By Gerrick D. Kennedy
1:33 PM EDT, June 26, 2013
Kanye West this week landed in a very familiar place: on top of the Billboard charts.
West’s polarizing but critically acclaimed sixth album, “Yeezus,” took the No. 1 spot after it moved 327,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The album's sales were the highest for a rap album since 2011, when Drake moved 631,000 units of “Take Care.”
Though releases from the provocative rapper have long dominated the charts -- only his 2004 debut, “The College Dropout,” failed to bow at No. 1 -- “Yeezus” fell well short of West's 2010 release “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” which moved 496,000 copies out the gate.
West employed as many unconventional marketing methods as he could conjure up: He shunned preorders for the disc, shrugged off radio and limited his promotional appearances. He also had some rather stiff competition.
Although the controversial rapper was always expected to dominate last week’s hip-hop super Tuesday, which also saw J. Cole and Mac Miller release highly anticipated albums, there wasn’t a wide gap between West and Cole’s sales figures.
Cole’s sophomore record, “Born Sinner,” barely missed the top spot, selling 297,000 copies – an even more impressive tally considering his album leaked 12 days ahead of release. (West’s “Yeezus” leaked four days prior.)
The Jay-Z protégé had tongues wagging after he moved his release date up a week to purposely compete with West.
“It was a quick, split decision. I just followed my gut,” Cole said in an interview. “I didn’t even think about it until after. You’re never going to get another opportunity to compete on this level.”
Mac Miller's sophomore effort, “Watching Movies With the Sound Off” took the No. 3 spot, moving 102,000 copies. The independent rapper made history when his 2001 debut album, “Blue Slide Park,” became the first independently distributed album to top the charts since Tha Dogg Pound’s “Dogg Food” in 1995.
The last time three hip-hop albums debuted on the same Billboard 200 chart with each selling more than 100,000 copies in their first week was November 2006, when Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come,” Snoop Dogg's "Tha Blue Carpet Treatment" and 2Pac's "Pac's Life" all opened with hefty sales.
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