Week Ending July 14, 2013. Albums: Jay-Z Back On The Throne
Jay-Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail sold a better-than-expected 528K copies in its first week. Only one album has gotten off to a faster start this year—Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which sold 968K in its first week in March (boosted immeasurably by “Suit & Tie,” a stylish collabo with Jay-Z).
The first-week tally for Magna Carta is substantially more than Yeezus, by Jay-Z’s pal and sometime collaborator Kanye West, has sold in its first four weeks combined (459K). It’s Jay-Z’s biggest opening tally since Kingdom Come sold 680K in its first week in November 2006. It’s the best sales week for a rap album since Drake’s Take Care sold 631K copies in its first week in November 2011.
Magna Carta becomes Jay-Z’s 13th #1 album on The Billboard 200, which puts Jay-Z second only to the Beatles as the act with the most #1 albums in chart history. The Fab Four has had 19 #1 albums. But the competition is closer than that stat makes it look. Jay-Z is just one #1 album behind the number of chart-topping albums the Beatles had while they were a current recording act (through 1970). (The Beatles’ last five #1 albums were compilations released long after their breakup.)
By remarkable coincidence, Jay-Z was born Dec. 4, 1969, when the Beatles’ 13th #1 album, Abbey Road, was sitting at #1.
Jay-Z has had more #1 albums than any other American artist in chart history; more than any other African-American artist; and more than any other hip-hop artist. Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen are in second place among American artists, with 10 #1 albums each.
Magna Carta is Jay-Z’s fourth album to start with sales of 500K or more. It’s his 10th album (and his fifth studio album in a row) to start with sales north of 400K. You read a lot about declining album sales and how it’s not possible to expect albums to sell like they used to, but Jay-Z defies the trends.