The Contenders: YoungBoy Makes His ‘Case’ for the Top Spot, BTS Arrives on Vinyl
Meanwhile, SZA looks to hold down the chart's top spot for a fifth consecutive week.
Welcome to The Contenders, a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming Billboard 200 albums chart dated Jan. 14): SZA’s SOS continues to dominate, while YoungBoy Never Broke Again makes a quick return after a busy 2022 and a half-decade-old BTS album debuts on vinyl.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again, I Rest My Case (Motown/Never Broke Again): After an absurdly prolific 2022 that included seven full-length releases – two collaborative albums, four mixtapes and one official album – star rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again returns, just two weeks into 2023, with his fifth solo studio album, I Rest My Case. The 19-track set is his first release on his new Motown label, after completing his deal with Atlantic in 2022.
From the early returns, YoungBoy’s previous productivity may be working against him, since the album’s tracks have not taken over the daily DSP charts like past YoungBoy solo albums, the last three of which hit the Billboard 200’s top two. Case will also not be helped by any big-name guests, since the album has no features on its 19 tracks. It will have its work cut out for it getting YoungBoy back to the chart’s top five, let alone threatening the four-week reign of SZA’s SOS blockbuster, which shows little sign of slowing down in its fifth week.
BTS, Love Yourself: Her (Big Hit/Universal): The Love Yourself: Her EP release marked a big U.S. breakthrough for K-pop superstars BTS back in 2017, reaching the Billboard 200’s top 10 and spawning their first two Billboard Hot 100 hits in “DNA” and “Mic Drop.” The EP is likely to return to the chart’s top tier after making its physical debut on vinyl — the septet’s first-ever release on the format — along with a package that includes seven photo cards (one for each member), two posters, a sticker and a bookmark.
French Montana & DJ Drama, Coke Boys 6 (Coke Boys): Outside of YoungBoy, few hip-hop artists were as prolific on the 2022 charts as DJ Drama, who notched hit albums alongside Jeezy, Snoop Dogg and several other big-name rappers. He’s back this week with veteran New York hitmaker French Montana, for the latest installment in the latter’s signature Coke Boys series. CB6 boasts 20 tracks and a wide variety of big-name guests, including fellow rap stars Kodak Black, Nav and A$AP Rocky, and the set already has its own Money Heist Edition deluxe reissue, adding an extra nine tracks to the total.