Kendrick Lamar Overtakes Drake For The Best Opening Sales Week Of 2017
Just one week after releasing his newest LP, Kendrick Lamar remains the most talked-about artist in Hip-Hop. Having already released more than one single and video in support of DAMN., the TDE rapper has also already performed some of the material on one of the world’s biggest stages, in the form of his remarkable set at Coachella on Easter Sunday. This weekend, (Sunday, April 23), he will return to Indio, California to perform during weekend two of the fest, and Heads are anxiously awaiting to see and hear what he has in store (including what reports are saying could be more new Kendrick material on the way).
At the close of business day yesterday (April 20), projections for first week sales of Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. were announced, and it seems the Grammy-winning MC is poised to surpass one of the world’s reigning chart-toppers, Drake. As reported by Billboard, the LP “could now launch at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with between 530,000 to 550,000 equivalent album units — the biggest week of 2017 for an album.” Lamar’s album will unseat Drizzy’s More Life for that significant place at the table after his sales figures began to climb higher than the 505,000 units Drake’s March album moved.
Beyond bragging rights for Kendrick, the feat also adds another layer to a competitive rivalry between the two artists who are widely viewed as today’s best rappers. Over the years, they have been known to throw shots each other’s way, on records. In 2013, Lamar used Big Sean’s “Control” to launch a verbal assault on Drake and every other one of his significant peers, saying he was trying to “murder” all of them. Drake did not take too kindly to the words, saying in a 2013 interview with Billboard “It just sounded like an ambitious thought to me. That’s all it was. I know good and well that Kendrick’s not murdering me, at all, in any platform. So when that day presents itself, I guess we can revisit the topic.” On a similar note, in a guest verse from The Game’s 2015 song “100,” Drake also rapped “I would have all of your fans if I didn’t go Pop and I stayed on some conscious shit,” a jab many interpreted to be intended for Kendrick. Drake even came to Kendrick’s hometown of Compton to utter the words in the song’s music video. On DAMN., Kendrick very decidedly sought to turn the tables and go for a more mainstream sound, without sacrificing subject matter, by working with popular producer Mike Will Made It, who helmed 3 of the album’s tracks. The strategy appears to have paid off, handsomely.
But besting Drake both commercially and critically isn’t DAMN.‘s only selling point. The LP is “also on course to score Lamar both a career-high sales week, and the year’s biggest sales frame for an album, with an estimated 330,000 traditional album sales outperforming Ed Sheeran’s 322,000 in sales of his March album, ÷ (Divide). Furthermore, “DAMN. will likely also yield Lamar’s best sales week, beating the start of his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly (324,000 copies sold in the week ending March 22, 2015).”