Watch for J. Cole to debut atop the Billboard 200 next week with his first album "Cole World: the Sideline Story," which could move as many as 240,000 to 250,000 copies by week's end on Oct. 2, so say industry prognosticators.
If the 26-year old Roc Nation/Columbia rapper opens at No. 1, it will mark the first time a solo act's debut album has bowed at No. 1 since May 14, 2010. That's when B.o.B started in the penthouse with "The Adventures of Bobby Ray" with 84,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Cole's 200,000-plus start would be the biggest bow for any act's debut chart effort since Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday" launched with 375,000 at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 dated Dec. 11, 2010.
Meanwhile, Blink-182's new "Neighborhoods" is aiming to for No. 2 next week with around 140,000. The album is the rock trio's first studio release since its 2003 self-titled set. It debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 313,000 sold in its first week.
This week's No. 1, Tony Bennett's Columbia set "Duets II," could slip to No. 3 or 4, depending on how the week shakes out. With Cole on Columbia as well, we could see back-to-back No. 1s from the label, who may also own another title in next week's top four: Adele's "21" (on XL Recordings through Columbia).
Wilco's new "The Whole Love," Switchfoot's "Vice Verses," Mastodon's "Hunter" and Chickenfoot's "Chickenfoot III" all may see a top 10 bow next week. If Mastodon makes the top 10, it will mark the first visit to the region for the rock band. They've previously gone as high as No. 11, with 2009's "Crack the Skye."