Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album makes a spectacular debut atop the Billboard 200 chart with the biggest week for any album in over a year. The long–awaited set, which was released on Sept. 3, is Drake’s 10th No. 1 and starts with 613,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 9, according to MRC Data. That’s the biggest week for an album since the Aug. 8, 2020-dated chart, when Taylor Swift’s Folklore launched at No. 1 with 846,000 units.
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. 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 Sept. 18, 2021-dated chart (where Certified Lover Boy debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Sept. 14. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Certified Lover Boy’s 613,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 9, SEA units comprise 562,000 units (equaling 743.67 million on-demand streams of the album’s 21 tracks), album sales comprise 46,000 (all from digital album sales; a CD release is due on Oct. 1) and TEA units comprise 5,000 units.
Let’s take a look at some of the feats that Drake achieves with the debut of Certified Lover Boy:
10th No. 1 Album: Drake is now one of only eight artists with at least 10 No. 1 albums in the 65-year history of the Billboard 200 chart. The Beatles have the most No. 1s, with 19. They are followed by Jay-Z (14), Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand (11 each), Drake, Eminem, Elvis Presley and Kanye West (10 each). Drake first topped the Billboard 200 dated July 3, 2010, with Thank Me Later.
Biggest Week for an Album in Over a Year: With 613,000 equivalent album units earned, Certified Lover Boy logs the largest week for any album since Swift’s Folklore launched at No. 1 on the Aug. 8, 2020-dated chart with 846,000 units. Certified also easily scores 2021’s biggest week, blowing past the previous high, logged just a week earlier (Sept. 11 chart), when West’s Donda bowed at No. 1 with 309,000 units.
Largest Week for a Rap Album Since Drake’s Own ‘Scorpion’ Three Years Ago: It’s rare for an album to post as large a week as Certified. So rare, that in the last five years (going back to September 2016), only albums by Drake and Swift have been as big or bigger in a single week. Swift’s Reputation debuted with 1.24 million units on the Dec. 2, 2017-dated chart, followed by Drake’s Scorpion (732,000; July 14, 2018) and Swift’s Lover (867,000; Sept. 7, 2019) and Folklore (846,000; Aug. 8, 2020). Thus, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy snares the biggest week for an R&B/hip-hop album, a rap album, an album by a male artist, and any album by someone not named Taylor Swift since Drake’s own Scorpion in 2018.
Blockbuster Streams: Certified’s start of 562,000 SEA units equals a whopping 743.67 million on-demand streams of the album’s 21 tracks. Of that sum, audio on-demand streams comprise 714.83 million, while video on-demand streams comprise 28.84 million. Only one album has ever scored a larger streaming week by on-demand audio streams: Drake’s Scorpion, with 745.92 million for its 25 tracks during its debut week. (When Scorpion launched, SEA units only included on-demand audio streams, not on-demand video. Video streams did not join the Billboard 200’s methodology until the Jan. 18, 2020-dated chart.)
Certified Lover Boy was not preceded by any pre-release singles. Scorpion, however, was led by a trio of hits on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart: “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What” (both No. 1s, leading the list for 11 and eight weeks, respectively) and “I’m Upset.” (Scorpion ultimately housed seven Hot 100 top 10s, including another No. 1: the 10-week leader “In My Feelings.”) At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, West’s Donda falls to No. 2 in its second week with 141,000 equivalent album units earned (down 54%).
Iron Maiden earns its highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200, as its latest studio effort, Senjutsu, debuts at No. 3. The veteran hard rock band previously peaked at No. 4 with its last two studio releases: The Book of Souls (in 2015) and The Final Frontier (2010). In total, Senjutsu is Iron Maiden’s 15th top 40-charting album (dating to its first, The Number of the Beast, in 1982), of which four have hit the top 10.
Of Senjutsu’s 64,000 equivalent album units earned, album sales comprise 61,000 (making it the top-selling album of the week), SEA units comprise 3,000 (equaling 3.57 million on-demand streams of the set’s 10 tracks) and TEA units comprise a negligible sum.
Senjutsu logs the second-largest week of 2021 for a hard rock album in both equivalent album units earned and in traditional album sales. It trails only Foo Fighters’ Medicine at Midnight, which debuted on the Feb. 20 chart with 70,000 units (of which 64,000 were in album sales). (Hard rock albums are defined as those that have charted on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart.)
At No. 4 on the Billboard 200, Olivia Rodrigo’s former chart-topper Sour falls one spot with 61,000 equivalent album units earned (down 18%). Doja Cat’s Planet Her dips 4-5 (49,000 units; down 7%), Morgan Wallen’s former No. 1 Dangerous: The Double Album is a non-mover at No. 6 (40,000; down less than 1%), Billie Eilish’s former leader Happier Than Ever is also steady at No. 7 (just over 39,000; down 1%) and The Kid LAROI’s chart-topping F*ck Love falls 5-8 (39,000; down 10%).
Imagine Dragons claim their fifth top 10 album on the Billboard 200 as the rock band’s latest studio set, Mercury – Act 1, debuts at No. 9. The effort launches with 31,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 17,000; SEA units comprise 13,000 (equaling 17.04 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,000.
Rod Wave’s former No. 1 SoulFly closes out the new top 10, dipping 8-10 with 30,000 equivalent album units earned (down 21%).