Early sales estimates predict Eminem's Relapse will capture his fifth consecutive Number One on the charts next week with an astounding — for this economy, anyway — 650,000 copies sold. Even if Relapse merely surpasses 600K, the album will easily be the bestselling for a debuting album this year, and the highest sales week since AC/DC moved 784,000 copies of Black Ice in October 2008, Billboard.biz reports.
Of Em's six officially released albums (we're not counting the unearthed Infinite) only his debut album The Slim Shady LP failed to reach the top spot, settling for Number Two in 1999. But his five consequent albums all reached Number One, a feat that Marshall Mathers will likely accomplish for a sixth consecutive time when his Relapse 2 is released later this year. Additionally, Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits and the 8 Mile soundtrack also reached Number One.
Even though Relapse's expected sales numbers are impressive, they don't come close to the 711,000 copies 2004's Encore sold in a truncated sales week after the release date was pushed up four days to combat that album's leak. Relapse also isn't within the same ballpark of the 1.76 million copies The Marshall Mathers LP sold in the pre-leak/pre-recession days of May 2000. According to Billboard.biz, Em's last five albums alone have combined for roughly 33.3 million in sales just in the United States, making the rapper the bestselling artist in hip-hop. As part of the heavy promotion surrounding Relapse, the rapper hosted an album release party in Detroit on May 19th, and two songs from the performance will air on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tomorrow night.