One of the slowest release weeks of the year ended with some shifts. The year’s biggest and best climbed back to the top, while artists like Lloyd Banks and Mike Posner climbed back onto the Top 200, after weeks away. It was a close race at the top, and should look like this for some time, as January and February has a history of being friendly to independent projects to get their moment in the sun.

Eminem’s Recovery climbed five more spots on the charts. As one of the year’s best-selling albums, the Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records release has now surpassed 3.4 million units sold domestically. The work features production from Alex da Kid, DJ Khalil, Just Blaze and Mobb Deep’s Havoc.

Close behind was Rihanna, who climbed seven spots. Her Loud album climbs towards platinum, with features from Eminem, Drake and Nicki Minaj.

DXnext alum Nicki Minaj climbed four spots with her Young Money Records debut Pink Friday. The effort out-sold the critically-acclaimed Kanye West album for a third straight week, which was released on the same November 22 date. Featuring both Nicki’s brand of singing and rapping, Pink Friday has appearances from, Drake and Eminem.

Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy shot up 14 spots in the last week of the year. The Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records released topped numerous year-end lists for it’s lyrics, music, guests and mixing. West has been rumored to be releasing “All of The Lights” as his next single, which features Rihanna, Fergie and Elton John, among others.

Another big climb came courtesy of Atlantic Records’ Bruno Mars. The singer and producer, known for his work with B.o.B. and Cee Lo Green climbed 13 spaces with his debut Doo Wops & Hooligans. The album features the aforementioned Bobby Ray and Damian Marley.

* Please note: figures below approximated to nearest thousandth.

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

Rank Artist Album This Week Est. Total
2 Eminem Recovery 63,000 3,415,000
3 Rihanna Loud 62,000 752,000
4 Nicki Minaj  Pink Friday 61,000 852,000
5 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 58,000 882,000
7 Bruno Mars Doo Wops & Hooligans
45,000 458,000

T.I.‘s No Mercy climbed 10 spots after a month on record store shelves. The emcee and label owner’s latest album was released while he was incarcerated for probation violations earlier this year, involving drugs. Officially crossing the 330,000 milestone, the latest album from Tip features Kid Cudi, Scarface and Rocko, with production by DJ Toomp, Kanye West and Jake One.

Going from #40 to #20, Lil Wayne‘s digital-turned-physical 2010 release I Am Not A Human Being continues to succeed with the emcee now free. Selling over 660,000 units to date, the album could reach platinum this new year.

After a major drop last week, Diddy and Dirty Money’s Last Train To Paris bounced back 16 spaces in its third week on charts. Now at #27, Diddy’s first Interscope-backed album features Drake, T.I. and Rick Ross. The conceptual work is said to be soon getting remixes to popular tracks, featuring Lil Wayne, Mary J Blige and others.

In its second week, Ghostface Killah‘s Apollo Kids actually gained five spots to #109. With vocal appearances from Game, Black Thought and Wu brethren, the album also features production from Pete Rock, Sean C & LV and Scram Jones.

G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks returned to the charts after several weeks of absence. Banks’ EMI-distributed H.F.M.2 (The Hunger For More 2) is widely considered a comeback for the Queens, New York rapper. The album features Kanye West, Raekwon and Pusha T.

Rank Artist Album This Week Est. Total
16 T.I. No Mercy 33,000 333,000
20 Lil Wayne I Am Not A Human Being
26,000 664,000
27 Diddy – Dirty Money Last Train To Paris 21,000 161,000
109 Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids 6,100 20,000
160 Lloyd Banks H.F.M.2 (The Hunger For More 2)
4,100 79,000

The 2010 Gold & Platinum Plaques

Last week, we compiled a one-stop page for you to see who pulled in plaques this year from singles and albums. With Nelly, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and the usual suspects, the findings might surprise you.

Check out “Precious Medals: The 2010 Hip Hop Gold and Platinum Plaques” →