*Ludacris and Rihanna reach the top spot on Billboard’s album and singles chart this week, while gospel great Marvin Sapp is on course to earn the chart’s highest album debut next week for his new release “Here I Am.’
Luda scores his fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as “Battle of the Sexes” debuts atop the tally with 137,000 copies. Counting “Battle,” Ludacris (aka Christopher Bridges) has scored seven top 10 sets, including his previous No. 1s — “Release Therapy” (2006), “The Red Light District” (2004) and “Chicken N Beer” (2003).
The album also ties Luda for the third-most No. 1s among rap acts. His total brings him up to speed with the Beastie Boys, but trails 2Pac, DMX, Eminem and Nas, who each have five No. 1s. The all-time leader among rap acts is Jay-Z, with 11.
Elsewhere on the album chart, Jimi Hendrix’s “Valleys of Neptune,” is the next highest debut, starting at No. 4 with 95,000 units sold. It’s the rock icon’s highest-charting album since “The Cry of Love” reached No. 3 in 1971. The new release is a recently discovered collection of previously unreleased studio recordings Hendrix made before he died in 1970.
As for the holdovers in the top 10 this week, Sade’s “Soldier of Love” is down four rungs to No. 6, Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” is down one to No. 8 and the Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” also drops one spot to No. 9.
As for next week’s Billboard 200, industry insiders foresee gospel singer/minister Marvin Sapp’s “Here I Am” album selling as many as 70,000 copies by week’s end on Sunday March 21. That sales figure may place the album into the top five on next week’s chart.
His last set, 2007’s “Thirsty,” peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 but spent a lengthy 81 weeks on the chart with 710,000 copies sold to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its long run on the charts was aided in part to his surprise radio hit “Never Would Have Made It,” which spent a staggering 56 weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart between 2008 and 2009.
Meanwhile, on the Hot 100 singles chart, Rihanna replaces labelmate Taio Cruz at No. 1 with her latest single “Rude Boy.” [Watch video below.] The track is her sixth Hot 100 No. 1 and fifth as a lead artist. Her most recent chart-topper had been as a featured vocalist on T.I.’s “Live Your Life” in 2008. Her other leaders are “SOS” (2006, three weeks), “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z (2007, seven weeks), “Take A Bow” (2008, 1 week) and “Disturbia” (2008, two weeks).