Bizzy Bone, Kurupt further rap's chart reign

Are you starting to notice a trend here? A look at this week's sales charts confirms the obvious, that in 1998 America officially became a hip-hop nation. For the second week in a row, the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 albums are all rap records. And again, this week's highest debut belongs to hip-hop effort, Bizzy Bone's Heaven'z Movie. A compilation from the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony camp, the record came in at No. 3, selling 130,000 copies, according to SoundScan. That means Jay-Z's Vol. II: Hard Knock Life, stayed at No. 1 for the second week in a row, while Lauryn Hill's Miseducation fit in at No. 2.

Not surprisingly, the week's other Top Ten debut also comes from the world of rap. Kurupt, who made up one-half of Death Row's notorious Dogg Pound, debuts at No. 8 with his solo effort, Kuruption. And just missing the top ten were Cypress Hill's IV, which hit at No. 11, and Mack 10's Recipe at No. 15.

Elsewhere on the charts, mainstream rocker Phil Collins' Hits package debuted at No. 18, while John Mellencamp's self-titled release on his new label, Columbia Records, came in at a rather distant No. 41.

From the top, it was Hard Knock Life (selling 208,000 copies), followed by Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (139,000); Heaven'z Movie, 'N Sync (107,000); Outkast's Aquemini (106,000); Sheryl Crow's Globe Sessions (97,000); Shania Twain's Come On Over (96,000); Kuruption (83,000); Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation Project (82,000); and the Barenaked Ladies' Stunt (80,000).

While hip-hop rules the charts, warning signs are going up over some high-profile rock releases which are slipping southward. Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals has dropped from No. 5 to No. 20 in just two weeks' time, while Hootie and the Blowfish's Musical Chairs dropped from No. 12 to No. 30 during that same period. In a complete free-fall however, is Kiss' Psycho-Circus, which has plummeted from No. 3 to No. 58 in just fourteen days.