First! He’s got 99 problems, but going No. 1 … eh, you get the idea. Jay-Z, no surprise, has the biggest album of the week with Magna Carta Holy Grail. What’s unexpected, however, is the massive margin that he holds over just about every other release this year. The new record may not have been our favorite — quote: “It’s rap music as a transaction, with a host of stars and hip names wrangled together to convince you it’s not.” — but it succeeded in getting people talking (and purchasing) despite the fact that Samsung more or less gave away a million copies of the thing. MCHG sold 527,000 according to Billboard. That’s far more than projected, and far more than Kanye West’s far superior Yeezus, which now sinks down to No. 6 (29K). With this, Hova notches his 13th No. 1 album, continuing his reign as the solo act with most chart-toppers in history (only the Beatles best him with 19 No. 1s).
2 to 10: Ciara is in at No. 2 with Ciara (58K), a commendable album that includes, among other highlights, “a slow-burn bubble bath of goofy eroticism” called “Body Party.” The bronze seat goes to J. Cole’s Born Sinner (39K), which sucks but is significant because it helped set a record: With Jay-Z landing at the top, we’re now looking at four consecutive weeks of No. 1 rap debuts, encompassing Kanye, Cole, Jigga, and Wale, whose very so-so The Gifted lands at No. 7 this time (28K). And then — yech — we’ve got Imagine Dragons (Night Visions, 32K) and Florida Georgia Line (Here’s to the Good Times, 31K) at Nos. 4 and 5. Better news: Skylar Grey debuts at No. 8 with Don’t Look Down (24K), followed by Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (23K) at No. 9. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis close us out with The Heist, in at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 with 22K.
Receding Lines? Robin Thicke’s inescapable (though not in a rape-y way) summer anthem “Blurred Lines” could be wrapping up its now six-week run atop the Hot 100 songs chart. The Pharrell and T.I.-assisted track currently tied with Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” for the largest number of weeks spent on top this year. After three weeks of 400K+ digital single sales, it slipped down to 384K, with Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” twerking its way up the ranks.
Spotifigga: While Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich lambast Spotify for not paying out enough to artists, Hova is sitting back in his kitchen, bouncing nickels off of the Basquiat he let Blue Ivy manhandle on the album. Magna Carta Holy Grail racked up over 14 million streams in its debut week, which is a record, meaning it did better in the “try before you buy” market than Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience and Daft Punk’s RAM.