For the first time in chart history, hip-hop albums make a clean sweep of the top five spots on the Billboard 200 this week.
Jay-Z‘s 4:44 is No. 1 for the second straight week; Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. inches up from No. 3 to No. 2 in its 14th week; French Montana’s Jungle Rules debuts at No. 3; DJ Khaled‘s Grateful holds at No. 4 in its fourth week; and 21 Savage‘s Issa Album drops from its No. 2 peak to No. 5 in its second week.
Before this week, hip-hop albums occupied the top four positions on three occasions. Jay-Z was also on top the first time it happened, the week of Oct. 17, 1998. That was the week he landed his first No. 1 album, Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life. The rest of the top four were Outkast’s Aquemini, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement, and Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Hip-hop albums next occupied the top four positions the week of April 18, 2015. The top four were Wale’s The Album About Nothing, the Furious 7 soundtrack, Ludacris’s Ludaversal, and Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
It happened for a third time last week.
Why is this happening more often than it used to? A change in methodology for the Billboard 200 in December 2014 boosted the fortunes of hip-hop albums. Before that date, the chart was based strictly on traditional album sales. With the changeover, streaming and digital track sales are also factored in. Billboard and Nielsen still compile an Album Sales chart, but it doesn’t get one-10th of the attention of the Billboard 200. (On the Album Sales chart this week, there are just three hip-hop albums in the top five — 4:44, DAMN., and Jungle Rules.)
Here are some individual notes on this week’s top three albums.
4:44 is Jay-Z’s fourth consecutive studio album to spend two weeks at No. 1. The streak began with 2009’s The Blueprint 3 and continued with 2011’s Watch the Throne (a collabo with Kanye West) and 2013’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail. In all, seven of Jay’s 14 albums have spent multiple weeks on top.
DAMN. has spent its entire 14-week run inside the top three positions.
Jungle Rules is French Montana’s second top five album in a row. His 2013 debut, Excuse My French, reached No. 4. The lead single, “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee), leaps into the top five on this week’s Hot 100.
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber) logs its 11th week at No. 1. That’s the longest run at No. 1 since Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” reigned for 12 weeks earlier this year.
“Despacito” sold 118K digital copies this week, which puts it on top of Top Digital Songs for the 12th week. That’s the longest run at No. 1 on that chart since the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) had 13 weeks on top in late 2016. If “Despacito” stays on top for two more weeks, it will establish a new record for the longest run at No. 1 on Top Digital Songs.
DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) holds at No. 2 in its fifth week. The song includes a prominent sample from Santana’s “Maria, Maria” (featuring the Product G&B). Thus, this week’s No. 1 hit is by a pair of artists from Puerto Rico and the No. 2 hit samples a smash hit by a group that is led by a musician (Carlos Santana) who was born in Mexico.
“Wild Thoughts” moves up to No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. It’s Rihanna’s ninth No. 1 hit in the U.K., which isn’t far behind the 14 No. 1 hits she has amassed in the U.S. It’s DJ Khaled’s second No. 1 in the U.K.; Tiller’s first.
Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” rebounds from No. 4 to No. 3 in its 27th week. The song hit No. 1.
DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (which also features Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne) dips from No. 3 to No. 4 in its 12th week. The song hit No. 1.
French Montana lands his first top five hit as “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee) vaults from No. 9 to No. 5 in its 15th week. This is also Lee’s first top five hit as a soloist. He is one-half of Rae Sremmurd, which topped the chart for seven weeks with “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane).
Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” dips from No. 5 to No. 6 in its 28th week. The song logged 12 weeks at No. 1.
Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” holds at No. 7 in its 24th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6. “Believer” tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. The band’s two biggest hits are both multi-million sellers. “Radioactive” has sold 8,202,000 copies. “Demons” has sold 4,567,000.
Shawn Mendes’s “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” holds at No. 8 in its 13th week.
Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road” rebounds from No. 10 to No. 9 in its 25th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6. “Body Like a Back Road” tops Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart for the 24th week. That puts it in a tie with Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” for the longest run at No. 1 in the chart’s 73-year history. “Cruise” spent 24 weeks on top in 2012-13.
The two songs took different routes to making history. “Body Like a Back Road” took the express route. It has been No. 1 for 24 consecutive weeks. “Cruise” took the scenic route. It spent 24 weeks at No. 1 over a 36-week span. Its run at No. 1 was interrupted by six hits: Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” the Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” Gary Allan’s “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain),” Hunter Hayes’s “Wanted,” Blake Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” and Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel.”
Charlie Puth lands his third top 10 hit — and his first entirely on his own — as “Attention” jumps from No. 13 to No. 10 in its 13th week. Puth previously cracked the top 10 with Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” (on which he was featured) and his own “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” which featured Selena Gomez.
Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” drops out of the top 10 this week.
Two top female pop stars — and Disney Channel alumni –each land their 12th top 40 hits this week. Demi Lovato scores with “Sorry Not Sorry,” which leaps from No. 52 to No. 23 in its second week. Selena Gomez scores with “Fetish” (featuring Gucci Mane), which vaults from No. 92 to No. 27 in its second week. (Gomez’s tally doesn’t include five top 40 hits in which she fronted Selena Gomez & the Scene. I’m also not counting a multi-artist 2009 single on which both singers appeared, “Send It On” by Disney’s Friends for Change.)
Four Linkin Park albums return to the chart in the wake of frontman Chester Bennington’s tragic suicide last week. The band’s current album, One More Light, re-enters the chart at No. 17. The album opened at No. 1 eight weeks ago, but dropped off the chart last week. The band’s 2000 debut album, Hybrid Theory, re-enters at No. 27. The album peaked at No. 2 in January 2002. Hybrid Theory has sold 10,489,000 copies in the U.S. in traditional album sales.
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ dips from No. 5 to No. 6 in its 20th week. It spent its first two weeks at No. 1.
Imagine Dragons’ Evolve dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its fourth week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2.
The Moana soundtrack inches up from No. 9 to No. 8 in its 35th week. The album peaked at No. 2. Moana logs its 15th week at No. 1 on Top Soundtracks. That’s the longest run by any soundtrack since Frozen logged 44 weeks on top in 2013-14. Both albums, of course, are from animated Disney movies.
Khalid’s American Teen rebounds from No. 13 to No. 9 in its 20th week. This equals the album’s highest ranking to date.
Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic rebounds from No. 11 to No. 10 in its 35th week. This is its 34th week in the top 10. The album tops the 1 million mark in traditional album sales this week. It still has a ways to go to match Mars’s two previous studio albums. His debut, Doo-Wops and Hooligans, has sold 2,626,000 copies since its release in October 2010. His sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox, has sold 2,574,000 copies since its release in December 2012. All these figures are traditional album sales in the U.S.
Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. HAIM’s Something to Tell You plunges from No. 7 to No. 69. Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 drops from No. 8 to No. 12. Drake’s More Life dips from No. 10 to No. 11.
Coldplay’s Kaleidoscope debuts at No. 15. It’s the group’s second EP to crack the top 20. Prospekt’s March reached No. 15 in 2008.
Chris Stapleton’s From a Room: Volume 1 rebounds from No. 30 to No. 23 in its 11th week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2. The album logs its seventh week at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.
Radiohead’s OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997 2017 dips from No. 23 to No. 24 in its third week. It’s No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the second week.
Coming attractions: Look for Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life and Meek Mill’s Wins & Losses to battle for No. 1 next week.