaking a record set two years ago by the rapper’s own first album Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

50 brought enough music fans into record stores that several other artists enjoyed especially strong debuts as well. Jennifer Lopez’ Rebirth entered the chart in second place and sold 261,000 copies, a number that compares favorably to her career high of 272,000 the week she released J. Lo in 2001. Jack Johnson enjoyed the best week of his career with the No. 3 debut of his third album, In Between Dreams, with sales of 228,000. Same went for The Mars Volta, scoring a career-high No. 4 debut with the first-week sales of 123,000 copies of Frances the Mute.

In a week that saw 50’s feud with protégé The Game turn violent, the former G-Unit rapper still enjoyed strong sales of his solo debut The Documentary, which slipped just one slot to No. 5 and sold another 100,000 units. Slipping three slots to sixth place was Green Day’s American Idiot. Down five spots to No. 7 was Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company. Last week’s champ, Omarion’s O, fell to eighth place. Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway rose one spot to No. 9. Eminem’s Encore slid two slots to 10th place. Just missing out on a top-10 opening was the reunited Judas Priest, whose Angel of Retribution debuted at No. 13, becoming the metal veterans’ highest-charting album ever.