Paul Grien over at Yahoo Music has put together a list of the worst selling #1 albums from 1991-2006. Its quite interesting, but I've extracted some highlights:
1. Omarion, 21, 390,000. This was the R&B artist's second album in a row to open at #1. Omarion's solo debut album, O, had achieved the feat in March 2005. But 21, which charted in December 2006, has sold only about half as many copies as that earlier album (see #17). The key song from 21, "Ice Box," reached #12 on the Hot 100. This was the lowest-selling #1 album of 2006.
5. R. Kelly & Jay-Z, Unfinished Business, 524,000. This was the second collaboration by the superstar pairing. The first, The Best Of Both Worlds, peaked at #2 in 2002. But that first album has sold a healthier 933,000 copies. This was the lowest-selling #1 album of 2004-as well as the lowest-selling chart-topper of the Nielsen/SoundScan era to that point. (It may have been undercut by Jay-Z's collaboration with Linkin Park, Collision Course, which was released just five weeks later.) Unfinished Business charted in October 2004 with first-week sales of 215,000. That's 41% of its total.
10. Gridlock'd soundtrack, 585,000. This soundtrack charted in February 1997, five months after the movie's star, 2 Pac, was shot to death. The album features two 2Pac tracks, one a collaboration with Snoop Doggy Dogg. No songs from the album made the Hot 100.
15. Diddy, Press Play, 700,000. This was the rap icon's first #1 album since 1997, when, as Puff Daddy, he topped the chart with No Way Out. But Press Play has sold less than one-seventh as many copies as that album has. Press Play charted in October 2006. The album's key track, "Come To Me" (featuring Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls) went top 10 on the Hot 100. (By contrast, No Way Out contained four top five hits.)
18. Nas, Hip Hop Is Dead, 764,000. This was the rapper's third #1 album, following It Was Written in 1996 and I Am... in 1999. But it has sold only about a third of what those albums have sold. Hip Hop Is Dead charted in December 2006, with first-week sales of 355,000. That's a whopping 46% of its total. The title track, featuring will.i.am, peaked at #41 on the Hot 100, lower than such earlier Nas hits as "Street Dreams" and "I Can."
25. A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes And Life, 828,000. This charted in August 1996, making it the oldest album on this list. It was the lowest-selling #1 album of 1996-and the lowest-selling chart-topper of the Nielsen/SoundScan era to that point.