It happened a bit tardily, but J. Cole’s sophomore album, Born Sinner, is now the no. 1 album in the country. Also worth noting, Cole’s new album has now sold more total copies than Kanye West’s latest project, Yeezus.
Despite both Born Sinner and Yeezus dropping on the same day, June 18, it’s the former that has maintained slightly stronger support at registers and legal download outlets.
While J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” was initially blocked from No. 1 on the Billboard 200, he celebrates his second No. 1 this week. In its third week on the chart, “Born Sinner” rises 2-1 with 58,000 sold (down 32%, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
The set spent its first two weeks at No. 2—first stuck behind an also-debuting “Yeezus” from Kanye West, and then lodged behind Wale’s “The Gifted” a week ago. To date, “Born Sinner” has sold 439,000 copies, this week surpassing the cumulative sum of his original competition, “Yeezus” (431,000).
Born Sinner sold 58,000 more copies this week, Wale’s The Gifted 50,000 in its second week out while Yeezus sold 39,000, good enough to no. 3 on the Billboard 200 Album Sales chart. Cole spending two weeks as a runner up and then leapfrogging up a notch it no small feat.
Albums rarely climb to No. 1, as opposed to debuting in that slot. Since the chart started using more exact Nielsen SoundScan sales data on May 25, 1991, the vast majority of No. 1 albums were chart-toppers because they debuted there. It’s unusual for an album to rise to the top, as most titles have their best sales weeks during their debut frame. And many albums cannot sustain momentum after their debut—at least not enough to compete with newer albums.
The Roc Nation rapper will surely enjoy this moment. Next week, Jay-Z’s latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, will surely grab the top spot since it is now expected to sell about 500,000 copies it first week.