Chance The Rapper Makes History “Coloring” His Way Onto The Charts
Two Thursdays ago (May 12), Chance The Rapper released his third official mixtape, Coloring Book. Featuring Kanye West, Jay Electronica, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber, and a host of others, the project was not available for sale. Instead, it was licensed to Apple Music for streaming, with promises for other platforms to come two weeks after release. This differed from the strategy used on 2013’s Acid Rap, a project that began through Soundcloud, before being picked up by other mixtape and streaming platforms.
Whereas Acid Rap and even 2015’s Surf release by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment (which includes Chance) did not appear on the Top 200 Billboard charts, Coloring Book has—due to new eligibility rules. Moreover, thanks to Apple Music’s reported 57.3 million streams in its first week, the Chicago, Illinois MC/singer can not only claim his first chart appearance for a project, he landed at #8.
Billboard explains how it arrived at the index number of 38,000 units to an album not available for purchase: “Each streaming equivalent album unit is equal to 1,500 streams from an album.”
The achievement makes history. This is the first stream-only album, in any genre, to appear on the charts. Earlier this year (February 14), Kanye West released his seventh solo album, The Life Of Pablo, exclusively to stream on Tidal. At that time, Tidal did not report its streaming data to Nielsen, keeping T.L.O.P. from the charts initially. On April 1, however, after the album was dispersed on other platforms and available for digital purchase, it debuted at #1. Billboard writes of Kanye’s album in the wake of Chance’s historic feat, “In the latest tracking week, 99.93% of [The Life Of Pablo‘s 21,000] units were generated by streams. The other .07% were album sales. The set sold a handful of copies in the latest tracking frame, and hasn’t sold more than 1,000 copies in a week since its second chart week.” With Chance The Rapper and Coloring Book, it is all streams reported through Apple Music.
Chance The Rapper becomes the 13th Hip-Hop album of 2016 to achieve the Top 10 on the charts. The last to do so was Drake’s Views, another Apple exclusive, which debuted at #1 earlier this month—where the Cash Money/Young Money/Universal Republic Records release has held since.
The recognition from Billboard will perhaps narrow the gap on eligibility of mixtapes for awards such as Grammy’s. To date, Chance The Rapper has never released a commercial album. Due to the RIAA’s inclusion of streaming data (announced in February), he may be eligible for gold and platinum certification, if the respective thresholds are achieved.
Earlier this year, Chance The Rapper became the first artist not signed to a label to be the musical guest on SNL. There, he performed older songs, not from Coloring Book.