Atlanta rapper-actor Ludacris is back atop the national sales chart with his latest, “Battle of the Sexes,” his third No. 1 album and the first rap collection to make it to the top since Jay-Z’s “Blueprint” logged two weeks there in September.
It’s a rebound of sorts for the rhymer born Christopher Bridges, after his 2008 album, “Theater of the Mind,” made it only as high as No. 5. “Battle of the Sexes” had first-week sales of 137,000 copies, putting it just ahead of the new Gorillaz effort, “Plastic Beach,” opening at No. 2 on sales of 112,000 copies.
In a strong week for new releases, with five debuting in the Top 10, the posthumous Jimi Hendrix collection “Valleys of Neptune” enters the chart at No. 4, on sales of 95,000 copies. That’s one notch higher than the peak position of his landmark 1967 debut album, “Are You Experienced?,” and right behind 1968’s “Axis: Bold as Love” and 1971’s “The Cry of Love,” both of which peaked at No. 3. The rock guitar hero scored his only No. 1 album in 1968 with “Electric Ladyland.”
The other new entries to the chart this week are from Southland-reared country singer Gary Allan, who debuts at No. 5 on sales of 65,000 copies of “Get Off the Pain,” and Broken Bells, the new group featuring producer Danger Mouse and Shins singer James Mercer. Their collaboration, also called “Broken Bells,” starts out at No. 7 with sales of 49,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of Ludacris. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times