The Eminem show was everywhere this week as two albums by the rapper commanded top spots on the U.S. sales charts ahead of the Friday opening of his highly anticipated debut movie.
The newly released soundtrack to his film “8 Mile” – which features music by Eminem as well as other rappers such as Jay-Z, Nas and D-12 – debuted at No. 1 on the charts, selling an estimated 702,000 units in the week ended Nov. 3, according to music tracker Nielsen SoundScan.
The album features three new solo songs by Eminem, who has the starring role in the movie about a white kid who faces down his fear of failure in the largely black world of Detroit’s hip hop clubs.
If the early buzz and positive reviews are any indication, legions of his fans are expected to hit the theaters this week, which will likely boost record sales for the star, who has sold some 30 million albums worldwide.
“It’s going to be a big week for Eminem. The movie opens Friday and it’s already gotten great reviews,” said Dennis Dennehy, a spokesman for Eminem’s label Interscope, a unit of Vivendi Universal.
Another Eminem album – “The Eminem Show,” which is the bad-boy rapper’s third album – has remained among the Top 10 selling albums for over five months since it first hit stores on May 28, ranking No. 8 in the latest week.
Nielsen SoundScan said “The Eminem Show” sold about 100,000 units in the latest week, bringing its cumulative tally to a whopping 6.4 million units.
The movie “8 Mile,” is not meant to be a biography of the rapper, born Marshall Mathers III, or the story of how he won over the largely black world of rap music while angering politicians, women and gay groups with his lyrics.
But the character’s life has strong and similarities to that of Eminem, who also grew up in Detroit, where 8 Mile is the road that divides the city from the richer suburbs beyond.
Meanwhile, sales of rock guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana’s “Shaman” – which shot to the top of the charts last week with his first No. 1 album debut ever – fell to about fourth place with 174,965 units, according to his label, Bertelsmann AG’s Arista Records.
“Shaman,” Santana’s latest multi-artist collaboration, sold nearly 300,000 copies its first week in stores, four times the first-week tally of “Supernatural” in September 1999, according to Arista Records.
Coming in at No. 2, behind the Eminem soundtrack was Christina Aguilera (news)’s “Stripped,” also a new release, which sold about 330,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Ranking third was the hotly anticipated greatest hits compilation of legendary grunge band Nirvana, which sold an estimated 234,000 units in the latest week.