Drake and Future's Surprise Album Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart
Drake and Future’s surprise album What a Time to Be Alive charges in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving Drake his second chart-topper of 2015. The set earned 375,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 24, according to Nielsen Music — of that sum, 334,000 were pure album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Oct. 10-dated chart (where Drake and Future are No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
What a Time to Be Alive was released Sunday, Sept. 20 (through A-1/Freebandz/Young Money/Cash Money/Epic/Republic Records), and was initially exclusively available through Apple Music and the iTunes Store. The set was only announced one day earlier, and its release came on an off-cycle Sunday (as most albums are now released on a Friday each week, the first day of the Billboard 200's tracking week).
Let’s take a look at some of the statistics that accompany Drake and Future’s debut:
Third-Largest Week for an Album in 2015, by Units: The only larger weeks were racked by the debuts of The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness (412,000) and Drake’s other surprise album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (535,000).
Second Largest Sales Week for an Album in 2015: What a Time to Be Alive sold 334,000 in pure album sales, making it the second-biggest sales week this year. The only larger week was racked by Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (495,000).
Drake and Future Are the First Hip-Hop Acts Since 2004 to Score Two No. 1 Albums in a Calendar Year: With the arrival of What a Time to Be Alive, both Drake and Future tally their second leaders on the Billboard 200 in 2015.
Drake debuted at No. 1 earlier in 2015 with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Future scored his first No. 1 nearly two months ago with DS2.
The last hip-hop act to earn multiple No. 1s within a calendar year was Jay Z back in 2004. He reached the top that year with Unfinished Business (with R. Kelly) and MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course (with Linkin Park). The last act, regardless of genre, to notch more than one No. 1 album in a calendar year was Justin Timberlake, who saw both volumes of his The 20/20 Experience debut at No. 1 in 2013.
Drake and Future are also the first hip-hop acts to collect multiple No. 1 albums within a 12-month span of time since 2011, when Lil Wayne managed the feat with Tha Carter IV and I Am Not a Human Being.
Drake and Future are members of an elite group of acts to have more than one No. 1 album in a 12-month frame. They are the first to do so since One Direction in late 2014, when Four’s chart-topping arrival came less than a year after Midnight Memories bowed at No. 1.
What a Time… is Drake’s Fifth No. 1 Album: Drake has collected five straight No. 1s on the Billboard 200, all of which debuted at No. 1. It follows If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Nothing Was the Same (in 2013), Take Care (2011) and Thank Me Later (2010).
Future’s Second No. 1 in Less Than Two Months: Less than two months after Future earned his first No. 1, with DS2, he’s back on top with What a Time to Be Alive.