Data from Nielsen SoundScan confirmed that Magna Carta, the rapper’s 12th studio album, is the No. 1 album in the country, selling 527,000 (non-Samsung) copies in its first week.
The numbers place Hova as having the second-largest opening week of the year, bested only by Justin Timberlake, whose The 20/20 Experience opened with 968,000 copies sold.
The sales total also confirms that despite there being arguably more hype surrounding the release of Kanye West‘s Yeezus, Jay is really the king of the charts. Yeezus managed sales of 327,000 in its first week, no doubt hindered by a hit in prestige due to a pre-release leak.
Then again, it’s not like Jay-Z was free of hindrances, either. The million free downloads for Samsung users would have impacted the final sales numbers, as may have a Spotify stream the day before the album’s official release.
Regardless, Magna Carta‘s sales mean it is the best-selling rap record of the year in terms of its first-week numbers, taking the spot formerly occupied by Yeezus.
Timberlake continues to have a good year, too. In addition to his own monster hit, The 20/20 Experience, he’s featured on Jay-Z’s new album on the kinda title track, “Holy Grail.”
For four straight weeks and with four different albums, hip-hop has earned the top spot on the album charts. Yeezus started the trend, with Wale’s The Gifted, J. Cole’s Born Sinner and now Magna Carta following in its footsteps.
Magna Carta‘s ascent to No. 1 means Jay-Z now has 13 Billboard 200-topping albums, dating back to 1998′s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life and including collaborative albums with Kanye, R. Kelly and Linkin Park. That, according to Billboard, is a record among solo artists, and is second only to the Beatles’ 19.
Ciara takes the No. 2 spot this week, with the gap between the two top spots being significant. Her self-titled album sold 58,000 copies, almost 4,700 copies less than Jay-Z. But that’s still an improvement over her last album, 2010′s Basic Instinct, which managed only 37,000 in its first week.
The only other top 10 debut of the week belongs to Skylar Grey, who is best known for co-writing a flurry of hit songs (Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” among them) and performing on Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” and Diddy-Dirty Money’s “Coming Home.” She debuts at No. 8, selling 24,000 copies of Don’t Look Down.
J. Cole topped last week with Born Sinner but slips to No. 3 this week, moving 39,000. Imagine Dragons follows a couple thousand behind, with Night Visions selling 32,000 for the No. 4 spot. Country’s top-selling album continues to be Florida Georgia Line‘s Here’s to the Good Times, which bows at No. 5 with 31,000 copies moved.
Yeezus and The Gifted sit at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories hangs inside the top 10 a little longer with the No. 9 spot, while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis round out the top 10 with 22,000 sold of The Heist.
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com