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An Encore for Em's "Encore"

Eminem apparently learned to be nice this holiday season because Santa gave the usually naughty rapper another number one.

Previously ruling the charts for the last two weeks of November, the Shady One’s Encore encored at number one for the week ended Sunday, selling 430,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

Em has a record of reentering the top slot, having done it with both The Eminem Show and the 8 Mile soundtrack. His is the fifth album to regain the number one position in 2004, joining discs by OutKast, Ashlee Simpson, Usher and Now That’s What I Call Music! 17.

Last week’s best seller, Tupac Shakur’s Loyal to the Game, plummeted 12 spots down to number 13, selling 219,000 copies. The rapper’s latest posthumous disc was actually co-executive produced by Eminem.

With labels having already issued their big releases for the year, Christmas week sales were dominated by the usual suspects: Now That’s What I Call Music! 17 at two, U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb at three, Destiny’s Child’s Destiny Fulfilled at four, Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits at five, Usher’s Confessions at six, Toby Keith’s Greatest Hits 2 at seven, Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s Collision Course at eight, Green Day’s American Idiot at nine, and Ludacris’ Red Light District keeping bright in the 10 spot.

Aside from the Eminem-led shakeup at the top, the only other significant chart action was a pair of new entries. Mannie Fresh’s Mind of Mannie sold 69,000 copies to debut at 59, while Hip-Hop Hits Vol. 9 moved 51,000 at 76.

While the top sellers of 2004 will be announced shortly, the Recording Industry Association of America recently listed the most shipped albums of the year. Usher’s Confessions led the list with 8 million units shipped (besting his previous mark of the six-times platinum 1997 album My Way ). George Strait’s 50 Number Ones (5 million) was tops among country artists and Norah Jones’ Feels Like Home (4 million) set the mark for a female artist.

Among newcomers, freshly minted Grammy darling Kanye West moved the most copies for a rookie male artist, with 2 million copies of The College Dropout shipped, while redneck-embracing country star Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party tied with the lip-synching Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography with 3 million shipments to lead the list of newbie female artists.

The RIAA also gave OutKast a diamond award for 10 million copies shipped of 2003’s

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and Ray Charles earned his first platinum and multiplatinum awards for his posthumous Genius Loves Company.

Here’s a recap of Billboard ‘s Top 10 albums last week based on sales data collected by Nielsen SoundScan:

  • Encore, Eminem
  • Now That’s What I Call Music! 17, various
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2
  • Destiny Fulfilled, Destiny’s Child
  • Greatest Hits, Shania Twain
  • Confessions, Usher
  • Greatest Hits 2, Toby Keith
  • Collision Course, Jay-Z and Linkin Park
  • American Idiot, Green Day
  • Red Light District, Ludacris
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