Kanye West lands his 10th No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as Donda debuts atop the list with the year’s biggest week for any album: 309,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 2, according to MRC Data. It surpasses the year’s previous best week, when Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour started with 295,000 units (on the chart dated June 5).
West is now one of only seven artists with at least 10 No. 1 albums in the 65-year history of the Billboard 200 chart. The Beatles have the most No. 1s, with 19. They are followed by Jay-Z (14), Bruce Springsteen (11), Barbra Streisand (11), Eminem (10), Elvis Presley (10) and West. (Waiting in the wings for their 10th No. 1s are the acts with nine leaders: Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Drake, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift. Of those, two have albums either just released, or on the way: Drake’s Certified Lover Boy dropped on Sept. 3 and Swift’s Red [Taylor’s Version] is due on Nov. 19.)
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Sept. 11, 2021-dated chart (where Donda debuts to No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Wednesday, Sept 8 – one day later than usual, owed to the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. on Monday, Sept. 6. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Donda keeps up a hot streak for West on the Billboard 200, as he once again ties Eminem for the most No. 1 debuts in a row on the chart. Donda is West’s 10th straight charting album to bow atop the list. Eminem earned his 10th straight No. 1 debut with his last release, Music to Be Murdered By in 2020. (Overall, Jay-Z has the most debuts at No. 1, with 14, although they were not consecutive.)
West also ties Eminem for the most consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, each with 10.
Both West and Eminem have only missed No. 1 once in their chart careers on the Billboard 200, each with their debut chart effort. West peaked at No. 2 with The College Dropout in 2004, and Eminem peaked at No. 2 with The Slim Shady LP in 1999.
Donda was surprise-released on an off-cycle Sunday, Aug. 29 (instead of the usual Friday for most new albums), and, thus, launches with just five days of activity in its first chart week, instead of seven. The 27-track album was released only via streamers and digital retailers, while a release date for a physical album has not been announced. Donda includes guest turns by the likes of Chris Brown, DaBaby, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Lil Durk, Marilyn Manson, Roddy Ricch and The Weeknd – though none are given billed artist credit.
Anticipation for Donda was fueled by three huge ticketed listening events held on July 22, Aug. 5 and Aug. 26 – and all three were live-streamed by Apple Music. The latter gave Donda and West’s catalog of music premium placement on its platform (as did Apple’s iTunes Store).
Of Donda’s 309,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 2, SEA units comprise 272,000 units (equaling 357.39 million on-demand streams of the album’s tracks – the largest streaming week of the year for an album), album sales comprise 37,000 and TEA units comprise less than 1,000 units. (Donda’s tracks are not currently available to purchase a la carte from digital retailers, but were briefly purchasable earlier during the tracking week in the iTunes Store.)
Donda surpasses 2021’s previous largest streaming week for an album, logged by J. Cole’s The Off-Season. The latter bowed on the May 29 chart with 243,000 SEA units – which equaled 325.05 million on-demand streams of the set’s 12 tracks.
Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power debuts at No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 – marking the singer-songwriter’s fourth straight, and total, album to reach the top two. If I Can’t Have Love starts with 98,000 equivalent album units, and of that sum, album sales comprise 70,500 (making it the top-selling album of the week), SEA units comprise 26,500 (equaling 34.76 million on-demand streams of the set’s 13 tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,000. Of If I Can’t Have Love’s 70,500 in total album sales, physical sales comprise 52,500 (across CD, vinyl LP and cassette configurations), while digital album sales comprise 18,000.
If I Can’t Have Love was announced on July 7 with its Friday, Aug. 27 release date in place. Pre-orders began on July 7, as well. West’s Donda, which debuts at No. 1 ahead of If I Can’t Have Love, surprise-dropped on Aug. 29, also with an active pre-order campaign from digital retail. Halsey’s previous album, Manic, also bowed at No. 2 behind another surprise-release album, Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By. Both Manic and Music were released on Jan. 17, 2020. The former had four months of advance promotion while the latter arrived with no warning.
Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour falls 1-3 on the new Billboard 200 with 74,000 equivalent album units earned (down 44%). Doja Cat’s Planet Her is a non-mover at No. 4 with 53,000 units (down 7%), The Kid LAROI’s former chart-topper F*ck Love rises 7-5 with 44,000 units (down 9%) and Morgan Wallen’s No. 1 Dangerous: The Double Album climbs 9-6 with 40,000 units (down 4%).
Billie Eilish’s former leader Happier Than Ever dips 6-7 with nearly 40,000 equivalent album units earned (down 20%), Rod Wave’s No. 1 SoulFly falls 3-8 with 39,000 units (down 38%) and Trippie Redd’s Trip at Knight falls 2-9 in its second week with 35,000 units (down 57%).
Lil Tecca closes out the top 10 with his new album We Love You Tecca 2, as it launches at No. 10 with 30,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, SEA units comprise 28,000 (equaling 40.52 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks), album sales comprise 1,000 and TEA units comprise a negligible sum.
We Love You Tecca 2 is the third straight top 10 effort for the rapper – the entirety of his charting efforts.