Nicki Minaj and D'Angelo Set For Top 10 Debuts on Billboard 200

Brian Bowen Smith
Nicki Minaj photographed on Oct. 6, 2014 at Siren Studios in Hollywood, Calif.

D’Angelo’s surprise album may sell 100,000 in first week

Nicki Minaj’s new The Pinkprint album is on course for a top five debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Industry sources suggest the album, which was released on Dec. 15 through Young Money/Cash Money Records, may sell over 150,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 21.

The top 10 of the new Billboard 200 chart will be revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 24.

Likely standing in Minaj’s way for the No. 1 slot: Taylor Swift’s sturdy-selling 1989 album and Pentatonix’s holiday effort That’s Christmas To Me.

As the Billboard 200 reflects the overall consumption of albums (including track equivalent albums [TEA] and streaming equivalent albums [SEA]), one can’t look only to pure album sales to determine the chart’s final ranking. Still, album sales make up the bulk of the chart’s units, thus providing a good indication of where an album will end up on the Billboard 200.

Minaj’s last album, 2012’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, debuted at No. 1 with 253,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen Music. It has sold 901,000 through Dec. 14. Roman Reloaded followed Minaj’s first studio effort, Pink Friday, which was released in 2010, and climbed to No. 1 the following year.

Next week’s second biggest debut will likely be D’Angelo’s surprise album release, Black Messiah. Credited to D’Angelo and The Vanguard, the set could sell around 100,000 copies in its first week. The album -- D’Angelo’s first studio effort in nearly 15 years -- arrived nearly out of thin air at 12 a.m. on Dec. 14 via digital retailers. A CD version of the album appeared in brick and mortar stores the next day. (A vinyl edition of the album will be released on Feb. 10, 2015.)

D’Angelo’s last studio album, Voodoo, was released on Jan. 25, 2000. It debuted atop the Billboard 200, selling 321,000 in its first week. It spawned the R&B singer’s biggest radio hit, “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” which reached No. 17 on the Radio Songs chart. The album later won the Grammy Award for best R&B album, while “Untitled” took home the trophy for best male R&B vocal performance. The album has sold 1.7 million to date.

After Minaj and D’Angelo, look for the Billboard 200 to welcome high new entries from 5 Seconds of Summer (LiveSOS), the soundtrack to Into the Woods and Charli XCX’s Sucker.


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