Kendrick Lamar lands his fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart as his latest release, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, launches atop the list (dated May 28). He’s debuted at No. 1 with each of his last four albums.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers charges in with 295,500 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending May 19, according to Luminate — the largest week of the year for any album. It’s the third straight week in which that benchmark has been crushed. A week ago, Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti did the trick with its No. 1 debut of 274,000, and in the week before that, Future’s I Never Liked You bowed at No. 1 with 222,000.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers was announced on April 18 and released on May 13. It’s Lamar’s first album in just over five years. His last project was DAMN., released in April 2017. DAMN. spent four weeks atop the Billboard 200 (his longest run at No. 1), was 2017’s year-end No. 1 album on the tally and was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ 18 tracks are split evenly on the album into two parts, each with nine tracks. The first half is named Big Steppers and the second half is named Mr. Morale. The album was not preceded by any pre-release singles (though, Lamar did drop the non-album track “The Heart Part 5” on May 8, along with an eye-catching music video). Following the album’s arrival, Lamar released the official music video for “N95,” a song that is on the album.
Also in the Billboard 200’s new top 10, TOMORROW X TOGETHER notches its highest-charting album yet with the No. 4 debut of Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child, Florence + The Machine captures its fourth top 10 album with the No. 7 arrival of Dance Fever and The Black Keys land their sixth top 10 effort with the No. 8 start of Dropout Boogie.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units, compiled by Luminate. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new May 28, 2022-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on May 24. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ 295,500 equivalent album units earned, SEA units comprise 258,500 (equating to 343.02 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 18 tracks), album sales comprise 35,500 and TEA units comprise 1,500.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers claims the biggest week, by equivalent album units, for any album since Adele’s 30 debuted with 839,000 units in the week ending Nov. 25, 2021 (chart dated Dec. 4, 2021).
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers logs 2022’s largest streaming week for an R&B/hip-hop album, and the second-biggest streaming week of 2022 for any album. The year’s largest streaming week is currently owned by the debut frame of Bad Bunny’s 23-track Un Verano Sin Ti: 261,000 SEA units; equating to 356.55 million on-demand official streams of its tracks.
Notably, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers claims the year’s highest weekly equivalent album units total over Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, despite having five fewer tracks (18 vs. 23) to contribute to its SEA unit sum. (Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ overall unit total jumped past Un Verano Sin Ti thanks largely its traditional album sales.)
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ starting sales figure of 35,000 came solely from digital album sales, as the set won’t be issued on CD until May 27. That sales sum marks the largest sales week for a digital album in 2022, and the biggest for any album since Adele’s 30 bowed with 205,000 digital albums sold in its first week (chart dated Dec. 4, 2021).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti falls from the No. 1 slot in its second week (182,000 equivalent album units earned; down 34%). Future’s former No. 1 I Never Liked You slips from No. 2 to No. 3 with 89,500 units (down 23%).
TOMORROW X TOGETHER scores its second top 10 album and highest-charting effort yet on the Billboard 200, as Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child bows at No. 4. It surpasses the No. 5 debut and peak of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze, in June 2021. (In total, Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child is the sixth charting effort on the Billboard 200 for the South Korean pop quintet.)
Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child starts with 68,500 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 65,500; SEA units comprise 3,000 (equaling 4.37 million on-demand official streams of the set’s five tracks) and TEA units comprise a negligible sum.
Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child enters at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart with the third-largest sales week of any album in 2022 — 65,500 sold. Effectively all of that sum was sold through CDs while only about 500 were sold via digital download. The album was not available on any other configuration (such as vinyl LP or cassette).
Like many K-pop releases, the CD configuration of the album was issued in collectible packages (eight total, including exclusive versions for Target and Barnes & Noble), each with a standard set of internal paper items and randomized elements (such as photocards and post cards).
Morgan Wallen’s chart-topping Dangerous: The Double Album is pushed down one spot to No. 5 despite a 5% gain (55,500 equivalent album units earned). Jack Harlow’s Come Home the Kids Miss You falls three rungs to No. 6 in its second week with 55,000 units (down 51%).
Florence + The Machine collects its fourth top 10 album on the Billboard 200 as Dance Fever debuts at No. 7 with 54,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 42,500, SEA units comprise 11,000 (equaling 14.5 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 14 tracks) and TEA units comprise 500 units.
Dance Fever was ushered in by single “My Love,” which spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart (the group’s sixth No. 1) and climbed into the top 10 on the Alternative Airplay tally on the most recently published chart (dated May 21). On the latter chart, “My Love” is the act’s fourth top 10 and first since 2015’s “Ship to Wreck.”
The Black Keys round out the week quartet of debuts in the Billboard 200’s top 10, as Dropout Boogie bows at No. 8. The set starts with 33,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 27,500; SEA units comprise 5,000 (equaling 6.5 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 10 tracks) and TEA units comprise 500 units. In total, Dropout Boogie is the duo’s sixth top 10 album on the Billboard 200 and comes only a year after its last release, Delta Kream, which debuted and peaked at No. 6 on the May 29, 2021-dated chart.
Closing out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 are two former No. 1s: Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour falls 5-9 with 32,000 equivalent album units earned (though up less than 1%) and Lil Durk’s 7220 slips 7-10 with 29,000 units (down 7%).
Luminate, the independent data provider to the Billboard charts, completes an exhaustive and thorough review of all data submissions used in compiling the weekly chart rankings. Luminate reviews and authenticates data, removing any suspicious or unverifiable activity using established criteria before final chart calculations are made and published. In partnership with Billboard, data deemed suspicious and unverifiable is disqualified prior to the final calculation.