Chart Beat

Mary J. Blige's 'Strength of a Woman' Tops R&B Albums Chart

Mary J. Blige photographed at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21, 2017 in Park City, Utah.
Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Mary J. Blige photographed at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21, 2017 in Park City, Utah. 

Plus: Wale’s "Shine" debuts & the latest "Epic AF" compilation arrives.

Mary J. Blige crowns the R&B Albums chart as her latest release, Strength of a Woman, arrives on the May 20-dated tally with 78,000 equivalent album unites earned in the tracking week ending May 4, according to Nielsen Music. The set simultaneously becomes her 20th career entry on both the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart (bowing at No. 2) and the Billboard 200 (No. 3). Blige’s Billboard 200 entrance marks her highest-charting effort since 2010, when Stronger With Each Tear debuted at No. 2.

The R&B Albums chart ranks the most popular R&B albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). It is one of Billboard’s numerous genre-specific album charts that rank the popularity of albums by equivalent album units.

Meanwhile, Blige’s latest single “U + Me (Love Lesson)” spends a third consecutive week atop the Adult R&B Songs airplay chart (up 5 percent in spins in the week ending May 7). The song became Blige’s sixth chart-topper at the format when it reached the summit on the May 6 chart issue. The single concurrently hops 25-19 on the Hot R&B Songs chart in its second frame.

Elsewhere on Adult R&B Songs, Strength’s opening track “Love Yourself,” featuring Kanye West, has a slight dip, stepping 20-21 in its fifth week (down 7 percent in plays).

Earlier this year, Blige scored her longest-running No. 1 on Adult R&B Songs as the new album’s lead single “Thick of It” wrapped up a 16-week run atop the chart -- surpassing her previous best with “Be Without You,” which spent 14 weeks at No. 1 in 2006. “Thick of It” is among only nine tracks to spend 16 weeks or more on the list. (The longest run at No. 1 on the 24-year-old chart is tied between Maxwell’s “Fortunate” and Jill Scott’s “So In Love,” featuring Anthony Hamilton, each with 18 weeks at No. 1.)

Wale Shines: Wale arrives at No. 8 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums as his latest release, Shine, bows with 28,000 album equivalent units. The entry logs the rapper his fifth top 10 debut on the chart since 2009 when his debut album Attention Deficit bowed at No. 3. The latest album follows the rapper’s previous studio set, The Album About Nothing, which landed at No. 1 on the April 18, 2015, chart.

Over on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart, new single “Fashion Week,” featuring G-Eazy, lifts to a new peak, rising 29-26 in its sixth chart frame (up 11 percent in spins).

Shine boasts a star-studded lineup of featured guests, including Travis Scott, J Balvin, Major Lazer and Lil Wayne, among others. 

‘Epic AF’ Arrives: Epic Records’ latest compilation, Epic AF, debuts at No. 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with 48,000 units, fueled mostly by 29,000 streaming equivalent album units (SEA) and nearly 20,000 digital album equivalent units (TEA).

The debut is powered by TEA and SEA from hit songs on the 11-track album, including DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One,” featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne, which also earns a No. 1 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.