Alicia Keys and Mary J Blige traded places. Released a week earlier,  Element Of Freedom, Keys’ album took the #3 spot (behind Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle). The J Records release still appears three weeks away from platinum, with the holiday sales drop-off taken into effect. Blige’s Stronger (With Every Tear), a Geffen project went to #4. The two have been leaders (along with Rihanna and Robin Thicke), of an R&B/Pop takeover on the charts since October.

The Black Eyed Peas climbed seven spots with The E.N.D., placing them back in the coveted Top 10. The Los Angeles-based quartet continues to fluctuate on the charts unlike typical urban releases. The group has now been announced to be included in CBS’ People’s Choice Awards, likely surging more promotion in coming weeks.

Lil Wayne gave rebirth to the compilation. We Are Young Money slid just three spots to #12. The project remains Universal Motown’s top Rap priority leading up to Rebirth. The Rap industry will see whether Drake or Nicki is the first to release a solo album in 2010.

The repackaging of Eminem’s Relapse (as Relapse: Refill) with a handful of new songs, continues to prove as excellence in Interscope Records’ business plan. This brought the release to #13, and will try to usher the Dr. Dre-produced effort to hard-to-earn 2,000,000 mark.

* Please note: figures below approximated to nearest thousandeth.

Top 200 Album Sales (Top 5 Hip Hop/R&B)

Rank Artist Album This Week Est. Total
3 Alicia Keys Element of Freedom
80,000 779,000
4 Mary J Blige Stronger (With Every Tear)
62,000 394,000
8 Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D.
47,000 1,787,000
12 Young Money We Are Young Money
43,000 186,000
13 Eminem Relapse
41,000 1,735,000

Jay-Z‘s Blueprint 3 climbed over the 1.5 million mark. In classic Blueprint marketing form, the Brooklyn emcee has two singles rotating in radio: the Mr. Hudson-assisted cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” and the Swizz Beatz-helmed “On To The Next.” As these singles penetrate new Alt and Pop markets, Jay-Z may easily be able to achieve two million units sold on this project as well.

Gucci Mane‘s The State Vs. Radric Davis climbed six spaces to #33. The Warner Asylum release is a week away from 200,000 units sold, as the incarcerated Atlanta rapper has been one of the comeback players of 2009, between his appearances, critical acclaim and ending a very serious feud with Young Jeezy.

50 Cent gained seven more spots with Before I Self Destruct. With appearances such as George Lopez Show, 50 remains committed to marketing what may be his final project with Interscope Records.

Snoop Dogg‘s Malice N’ Wonderland remained Top 50. The release has not performed as strongly as past Snoop efforts, as the Priority/Doggystyle/EMI project still remains below the 150,000 mark, despite a strong publicity and marketing campaign. The album did receive mixed critical reviews.

Lastly, Wale returned to the Top 200 with the new year. His Interscope-backed Attention: Deficit debut is still out-selling releases from Juvenile, B.G. and neighboring Virginia veterans The Clipse.

Rank Artist Album This Week Est. Total
23 Jay-Z Blueprint 3
25,000 1,515,000
33 Gucci Mane The State Vs. Radric Davis  18,000 191,000
40 50 Cent Before I Self Destruct 15,000 349,000
49 Snoop Dogg Malice N’ Wonderland
14,000 147,000
185 Wale Attention: Deficit
3,700 64,000

With a slow week ahead, will Gucci Mane get his 200,000, and will Eminem or B.E.P. win the finish-line race to two million?