It will be a 1-2-3 finish for hip-hop on next week's Billboard 200 chart, thanks to a strong first frame for Maybach Music Group's Wale. The rapper will score his first #1 debut with The Gifted, which moved 158,000 copies, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
Just below, last week's top earners will do a flip-flop, as J. Cole's Born Sinner will hang at #2 on sales of 84,000 (down 72 percent), while Kanye West's hyped Yeezus slips to #3 as sales fell off by 80 percent to just under 65,000. According to Billboard, that represents the fourth largest drop for a #1-debuting album in the SoundScan era, behind other 80-plus percent dippers from Madonna, Lady Gaga and Mac Miller.
When MTV News caught up with Cole at the BET Awards last weekend he was psyched about the strong sales for his sophomore album. "That's the people speaking. I'm happy, I'm grateful, dawg; I'm blessed," he said of the 297,000-unit debut last week. "The second-week numbers are fantastic too."
Elsewhere in the top 10, Christian rockers Skillet hit #4 with Rise (60,000), India.Arie was in at #7 with Songversation (31,000) and another worship rock band, August Burns Red, snuck in at #9 with Rescue & Restore (26,000). The second week was tough for Mac Miller, whose Watching Movies with the Sound Off tumbled 78 percent and 11 spots to #14 on sales of 23,000. (Mac had a better week on the iTunes album chart, where he hung in at #7.)
Next week's charts are a mystery, as both Billboard and SoundScan have vowed not to count the one million pre-purchased Samsung-sponsored downloads of Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail that will be unlocked at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. The album will not be available to the general public until Tuesday, meaning it won't chart until the following week.
Over on the Billboard Digital Songs chart, Robin Thicke's unstoppable "Blurred Lines" continued to dominate, selling another 423,000 downloads, while Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" bumped up 30 percent to jump four spots to #2 (209,000).
There was some light reshuffling in the rest of the top 10, with Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (which, like "Lines," also features this summer's hottest go-to hook man, Pharrell Williams ) moving down one to #5 (189,000), while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us" held on at #7 (142,000) and their gay rights anthem "Same Love" shot up 33 percent and 15 spots to #8 (11,000) in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gay marriage.
The tally was rounded out by a new face, actress Anna Kendrick's "Cups," which shot up 11 to #10 for its best sales week ever (105,000) thanks to the June 22 HBO debut of "Pitch Perfect."