How Do Kendrick Lamar's First-Week Album Sales Stack Up Against Other Rappers?

Ramona Rosales
Kendrick Lamar photographed on Dec. 3, 2014 at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Ca.

Kendrick Lamar's sorta-surprise album To Pimp a Butterfly arrives at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week, giving the Compton rapper his first No. 1 on the chart. With 324,000 copies sold, he bested the chart peak of good kid, m.A.A.d city (which stopped at No. 2) and its first-week total (241,000 units).

Kendrick Lamar Scores First No. 1 on Billboard 200

While Lamar's total doesn't match Drake's mighty opening week for If You're Reading This It's Too Late from earlier in 2015, he comes in far ahead of a number of his hip-hop competitors (including some of the people he called out on his "Control" verse).

After taking a look at comparative first-week sales for various A-list rappers, we decided to rank them -- highest to lowest -- in terms of album sales (not including album equivalent streaming units). From Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly going back all the way to A$AP Rocky's No. 1 album Long.Live.A$AP, here they are.

Highest to Lowest: Rappers' First Week Album Sales

Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013) 792,000

Jay Z, Magna Carta... Holy Grail (2013) 527,000

Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late (2015) 495,000

J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014) 354,000

Kanye West, Yeezus (2013) 327,000

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) 324,000

Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint (2014) 198,000

Wale, The Gifted (2013) 158,000

ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron (2014) 139,000

A$AP Rocky, Long.Live.A$AP (2013) 139,000

Big Sean, Dark Sky Paradise (2015) 139,000

Jeezy, Seen It All: The Autobiography (2014) 121,000

Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood (2014) 90,000

Lecrae, Anomaly (2014) 88,000

T.I., Paperwork (2014) 80,000

Rick Ross, Hood Billionaire (2014)* 74,000

Future, Honest (2014) 53,000

*Rick Ross' first 2014 album, Mastermind, enjoyed a higher debut at 179,000 albums.


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