On the Charts: Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly' Is King - Rolling Stone
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On the Charts: Kendrick Is King as ‘Butterfly’ Soars to Number One

‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ overcomes a staggered, surprise release for the second-best sales week of 2015 and the rapper’s first chart-topper

Kendrick LamarKendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar performs in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on November 1st, 2014.

Christopher Polk/Getty

UPDATE: Madonna’s Rebel Heart dropped from Number Two to Number 21 on the Billboard 200.

The surprise and somewhat misfired release of Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly did little to diminish the Compton rapper’s first-week sales as Lamar’s much-anticipated follow-up to good kid, m.A.A.d city cruised to Number One on the Billboard 200. To Pimp a Butterfly racked up 363,000 total copies sold in its debut week – the second best sales week of 2015 so far behind Drake – giving the rapper his first Number One album and improving on good kid‘s 241,000-unit opening week sales, Billboard reports.

Last week’s Number One, the Empire soundtrack, slid to Number Two while selling another 89,000 copies, a small drop-off from its chart-topping debut total; the show’s heart-stopping season finale likely softened the second-week blow. Modest Mouse‘s Strangers to Ourselves, the band’s first album in eight years, finished Number Three with 77,000 copies sold. It’s a solid total, but a significant decline from the 129,000 albums 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Sank moved on its way to Number One in its debut week.

Other than Lamar and Modest Mouse, only one more new release bowed in the Top 10: Marina and the Diamonds’ Froot, which entered at Number Eight with 46,000 copies sold, giving singer Marina Diamandis her first Top 10 LP. Other than the newbies, the same residents that have populated the Billboard 200’s upper echelon for the bulk of the year stuck around for another week: Fifty Shades of Grey at Four, a Five-Six-Seven block occupied by Taylor Swift’s 1989, Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Ed Sheeran’s X and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour at Nine.

The most noticeable absence from the Top 10 is Madonna’s Rebel Heart, which spirals from Number Two to charts unknown in its second week on shelves.


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