Well, no one can blame Kelis' bad album sales on her album covers not being noticeable...

So much for saying that rap music is a dying commercial art form. If it wasn’t for hip-hop, this week’s #1 album would have only sold 45,000 units. Rappers manage to take the top three positions on this week’s Billboard album chart, led for a third consecutive week by Eminem. “Recovery” continues to defy expectations, experiencing only a 27% drop in it’s 3rd week and selling a still impressive 229,000 copies. The last album to sell more than 200,000 copies in its’ third week out was another hip-hop album, Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” back in 2008. Speaking of Weezy, his protege Drake maintains his hold on the runner up position with “Thank Me Later”, while OutKast’s Big Boi debuts at #3 with his solo debut “Sir Lucious Leftfoot” (62,000 copies sold).

Big Boi heads the list of four Top 20 debuts, all by veteran artists. Enrique Iglesias pops in at #10 with his latest, “Euphoria”, while medical marvel Bret Michaels pops in at #14 with “Custom Built”. The last of the four debuts comes from Aussie sexpot Kylie Minogue, who enters at #19 with “Aphrodite”.

Last week seems to have been a down week all around (maybe it was too hot for people to go shopping?), with the only major increases going to a few well-worn albums. The biggest percentage increase in the Top 100 actually goes to Journey’s 20+ year old “Greatest Hits” album with a 45% bump in sales. Next up is the seemingly unstoppable Lady GaGa, whose “Fame Monster” is up 24%. For good measure, the original “Fame” album steps back into the Top Ten at #8 on an 18% increase.

On the other side of the coin, things aren’t looking too good for a couple of artists on the comeback trail. Futuristic R&B singer Kelis starts at #48 with her latest album “Flesh Tone”. The songstress’ fifth studio album starts with an anemic 7,800 units sold. A few spots below, at #58, is former Cash Money superstar Juvenile with his latest, “Beast Mode”. It scans a paltry 6,400 units in it’s first week out. Just a few short years ago, he debuted at #1 with his “Reality Check” CD. How the worm has turned.

Next week, I’d imagine Eminem will score a fourth consecutive week at the top. Drake should score another frame at #2 as well, with potential Top 10 debuts from metal supergroup Hellyeah, plus new albums from Korn and M.I.A.

The full Top 20 after the jump…

As promised, this week’s Top 20:

1) Recovery-Eminem
2) Thank Me Later-Drake
3) Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty-Big Boi
4) Twilight: Eclipse (Original Soundtrack)-Various Artists
5) My World 2.0-Justin Bieber
6) Now That’s What I Call Music 34-Various Artists
7) To the Sea-Jack Johnson
8) The Fame-Lady GaGa
9) Need You Now-Lady Antebellum
10) Euphoria-Enrique Iglesias
11) Can’t Be Tamed-Miley Cyrus
12) Love King-The-Dream
13) Laws of Illusion-Sarah McLachlan
14) Custom Built-Bret Michaels
15) Foundation-Zac Brown Band
16) Live at the Troubadour-Carole King & James Taylor
17) Raymond v. Raymond-Usher
18) Scream-Ozzy Osbourne
19) Aphrodite-Kylie Minogue
20) Mojo-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

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