There's a new Game in town.
Dr. Dre (search) protégé The Game (search), aka Jayceon Taylor (search), crowned Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart this week, selling nearly 587,000 copies of his debut disc, "The Documentary," (search) according to Nielsen SoundScan.
While those sales don't put The Game in the same league as his fellow G-Unit member 50 Cent — who sold 872,000 copies in his first week out in 2003 — it's a stronger debut than was made by any of last year's biggest-selling rap newcomers: Kanye West, D12 and Lloyd Banks.
And it's the highest first-week total since U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" sold 839,000 copies in November, making "The Documentary" the first major release of the year.
Born in Compton, Calif., the Game, 24, is a gangsta rapper with a sad story: Two of his brothers were shot and killed, and he himself barely survived five gunshots. He turned to rap for salvation.
Some consider him the West Coast equivalent of 50 Cent, the hard-core Queens rapper who survived being riddled with nine bullets in 2000.
50 Cent's debut disc, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," debuted at No. 1 in 2003, and broke Snoop Dogg's first-week sales record for a hip-hop artist, when "Doggystyle" (1993) sold 802,000 copies out of the box.
The Game's smash debut is due largely to his close ties to Dr. Dre, who produced tracks on the record along with Kanye West and Just Blaze. "The Documentary" also features guest turns from Nate Dogg and 50 Cent.
"Kids I know who are into hip-hop have been talking about this album since November," says Billboard charts guru Geoff Mayfield. "The kids are plugged in."