As expected, Jay Z’s latest opus “Magna Carta Holy Grail” debuts at the summit of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Unexpectedly, the set beat industry sales projections, as it arrives with 528,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Industry sources had forecast the set to sell 475,000-500,000.
The impressive figure marks Jay’s fourth best sales week ever behind the debut numbers of “The Dynasty Roc La Familia” (558,000 in 2000), “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse” (545,000 in 2002) and his comeback album after retirement, “Kingdom Come” (680,000, 2006). “Magna Carta” is his 13th No. 1 on the list.
Jay Z continues to lead as the solo artist with the most No. 1s in the history of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Overall, he’s second only to the Temptations, who racked up 17 chart-toppers between 1965 and 1975.
Ciara enters at the No. 2 spot with her self-titled fifth studio album moving 58,000 copies. The sum is her best since “Fantasy Ride” sold 81,000 in 2009. Of the singer’s five chart appearances, 2011’s “Basic Instinct” is the only one to miss the top 10 — it debuted and peaked at No. 11 with 37,000. Her 2004 debut “Goodies” and 2006 follow-up “Ciara: The Evolution” each entered atop the chart followed by the aforementioned “Fantasy Ride” which peaked at No. 2.
Due to this week’s two major debuts, J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” slides 1-3 with a 32% drop to 40,000 copies. It is followed by fellow former chart-toppers Kanye West’s “Yeezus” slipping 3-4 (down 26% to 29,000) and Wale’s “The Gifted” falling 2-5 (down 44% to 28,000) to close out the top five.
Donell Jones makes his return to the top 10 of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with “Forever” shifting 12,000 copies for a No. 8 entry. The opening marks his fifth top 10 title and best chart position since Journey of a Gemini debuted at No. 1 in 2006. The current set’s lead single and title track peaked at No. 14 on Adult R&B, while follow-up “Beautiful” is at its peak of No. 26 in its third week on the list.
Over on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell, continues its reign with a sixth week at No. 1. Though dropping 9% in digital sales to 384,000 downloads, the catchy cut rises 15% to 17.9 million listener impressions on-air and 12% to 6.6 million streams, according to Nielsen BDS.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton, also stays put at No. 2, though it experiences decreases across all of the chart’s metrics.
The lead song off “Magna Carta Holy Grail” titled “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake, catapults 35-3 in its second week on the list thanks primarily to the 196,000 downloads it garnered. Altogether, the album’s tracks logged 417,000 downloads with nine of the 16 selling over 10,000. 10 of the 16 also debut on the chart this week.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, slips 3-4 due to Jay’s jump, while J. Cole’s “Power Trip,” featuring Miguel, holds tight at No. 5 for a fifth consecutive week. Ciara’s “Body Party” reaches a new peak on the chart with 7-6 step in its 15th week. Though falling digitally and in streaming, the song rose 4% to 37.8 million listener impressions.
Mariah Carey’s “#Beautiful,” featuring Miguel, tumbles 4-7 in its 11th week as does Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, 6-8 in its 41st week. Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.,” featuring Future and Rick Ross (8-9), and Wale’s “Bad,” featuring Tiara Thomas (9-10), each slip one position to round out the top 10 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Interesting additions further down the chart include J. Dash’s “Wop” re-entering at No. 20 and the Finatticz “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun” at No. 33. “Wop” re-enters thanks to its indirect link to Jay Z’s “Somewhereinamerica” in which Jay raps, “Feds still lurking / They see I’m still putting work in / And somewhere in America / Miley Cyrus is still twerking.” Cyrus’ viral twerking video was set to J. Dash’s song and the interest spawned by the Jay Z reference propelled it to rise 91% to 31,000 downloads, its best sales week yet.
The Finatticz’ cut also owes its debut to the virality of online videos. On the video-sharing site/app Vine, “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun” seems to be the song of choice for the #twerkteam tag. Digitally, the song sold 34,000 copies, an impressive 696% increase, causing a No. 12 debut on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs. The California duo’s breakout hit was originally released in 2012 and even made it onto the Rhythmic airplay chart (No. 39 debut and peak) but now has a second life thanks to its popularity on Vine.