Weekly review of the Hip-Hop and R&B sales/charts.
We now have the numbers for what was a monumental week in rap history, with Kanye West, J. Cole and Mac Miller all dropping their respective albums on June 18th. And Kelly Rowland. This marks the first time since 2006 that three rap releases have broken the 100k mark opening week, the las time being when Jay-Z's Kingdom Come (680,000), Snoop Dogg's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (264,000) and 2Pac's Pac's Life (159,000) all dropped within the same week. That's pretty crazy to think about. While June 18th will undoubtedly be a date forever remembered in hip-hop, it also marks different directions in sound from Kanye and Mac, who both wandered quite far off from the norm, or at least, what was expected of them (although for Mac, it's been a long time coming, so fans were more prepared). While J. Cole can't be counted completely in that category, he did change his tone somewhat on Born Sinner, opting for a slew of mellow beats and less radio-catered beats. The thing is-- for the Cole World rapper, we saw an improvement in sales from his debut. For our other two rap friends, we found a decrease. It's quite likely that both Yeezy and Mac Miller polarized some fans with their change in direction, which could account for their decrease in sales (when compared with past releases). But then again, maybe they gained some fans in the process as well. All three albums nonethless made an impressive debut, even Kelly Rowland put in some numbers.
1) Kanye West—Yeezus: Even with a leak, which let people hear the sonic expirement that was Yeezus, ‘Ye still did numbers, unsurprisingly. The rapper pulled off a #1 debut, with J. Cole offering some strong competition. Yeezus makes Kanye’s fifth album to debut at #1, having moved 327,000 copies opening week. Yeezy’s last solo album in 2010, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, also had a #1 debut, however moved over 100k more units (496,000)—but sales are always going down, so this may not be surprising. Plus, ‘Ye did a very unconventional promo and rollout for Yeezus. And let’s go back one minute to The College Dropout—that debuted at #2 and moved 441,000 opening week. Seems like ‘Ye can do no wrong, no matter what crazy sounds he ventures into.
2) J. Cole—Born Sinner: It appears that all that competing J. Cole was doing with Kanye (although Kanye probably wasn’t aware of the competition..) paid off. The Cole Word rapper debuted right below Yeezus at #2, moving only 30k less than him. That’s 297,000 copies sold opening week. Cole moved more this time ‘round than with his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, which sold 218k.
3) Mac Miller—Watching Movies With The Sound Off: Although Mac was often neglected as ‘competition’ on June 18th (and he seemed to even count himself out), Mac pulled some respectable numbers in the face of his June 18th competitors. Mac seems to have completely rid himself of his college rap sound, and in so doing he may have also rid himself of a few fans. He moved less units than his debut Blue Slide Park (145k), but he still broke 100k. Mac’s WMWTSO came in at 102,000 units the first week.
4) Kelly Rowland—Talk A Good Game: Kelly Rowland seemed to have no qualms with going up against three big rappers with her r’n’b album Talk A Good Game, perhaps because of the widely different target audience. Kelly moved a solid amount, with 68,000 copies sold and coming at #4 on the Billboard 200.
5) Justin Timberlake—The 20/20 Experience: Although we had an influx of new-comers on the charts this week, we can’t forget our mainstays, such as Justin Timberlake. Mr. Timberlake was pushed down this week due to the June 18th releases, but, not too far, he’s still within the top 10. This week he moved 32k and sits at #9.
6) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis—The Heist: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis just won’t leave. This week the hip-hop duo rose up one spot, coming in at #15, selling another 23,088 copies of their album.
Other rappers who continue to chart this week include Lil Wayne, who sits at #42 on the Billboard 200 with IANAHB2 selling around 9k this week. Kendrick Lamar is actually above Weezy F this week, keeping the #40 spot locked, and climbing quite a few spots since last week. Comedy hip-hop duo The Lonely Island released The Wack Album the other week, which debuted at #10, but has since fallen all the way down to #46. Finally Bad Boy French Montana's Excuse My French has fallen off the top 50 of the Billboard 200 this week, coming in at #52.