Complete awesomeness at all times is what Kanye West promised in the lead-up to his Yeezus, and with that dedication, the self-proclaimed Michael Jordan (and Steve Jobs ... and Walt Disney) of rap will debut at the top of next week's Billboard albums chart for the fifth time in his solo career.
West's highly experimental hip-hop album managed to move over 325,000 copies without a traditional album rollout. There was no single for radio, no video for MTV or YouTube and a limited press run — yet, Yeezy was still able to snag the #1 spot in a week that saw a number of high-profile releases.
J. Cole moved the release of his sophomore LP, Born Sinner, up one week — from June 25 to June 18 — to meet West at retail and work himself into the conversation. It was a risky move for the Roc Nation MC, but the gamble paid off and earned him the runner-up position. Cole's Born Sinner sold 296,000 copies, a jump from the first-week sales of his previous album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, which sold 217,000 in its first week when it dropped back in 2011.
"Grateful for the everyone that bought the album. Thank you. 3hunna," J. Cole wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night, when the final projections all but guaranteed him a successful sales week.
Mac Miller also made a sizeable dent in the charts with his sophomore indie release, Watching Movies With the Sound Off, which notched 101,000 sales. Mac's 2011 debut, Blue Slide Park, debuted at #1 in 2011 and became the first independent album in more than 16 years to do so. But this time out, Miller wasn't focused on sales: He predicted Kanye would reign supreme.
"Outselling the competition? Nah, I do not care at all," Mac told host Sway Calloway on the June 12 "RapFix Live". "It's Kanye. If some crazy thing happens, then maybe, but it's Kanye West. He should have the best first week, but the first week isn't really what matters."
The chart wasn't all hip-hop: Kelly Rowland came in fourth place with her Talk a Good Game LP, while Hunter Hayes nabbed the seventh spot, selling almost 40,000 copies of a re-release of his self-titled 2011 debut.