While J. Cole's Born Sinner was initially blocked from No. 1 on the Billboard 200, he celebrates his second No. 1 this week. In its third week on the chart, Born Sinner rises 2-1 with 58,000 sold (down 32%, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
The set spent its first two weeks at No. 2—first stuck behind an also-debuting Yeezus from Kanye West, and then lodged behind Wale's The Gifted a week ago. To date, Born Sinner has sold 439,000 copies, this week surpassing the cumulative sum of his original competition, Yeezus (431,000).
Albums rarely climb to No. 1, as opposed to debuting in that slot. Since the chart started using more exact Nielsen SoundScan sales data on May 25, 1991, the vast majority of No. 1 albums were chart-toppers because they debuted there. It's unusual for an album to rise to the top, as most titles have their best sales weeks during their debut frame. And many albums cannot sustain momentum after their debut—at least not enough to compete with newer albums.
Since SoundScan started powering the chart, there have been 583 albums that reached No. 1. Of those, only 13% (76 titles) did not debut at No. 1, including J. Cole's Born Sinner.
With just 58,000 sold at No. 1, this is the sixth-smallest sales week for the top-selling album in the SoundScan era—and the smallest sum at No. 1 in nearly a year. The last time a chart-topper moved fewer copies in a week was on the Aug. 4, 2012, chart, when Zac Brown Band's Uncaged sold 48,000 in its second week at No. 1. The all-time smallest sales week at No. 1 occurred on the Feb. 12, 2011, chart, when Amos Lee's Mission Bell debuted atop the list with just 40,000 sold.
Last week's No. 1, Wale's "The Gifted," falls to No. 2 with 50,000 (down 68%), while West's "Yeezus" holds at No. 3 with 39,000 (down 40%). Imagine Dragons' Night Visions jumps 8-4—its highest rank since its No. 2 debut last September. The rise comes courtesy of a 23% spike in sales, as the set sold 36,000 last week. Its current pop radio single, "Radioactive," concurrently rises 5-4 on the Pop Songs airplay chart (known as Mainstream Top 40 on Billboard.biz).
Florida Georgia Line's Here's to the Good Times rounds out the top five, as it steps 6-5 with 32,000 (up 3%). It matches its No. 5 peak, which was first established three weeks ago.
The lone debut in the top 10 this week is at No. 6, where R&B singer Joe bows with Doubleback: Evolution of R&B. It sold 31,000 copies and marks Joe's sixth top 10 set. His last set, 2011's The Good, the Bad, the Sexy, debuted and peaked at No. 8 with a 33,000 start. Meanwhile, on the R&B Albums chart, Doubleback enters at No. 1.
There are few major albums that debut high on the new chart, as the Independence Day holiday week wasn't a preferred release week for many acts. After Joe, the next-highest bow comes in at No. 16, where Relient K's Collapsible Lung starts with 16,000.
Rounding out the top 10 are Daft Punk's Random Access Memories (5-7 with 28,000; down 10%), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist (12-8 with 24,000; up 1%), Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox (13-9 with 22,000; down 2%) and Blake Shelton's Based On a True Story . . . (15-10 with nearly 22,000; down 2%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, things are pretty sleepy too. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," featuring Pharrell and T.I., holds at No. 1 again, selling 423,000 (down less than 1%).
After that, the titles at Nos. 2-7 are non-movers. Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" is No. 2 with 210,000 (up 1%), Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" is No. 3 with 198,000 (down 6%), and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" is No. 4 with 184,000 (down 6%). Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," featuring Pharrell Williams, is No. 5 with 179,000 (down 5%), Mars' "Treasure" is No. 6 with 144,000 (down 9%), and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us," featuring Ray Dalton, is No. 7 with 130,000 (down 8%).
Anna Kendrick's "Cups," from the film "Pitch Perfect," continues to rise, as it jumps 10-8 with 117,000 (up 12%). It's the best sales week yet for the song, which also moves 18-15 on the Pop Songs airplay chart.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love," featuring Mary Lambert, is pushed back one slot to No. 9—despite a gain of 4%—as it sells another 114,000.
Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" closes out the top 10, falling one rung to No. 10 with 101,000 (down 7%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 7) totaled 4.9 million units, down 2% compared with the sum last week (5 million) and down 16% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.8 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 146.9 million, down 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (156.2 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.4 million downloads, down 3% compared with last week (25.2 million) and down 6% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (25.9 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 706.6 million, down 2% compared with the same total at this point last year (723.9 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Zac Brown Band's Uncaged debuted at No. 1 with 234,000 sold, while Frank Ocean's Channel Orange arrived at No. 2 with 131,000. The previous week's No. 1, Chris Brown's Fortune, fell to No. 4 with 45,000 (down 67%).