As forecasted a week ago, rapper A$AP Rocky bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his debut album, Long.Live.A$AP, selling 139,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Long.Live.A$AP is the first debut album to hit No. 1 since fellow rapper 2 Chainz's Based On a T.R.U. Story opened atop the Sept. 1, 2012, list. (However, 2 Chainz had released two earlier charting sets as part of the hip-hop duo Playaz Circle.)
A$AP Rocky's set is currently enjoying a top five hit single on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with "F**kin' Problems" (featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar). So far, the song has sold 854,000 downloads.
A$AP Rocky got his first taste of a Billboard chart barely more than a year ago, when he was the featured guest on a remix of Rihanna's song "Cockiness (Love It)." The tune spent four weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs sales chart, beginning Dec. 10, 2011. The remix has shifted 54,000 downloads -- 19% of the song's overall sales.
Long.Live.A$AP is one of only two debuts in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 this week. In the runner-up slot is the arriving Kidz Bop 23 album, launching with 81,000 -- the best sales week for an album in the Kidz Bop series since 2006.
The last Kidz Bop set to move a larger figure in a week was Kidz Bop 10, which bounded in at No. 3 on Aug. 19, 2006, with 117,000. The last four volumes in the regular Kidz Bop line (Vols. 19-22) have started with between 59,000 and 70,000.
Kidz Bop 23 features kid-friendly covers of such recent top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits Rihanna's "Diamonds," Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me" and One Direction's "Live While We're Young."
Kidz Bop 23 is the fifth No. 2 set for the long-running franchise, though a No. 1 title continues to elude the Kidz. In total, Kidz Bop 23 has logged 35 entries on the Billboard 200, with 16 of its releases reaching the top 10. The last regular Kidz Bop album, Kidz Bop 22, started at No. 2 with 64,000.
In total, the Kidz Bop series has sold 13.3 million albums in the United States. Its best-selling title is its premiere 2001 release, simply titled Kidz Bop, which has sold 959,000.
As for the rest of the top 10 this week, the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack continues to climb (despite a decline in sales), rising 5-3 with 45,000 (down 1%). Taylor Swift's Red is steady at No. 4 (41,000; down 17%), Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox rises 6-5 (39,000; down 8%), and the "Les Miserables" film soundtrack slips 3-6 (nearly 39,000; down 25%).
The Lumineers' self-titled set hits a new peak, moving up one spot to No. 7 (38,000; up 2%) while "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips' The World From the Side of the Moon returns to the top 10, moving 14-8 (25,000; up 10%). The latter album benefits from Phillips' appearance on the season premiere of "American Idol" (Jan. 16), where he opened the show with a performance of "Home."
Closing out the top 10: Mumford & Sons' Babel rises 11-9 (25,000; down 13%), and One Direction's Take Me Home remains at No. 10 (23,000; down 20%).
Last week's No. 1 album, Chris Tomlin's Burning Lights, falls to No. 22 with 16,000 (down 78%). As a significant number of the album's first-week sales were generated by pre-orders and nontraditional sales, its large second-week decline was expected. The fall from No. 1 is the biggest positional drop from the top since Michael Buble's Christmas collapsed 1-24 on the Jan. 14, 2012, chart (reflecting the post-Christmas slump -- so it was natural for the album to slide).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) remains at No. 1 for a second week. The song sold 341,000 (up 22%) -- the first time it has surpassed the 300,000 weekly sales mark. Its total sales now stand at nearly 2 million.
Debuting at No. 2 is Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" (featuring Jay-Z) with 314,000 downloads. It's easily Timberlake's best sales week ever for a download, surpassing the 250,000 debut of "SexyBack" in 2006. "Suit & Tie's" bow is a little softer than the 350,000 some label sources had forecasted. However, it's still an impressive figure -- and the largest debut for a song by a male artist since Bieber's "Boyfriend" bowed with 521,000 on the April 14, 2012, chart.
Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble." slips 2-3 (221,000; down 15%) while will.i.am & Britney Spears' "Scream & Shout" falls 3-4 (185,000; down 2%). The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" is steady at No. 5 (156,000; up 1%), and Swedish House Mafia's "Don't You Worry Child" (featuring John Martin) is also a non-mover at No. 6 (141,000; down 2%).
Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" tumbles 4-7 (135,000; down 16%), Phillips' "Home" slips 7-8 (122,000; down less than 1%), and Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat" (featuring Nicki Minaj) is stationary at No. 9 (106,000; down 11%). Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" (featuring Minaj) returns to the top 10 for the first time in six weeks, climbing 12-10 (93,000; down 6%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 20) totaled 4.97 million units, down 2% compared with the sum last week (5.09 million) and down 2% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.06 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 16.3 million, up 2% compared with the same total at this point last year (16 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 27.8 million downloads, down 4% compared with last week (28.8 million) and down less than 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (27.9 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 91.2 million, up 2% compared with the same total at this point last year (89.2 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Adele's 21 held at No. 1 for an 18th nonconsecutive week (116,000; up 22%) while seven debuts started in the top 10, led by Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic at No. 2 (68,000).