Rapper J. Cole is heading for his third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with his new release 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Industry forecasters suggest the album — which was released Dec. 9 through Roc Nation/Columbia Records — could sell well over 300,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 14.
It could score J. Cole’s best sales week ever, surpassing Born Sinner’s arrival with 297,000 copies in 2013 (according to Nielsen Music). Both of J. Cole’s previous albums, Born Sinner and 2011’s Cole World: The Sideline Story, reached No. 1. The new album’s bow should also earn the largest sales week for a hip-hop album in over a year. The last to move a greater sum in a week was Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 when it launched with 792,000 in the week ending Nov. 10, 2013.
In fact, J. Cole’s latest will become the first hip-hop album to sell more than 200,000 copies in a week this year. At the present, Rick Ross’ Mastermind tallied 2014’s biggest week for a hip-hop set, when it bowed with 179,000 in the week ending March 9.
As the recently revamped Billboard 200 reflects the overall consumption of albums (including track equivalent albums [TEA] and streaming equivalent albums [SEA]), one can’t look only to pure album sales to determine the chart’s final ranking. Still, J. Cole seems like he has a very good shot at opening at No. 1. His biggest challenge for the top slot will be Taylor Swift’s 1989, which has spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the list.
The top 10 of the new Billboard 200 chart will be revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 17.