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Kesha’s ‘Rainbow’ Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart

Kesha claims her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as her new effort, "Rainbow," bows atop the list. Plus: Moneybagg Yo debuts in the top five, and Khalid's "American Teen" hits a new…

Kesha claims her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as her new effort, Rainbow, bows atop the list. The set, which was released on Aug. 11 through Kemosabe/RCA Records, earned 117,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Aug. 17, according to Nielsen Music.

Of that sum, 90,000 were in traditional album sales. Rainbow scores the second-largest week for an album by a woman in 2017 in terms of both units and sales. Only Katy Perry‘s Witness logged a bigger frame among women, when it launched with 180,000 units and 162,000 in sales (July 1).

[Editor’s note: Rainbow’s unit total and sales figure were updated on Aug. 21 — from 116,000 to 117,000 and 89,000 to 90,000, respectively.]

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 2-dated chart (where Rainbow debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday (Aug. 22).

Rainbow‘s sales bow of 90,000 was aided in part by a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with Kesha’s upcoming tour. Other chart-topping albums that have benefited from such an offer this year include Arcade Fire‘s Everything Now, Linkin Park‘s One More Light, The Chainsmokers‘ Memories… Do Not Open and Perry’s Witness.


Rainbow marks Kesha’s fifth charting title overall, and first since 2012, when her last studio set, Warrior, debuted and peaked at No. 6. (The long delay between album projects is owed to her legal battle with producer Dr. Luke.) Prior to Warrior, she logged entries with the remix album I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance (No. 26 in 2011), Cannibal (No. 15; 2010) and her debut album, Animal, which opened at No. 1 in January of 2010.  

While Kesha waited a rather lengthy seven years, seven months and 10 days between weeks at No. 1, she isn’t the only act that returned to No. 1 recently after a long vacation from the top: Last year, Metallica debuted at No. 1 with Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on the Dec. 10, 2016-dated chart — its first leader since 2008’s Death Magnetic spent its third and final week at No. 1 on the Oct. 11, 2008 chart (a gap of eight years, one month and 29 days).

The gap between weeks at No. 1 for Kesha is actually the longest for a woman since 2009: Barbra Streisand waited 11 years, 10 months and 18 days between her one-week visits at No. 1 with Higher Ground (Nov. 29, 1997) and Love Is the Answer (Oct. 17, 2009). (A more recent chart-topper almost matched Kesha’s long gap – Janet Jackson‘s 2015 album, Unbreakable. It topped the chart on Oct. 24, 2015 — seven years, seven months and nine days after Discipline had its one week at No. 1 on March 15, 2008.


At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 is Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN., which falls 1-2 (43,000 units; down 7 percent) after collecting its fourth nonconsecutive week at No. 1.

DJ Khaled‘s former leader, Grateful, holds steady at No. 3 with 34,000 units (up 8 percent).

R&B singer Khalid hits a new high on the Billboard 200, as his debut album, American Teen, jumps 10-4 (32,000 units; up 17 percent — its third consecutive weekly gain). The set debuted on the list six months ago at No. 9 and has ranked within the top 25 every week. American Teen is up in album sales (6,000; 107 percent), TEA units (4,000; up 43 percent) and SEA units (22,000; up 3 percent).

Rapper Moneybagg Yo starts stronger than expected, as his new release, Federal 3X, bows at No. 5 with 30,000 units (14,000 in traditional album sales). Industry forecasters had earlier suggested the album (on N-Less/Interscope Records — his first release via Interscope) was aiming to debut with between 15,000 and 20,000 units. It’s the first top 10 effort for the artist, who has already logged a pair of entries in 2017: 2 Federal (with Yo Gotti, No. 97) and Heartless (No. 177).

Ed Sheeran‘s former No. 1 ÷ (Divide) climbs 7-6 with 28,000 units (down 2 percent), SZA‘s Ctrl rises 9-7 with 27,000 units (up 1 percent) and 21 Savage‘s Issa Albums slips 6-8 with a little more than 26,000 units (down 9 percent). Imagine Dragons‘ Evolve falls 8-9 with 26,000 units (down 6 percent), and Bruno Mars 24K Magic jumps back into the top 10, rising 12-10 with 25,000 units (up 1 percent).