Rapper Wale claims his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 this week, as his new release The Gifted debuts in the top position. The set sold 158,000 copies in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's Wale's second top 10 album, following his last release, 2011's "Ambition." It debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 164,000 sold, but was blocked by another debuting album that week: Justin Bieber's "Under the Mistletoe" (with a 210,000 bow).
Last week's No. 1, Kanye West's Yeezus, falls by 80% to No. 3—the largest second-week percentage drop for a No. 1-debuting album in more than a year. It sold 65,000 in its sophomore frame. A week ago it bowed with 327,000.
Last week's other big debut, J. Cole's Born Sinner, holds its position at No. 2, selling 84,000 with a more moderate 72% decline.
Rock band Skillet arrives at No. 4 with its eighth studio album, Rise, selling 60,000. It also launches at No. 1 on the Rock Albums and Christian Albums charts. It's the group's first No. 1 on the Rock tally and second leader on the Christian chart.
Rise follows the lengthy chart success of the act's last studio effort, 2009's Awake. It debuted and peaked at a career-high No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (debuting with 68,000) and ruled for 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart. Further, it spent 136 weeks on the Billboard 200 and has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States.
Two more new albums arrive in the top 10 this week: R&B singer/songwriter India.Arie enters at No. 7 with SongVersation (31,000) and another rock act, August Burns Red, bows at No. 9 with Rescue & Restore (26,000).
This marks India.Arie's fifth top 10 album on the Billboard 200 in as many tries. Her last release, 2009's Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, bowed at No. 3 with 75,000. She's topped the tally once previously, with 2006's Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship.
On Top R&B Albums this week, SongVersation bows at No. 1.
For August Burns Red, the band achieves its first top 10 album on the Billboard 200 with its latest release. Its previous high came when its last studio set, 2011's Leveler, debuted and peaked at No. 11 off a 29,000 start.
Daft Punk's Random Access Memories rises 6-5 with 31,000 (down 23%) and Florida Georgia Line's Here's to the Good Times climbs 8-6 with almost 31,000 (down 7%). (The sales figures for Nos. 5-7 are rounded to the nearest 1,000, which is 31,000 for each. The titles are separated by only a few hundred copies, and all sold between 30,500 and 31,000.)
Imagine Dragons' Night Visions ascends 10-8 with 29,000 (up 13%), and Black Sabbath's 13 dips 5-10 with 25,000 (down 44%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell, is steady at No. 1, moving 423,000 downloads (down less than 1%).
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" doesn't seem to be stopping, as the song grows by 30% in sales, jumping from No. 6 to No. 2 with 209,000.
Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" falls 2-3 with 204,000 (down 16%), Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" drops 3-4 with 194,000 (down 16%), and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," featuring Pharrell Williams, moves 4-5 with 189,000 (down 8%).
Bruno Mars' "Treasure" steps backwards 5-6 with 158,000 (down 15%) while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us" is steady at No. 7 with 142,000 (up 6%). The duo's "Same Love" (featuring Mary Lambert) rallies 23-8 with 111,000 (up 33%) and its seventh consecutive weekly sales gain. The song also climbs 24-22 on the Pop Songs airplay chart (known as Mainstream Top 40 on Billboard.biz).
Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" rises one notch to No. 9 with 109,000 (though it's down by 4%).
Closing out the top 10 is a new arrival—at least to the top 10: Anna Kendrick's "Cups," which motors 21-10 with 105,000 (up 19%), its best sales week yet. The song, from the movie "Pitch Perfect" (in which Kendrick stars), is also gaining at radio, as it rises 19-18 on Pop Songs airplay this week.
The sales rise is also owed to the movie's premium cable premiere on June 22 on HBO. Six days later, the film's official Facebook page encouraged its fans to purchase "Cups" in the hopes of sending it into the top 10 in the iTunes Store.
This week, the soundtrack to the movie also vaults 38-20 on the Billboard 200 with the chart's largest percentage gain, rising by 67% to sell 16,000 copies. Its cumulative sales now stand at 753,000.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending June 30) totaled 5 million units, down 10% compared with the sum last week (5.5 million) and down 13% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 142 million, down 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (150.5 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 25.2 million downloads, down 5% compared with last week (26.5 million) and down less than 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (25.3 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 26.5 million, down 2% compared with the same total at this point last year (698 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Chris Brown's Fortune flew in at No. 1, debuting with 135,000 sold. Behind him at No. 2 was a surging Katy Perry, whose album Teenage Dream jumped 21-2 with 80,000 sold (up 417%) after Amazon MP3 discounted it to 99 cents (for one day only).