Chart Beat

The Weeknd's 'Highlights' Debuts at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart

The weeknd abel tesfaye
Micaiah Carter

The Weeknd photographed on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles.

Fresh off a Super Bowl LV halftime show performance on Feb. 7 stacked with his biggest hits, The Weeknd fashions that career-spanning retrospective into a No. 1 album on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, as The Highlights opens at the summit of the chart dated Feb. 20.

With The Highlights, The Weeknd scores his seventh No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Let’s recap the lucky seven leaders:

Album Title, Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1
Trilogy, one, Dec. 1, 2012
Kiss Land, one, Sept. 28, 2013
Beauty Behind the Madness, eight, Sept. 19, 2015
Starboy, two, Dec. 17, 2016
My Dear Melancholy (EP), one, April 14, 2018
After Hours, four, April 4, 2020
The Highlights, one (to date), Feb. 20, 2021

His only charting album to miss the top slot was House of Balloons, which peaked at No. 27 in 2015.

As The Highlights arrives, it also gives The Weeknd a seventh champ in the last decade (2011-2021), the third-most in that span, behind Future (12) and Drake (10) and the highest tally by an act who primarily sings.

The Highlights also ends an extensive drought for greatest-hits compilations at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The last such set was The Notorious B.I.G.’s Greatest Hits in 2007, which led for one week that year. (Between the two, Michael Jackson’s This Is It reigned for four weeks in 2009-10, though the LP was a soundtrack to the titular film that contained a selection of Jackson hits from his solo career.)

In addition to that start, The Highlights also kicks off at No. 1 on the Top R&B Albums chart and at No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard 200.

The Highlights, an 18-track compilation that spans releases from 2011-2020, arrives with 89,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 11, according to MRC Data. Of the starting sum, 10,000 units are directly from traditional album sales, while 9,000 derive from track-equivalent album units (with 10 individual tracks equals one album unit) and the remaining 70,000 come from streaming-equivalent albums (with 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams equal to one album unit). The streaming sum also translates into 101.9 million on-demand streams of the project’s songs.

Notably, all track-equivalent and streaming-equivalent units for songs on The Highlights was redirected from their original studio albums to the greatest-hits set this week, per Billboard rules that the artist’s top-selling album absorb the equivalent activity. Thus, for example, The Weeknd’s album After Hours, in losing activity from the title track, “Heartless” and especially the major hit “Blinding Lights,” drops 3-20.