“Escape Plan” starts as the more popular of the pair, with 19.5 million U.S. streams in the week and 10,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 11, according to MRC Data, enough to begin at No. 3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs and at No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales charts, respectively.
“Mafia,” meanwhile, opens with 13.5 million U.S. streams and 4,000 in sales. Those totals translate into No. 7 entrance on R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs and No. 4 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales.
The combined debuts secure the superstar rapper’s 16th and 17th career top 10 appearances on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and his 10th and 11th as a lead or co-leading act. Elsewhere, “Escape Plan” launches at No. 2 on Hot Rap Songs and with a No. 11 bow on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100; “Mafia” manages a No. 5 start on Hot Rap Songs and kicks off at No. 26 on the Hot 100.
Both “Escape Plan” and “Mafia” were released at midnight on Nov. 5, on the eve of Travis Scott’s annual Astroworld Festival in Houston. Later that day, crowd surges at the event left 10 attendees dead and hundreds injured. Organizers canceled the festival’s remaining day (Nov. 6), while Scott took to social media the next day to issue an apology, and, in the week since, several lawsuits have been filed against Scott and festival organizer Live Nation, among others.
Despite the rather high chart debuts, the controversy and avalanche of negative publicity surrounding Astroworld spells an uncertain future for the two releases. Both “Escape Plan” and “Mafia” trace nearly all their chart points to the sales and streaming markets, with barely any activity registered from the radio airplay sector – the third metric that contributes to the rankings of the Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.
Radio stations have largely shied away from “Escape Plan” in the days following the festival. It initially drew 76 plays on its release day (Nov. 5) on the slate of stations that contribute to Billboard‘s Radio Songs chart, but has yet to surpass that daily total in the 12 subsequent days through Nov. 17. Even Scott’s core format has shown some reluctance to embrace “Escape Plan,” with only 26 of the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart’s 75 panel stations having played the song since its arrival. Rhythmic radio has played it the most among all formats, accounting for 60% of its total plays.