NF Scores First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With 'Perception'

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Nathan Feuerstein aka NF performs during the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience at City Park on October 28, 2016 in New Orleans.

Plus: Lil Pump & Marilyn Manson debut in top 10; Kane Brown bolts 56-5.

Rapper NF notches his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart -- and first top 10 -- as his third full-length studio album, Perception, debuts atop the list. The set was released on Oct. 6 through NF Real Music/Capitol/Caroline and starts with 55,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Oct. 12, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 38,000 were in traditional album sales -- NF’s best sales week yet.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Oct. 28-dated chart (where Perception debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Twenty-six-year-old NF (real name Nate Feuerstein) tops the list following initial industry forecasts suggesting he was vying for No. 1 with an estimated start of 50,000 alongside Tom Petty and The HeartbreakersGreatest Hits and Lil Pump’s debut self-titled album. NF comes out on top by a sizable gap ahead of Petty at No. 2 (55,000 vs. 47,000) thanks to better-than-expected sales for Perception, aided in part by direct-to-consumer offers via NF’s official website.

Still, Perception’s launch is the smallest for a No. 1-debuting album in 2017 and the fifth-smallest unit total for a No. 1 album overall since the chart began ranking titles by consumption units in late 2014. (More on that in just a moment…)

NF made his Billboard album chart debut in 2014 with his self-titled EP, charting on multiple tallies including Rap Albums (No. 15) but not the Billboard 200. He arrived on the big chart with his 2015 release Mansion (reaching No. 62). He followed it up with 2016’s No. 12-peaking Therapy Session, which started with 29,000 units in its first week (25,000 were in album sales). The album has sold 122,000 copies, while Mansion has sold 136,000 and his self-titled EP has sold 33,000. In total, NF’s catalog of music has generated more than a 500 million on-demand streams in the U.S. (audio and video streams combined).

NF is also just the second act in 2017 to reach No. 1 without ever charting a song on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, following alternative rock band Brand New. The latter saw its Science Fiction launch atop the Billboard 200 dated Sept. 9 with 58,000 units.

It’s probably then not surprising that, given the limited mainstream exposure of both acts (as evidenced by their lack of Hot 100 hits), both Perception and Science Fiction bowed with the two smallest openings -- by units earned -- for a No. 1-debuting album in 2017. Both acts were able to debut at No. 1 -- despite their small unit starts -- thanks to dedicated fan bases and little competition in the marketplace during their respective release weeks.

NF’s Perception opens at No. 1 following four straight frames where the top slot hosted a new album that bowed with more than 100,000 units earned (Perception was preceded by Shania Twain’s Now, The KillersWonderful Wonderful, Foo FightersConcrete and Gold and Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes, respectively). Many big albums were issued in September in order to qualify for the upcoming Grammy Awards, as Sept. 30 was the deadline for new releases to be considered for the 2017 eligibility year.

NF is also the 13th act to notch their first No. 1 album in 2017, following The Killers, Thomas Rhett, LCD Soundsystem, Lil Uzi Vert (with his first studio album), Brand New, Lorde, Halsey, Bryson Tiller, Harry Styles (with his debut effort), Logic, The Chainsmokers and Migos. (In all of 2016, there were 11 acts that scored their first No. 1.)

As noted above, Petty and The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits holds at No. 2 for a second week, earning 47,000 units (down 44 percent) and selling 29,000 in traditional album sales (down 45 percent). The album re-entered the chart a week ago, at its new peak, following the death of Petty on Oct. 2.

Rapper Lil Pump premieres at No. 3 with his self-titled debut effort, earning 46,000 units (just 6,000 in traditional album sales). The effort was powered largely by streams, as the title earned 38,000 SEA units (equating to 56.8 million on demand audio streams of the album’s tracks). A further 2,000 were generated by TEA units. To put Lil Pump’s streaming figure in perspective, the album would have still debuted in the top 10 without any traditional album sales or TEA units. Lil Pump’s album was led by the hit single “Gucci Gang,” which currently ranks at No. 12 on the Hot Rap Songs chart (dated Oct. 21).

Post Malone’s Stoney hits a new chart high -- and the top five for the first time -- after 44 weeks on the list, as the album rises 6-4 with 45,000 units (up 7 percent). The set debuted and initially peaked at No. 6 on Dec. 31, 2016-dated chart and has never left the top 25. The album’s top five ascent comes concurrent with the success non-album cut “Rockstar,” featuring 21 Savage, as well as the surprise viral hit of the Stoney track “I Fall Apart.”

Kane Brown’s self-titled album also hits a new peak on the new Billboard 200, 45 weeks after its debut, following its deluxe reissue on Oct. 6. The set zooms 56-5 with 43,000 units (up 332 percent) and 26,000 in traditional album sales (up 1,163 percent). The LP -- which initially debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the Dec. 24, 2016-dated list with 51,000 units -- was reissued on Oct. 6 with a handful of bonus tracks. On the Oct. 21-dated Hot Country Songs chart, the its “What Ifs,” featuring Lauren Alaina, become brown’s first No. 1. (The song was on the original version of the album.)

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s The Bigger Artist slips 4-6 in its second week on the chart (39,000 units; down 42 percent), while Lil Uzi Vert’s former No. 1, Luv Is Rage 2, holds steady at No. 7 (37,000 units; down 9 percent).

Marilyn Manson debuts at No. 8 with Heaven Upside Down (35,000 units; 32,000 in traditional album sales), granting the rock act his ninth top 10 effort (and seventh in a row). Manson has been on a top 10 roll since 2003, when The Golden Age of Grotesque bowed at No. 1 (the act’s second leader, following 1998’s Mechanical Animals). Following Golden, he hit the top 10 successively with Lest We Forget: The Best Of (No. 9 in 2004), Eat Me, Drink Me (No. 8, 2007), The High End of Low (No. 4, 2009), Born Villain (No. 10, 2012), The Pale Emperor (No. 8, 2015) and now Heaven Upside Down. Before Mechanical Animals, Manson notched one more top 10 with Antichrist Superstar (No. 3 in 1996).

Rounding out the top 10, Imagine DragonsEvolve descends one rung to No. 9 with 34,000 units (down 11 percent) and Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) is stationary at No. 10 with 32,000 units (up 3 percent).