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Album Chart Preview: Kanye West’s Lead Over J. Cole Shrinks

J. Cole's "Born Sinner" is edging closer to West's "Yeezus" as the albums enter the weekend.

After three full days on sale, Kanye West’s “Yeezus” is still forecast to be No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200 chart. However, its lead over J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” has shrunk to about 50,000 copies.

Industry sources are now projecting that “Yeezus” could finish the week (which ends at the close of business on Sunday, June 23) with 330,000 to 340,000 sold. On Wednesday, insiders had pegged the album to start with 360,000 to 380,000.

As for J. Cole’s second album, “Born Sinner,” its forecast is steady: It should sell 280,000 to 300,000. On Wednesday, sources said it might do 270,000 to 290,000 — with 300,000 within reach.


Sources have continually said that there will not be a “race” for No. 1, and that “Yeezus” is a lock for No. 1. It will mark West’s sixth chart-topper.

The new Billboard 200 chart’s top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, June 26.

West’s last solo album, 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 496,000 sold in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its sales were boosted by its release during Thanksgiving week of that year — when Christmas gift shopping kicks into high gear. J. Cole’s first album, 2011’s “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” opened at No. 1 with 217,000 sold.

This week’s third-biggest release, Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies With the Sound Off,” is on track to sell about 100,000. That’s off from the 144,000 start that greeted his 2011 No. 1-debuting set “Blue Slide Park.”

If West, Cole and Miller all sell 100,000 of their respective albums this week, it will be the first time since November 2006 that we’ve had three hip-hop albums debut with 100,000 or more. That Thanksgiving week saw the release of Jay-Z’s “Kingdom Come” (680,000), Snoop Dogg’s “Tha Blue Carpet Treatment” (264,000) and 2Pac’s “Pac’s Life” (159,000).

On SoundScan’s Building chart (below), West is at No. 1, followed by J. Cole and Mac Miller, respectively at Nos. 2 and 3. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking — reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan’s tracking week as reported by six major merchants.

As for the rest of the top 10: Kelly Rowland’s new “Talk a Good Game” is No. 4, and should finish in that slot on next week’s official Billboard 200. Sources say the album might move around 60,000. Hunter Hayes’ self-titled set is No. 5, thanks to a newly released deluxe version of his album. Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” is No. 6, Black Sabbath’s “13” is No. 7 and Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” is No. 8.

Closing out the Building Chart’s top 10 is Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” and “The Voice” winner Danielle Bradbery’s iTunes-exclusive “The Complete Season 4 Collection” compilation. The latter title may not finish in the top 10 once the week is over with, however.


Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart
Rank LW
BB 200
Artist Title
1 NEW Kanye West “Yeezus”
2 NEW J. Cole “Born Sinner”
3 NEW Mac Miller “Watching Movies With the Sound Off”
4 NEW Kelly Rowland “Talk a Good Game”
5 80 Hunter Hayes “Hunter Hayes”
6 3 Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience”
7 1 Black Sabbath “13”
8 5 Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”
9 5 Florida Georgia Line “Here’s to the Good Times”
10 NEW Danielle Bradbery “The Voice: The Complete Season 4 Collection”
The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan’s tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.