Those in the know suggest that the two sets could each earn around 160,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Aug. 16.
Queen was released Aug. 10 via Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records. Astroworld, which dropped on Aug. 3 through Cactus Jack/Grand Hustle/Epic Records, debuted atop the chart dated Aug. 18 with 2018’s second-largest week for an album: 537,000 units earned in the week ending Aug. 9, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the Aug. 25-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Queen and Astroworld are battling for No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Aug. 19.
If Queen debuts at No. 1, Minaj will make rap history, as she’ll become the first female rap artist with three No. 1 albums. She previously hit the top with her second studio release, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (in 2012), and her debut studio set, Pink Friday (in 2011). Her third album, The Pinkprint, debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Jan. 3, 2015-dated chart. Currently, Minaj and Foxy Brown (who happens to be featured on a Queen track) both have two No. 1s. Brown led the list with Chyna Doll in 1999 and the collaborative album The Firm in 1997 (with Nas, AZ and Nature). Only three other female rappers have led the list: Cardi B (Invasion of Privacy, 2018), Eve (Let There Be Eve… Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, 1999) and Lauryn Hill (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998).
While the bulk of Queen’s units will be generated from streaming activity, the album will also benefit from sales generated by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with her upcoming tour, as well as a range of merchandise/album bundles sold through Minaj’s official online shop. As for Astroworld, the album will have a natural second-week decline, but will still reap handsome streaming figures, as well as sales supported by a bevy of merchandise/album bundles.
Outside of the Minaj and Scott action on next week’s list, watch for rapper Trippie Redd to bow in the top five with his debut studio album Life’s a Trip. It could earn around 65,000 units and grant the artist his first top 10 set. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz might notch his fifth top 10 effort, as Know could start with over 25,000 units earned.