Nicki Minaj and Kanye West Lead Album Chart

Hip-hop stars Kanye West and Nicki Minaj claimed the top two spots on the U.S. album chart Wednesday, but their opening-week sales fell below industry forecasts.

West led the Billboard 200 after selling 496,000 units of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” during the week November 24, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Minaj followed at No. 2, moving 375,000 copies of her debut release, “Pink Friday.”

Some industry insiders had predicted in the early part of last week that the pair were on track to start with perhaps 550,000 and 400,000, respectively.

Nevertheless, West now logs his fourth consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 and the fourth-best sales week of 2010. It’s also a better launch than the 450,000-unit start for his last set, 2008’s “808s & Heartbreak.”

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