Eminem is set to rock the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart next week, as his new album, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," is on course to earn the second-largest sales week of the year and debut at No. 1.
Released today (Nov. 5), industry sources forecast the new album to sell between 700,000 and 750,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Nov. 10. That should mark the second-biggest sales week of the year for an album, surpassed only by the debut of Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience," which opened with 968,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan
Currently, the year's second-biggest week is owned by Drake's "Nothing Was the Same," which entered at No. 1 with 658,000.
"The Marshall Mathers LP 2's" expected No. 1 arrival, and official sales number, will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 13. "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" will mark Emimem's seventh consecutive No. 1 album. Of all his releases, only one -- his "The Slim Shady LP" debut -- missed the top slot. It debuted and peaked at No. 2 in 1999.
While "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" has only been on sale less than a day, sources can project its first week based on a number of indicators. They include orders from retailers and early sales at digital retail, first-week performance of comparable albums, media exposure, radio and YouTube trends for the album's singles, and so on. Of course, a forecast is just that -- a forecast. So, Eminem's official sales figure, as compiled by SoundScan, could ultimately end up different from early estimates.
Eminem's last album, 2010's "Recovery," blasted in at No. 1 with 741,000. And his set before that, 2009's "Relapse," entered atop the list with 608,000.
Since 2008, only three hip-hop albums have sold more than 700,000 in a week: Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" in 2008 (1.01 million its first week, according to SoundScan), Eminem's "Recovery" and Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter IV" in 2011 (964,000 in its debut).
Eminem is currently tied with Kanye West and Nas for the second-most No. 1 albums among hip-hop acts (they each have six leaders). A new No. 1 would give Eminem the second-place distinction all to himself. Among all hip-hop acts, only Jay Z, with 13 No. 1s, has more. (The all-time champs, among all artists, by the way, are the Beatles, with 19 No. 1s.)