Never underestimate Jay-Z.
Last week, it seemed pretty likely that the rapper-mogul would make a soft landing on the Billboard album chart with his latest release, “4:44.” In its first week out, “4:44” was streaming only on Tidal, Jay-Z’s own digital service, and the company withheld data from Nielsen, and thus from chart consideration. When “4:44” was released widely last week, it joined the race for No. 1, but without its first-week momentum, an opening at the top looked like a long shot.
Yet “4:44” — released by another of Jay-Z’s companies, Roc Nation — shot to No. 1 with ease, with 174,000 copies sold as a full album and 122 million streams in the United States, according to Nielsen. (Those streams include Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon and most other major digital outlets, with a notable exception: Spotify.) All told, “4:44” had the equivalent of 262,000 album sales in its second week, more than triple that of its closest competitor, “Issa Album” (Epic) by the rapper 21 Savage of Atlanta, whose 77,000 equivalents landed him at No. 2.
Also this week, Kendrick Lamar holds at No. 3 for a fourth week straight with “DAMN.”; DJ Khaled, whose “Grateful” was No. 1 for the last two weeks fell to No. 4; and Ed Sheeran’s “÷” holds at No. 5.
Aside from Jay-Z and 21 Savage, the only prominent debut on the chart is by the band Haim, whose “Something to Tell You” (Columbia) started at No. 7.
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