Kendrick Lamar made the biggest debut of any album so far this year with “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” his first album in five years and his fourth to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. .
The highly anticipated release arrived with 295,500 equivalent album units earned in the US in the week ending May 19, according to Luminate via Billboard.
This is the third week in a row that a new bar has been set for the best debut of 2022 so far. Lamar claiming the record means Bad Bunny’s summer blockbuster “Un Verano Sin Ti” only had a week to hold the title; it debuted last week at No. 1 with 274,000 equivalent album units. The previous week was the premiere of Future’s “I Never Liked You”, with 222,000 viewers.
In the five years since the release of 2017’s “Damn” (which spent four weeks atop the Billboard 200), Lamar became the first hip-hop artist to win the Pulitzer Prize, was nominated for an Oscar for his contribution to “Black Panther,” launched a media company, performed at the Super Bowl and announced his impending departure from the TDE label.
Like Variety‘s Andrew Barker wrote in his review of the 19-track, 72-minute album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” “is almost entirely concerned with the long periods Lamar spent out of the spotlight between the two. has been through quite a bit since we last heard from him, and he’s never been more willing to share it all.
Big Hit group Tomorrow X Together also made their first top 10 appearance, which landed their second top 10 album and highest charting release to date with the No. 4 debut of “Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child”. “, with 68,500 equivalent album units. . The vast majority of that tally, 65,500 units, came from sales rather than streaming. As is common with major K-pop artists, the album was released in a variety of collectible packaging – eight different CD variations, in this case. Virtually every fan who purchased the album wanted one of those physical packages, as digital download sales were almost non-existent at 500. On-demand streams totaled 4.37 million, as fans leaned towards the pride of ownership.
Florence and the Machine landed at No. 7 with the band’s fourth top 10 album, “Dance Fever”, which debuted with 54,000 album units. Full album beers also accounted for the largest portion of that tally, at 42,500.
The Black Keys also earned their sixth top 10 with the No. 8 start of “Dropout Boogie.” This comes just a year after the Keys’ last release, “Delta Kream,” which debuted and peaked at No. 6. The new “Dropout” dropped with 33,000 equivalent album units. This album, too, was driven primarily by album sales, which came in at 27,500.
Lamar’s latest effort logs had the second-biggest streaming week of 2022 for any album, with 343.02 million on-demand streams. It’s behind the highlight of Bad Bunny’s release last week, but “Un Verano Sin Ti” had an edge over “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” in that department with 23 tracks, five more than the previous week. Lamar album.
Lamar’s starting figure of 35,000 sales came solely from digital album sales, as the set will not be released on any physical format until its May 27 CD release. The sales sum marks the biggest sales week for a digital album in 2022, and the biggest of any album since the launch of Adele’s ’30s’ with 205,000 digital albums sold in its first week at the last fall.
At No. 2 on the new chart, Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” was still a powerhouse with 182,000 solid album units in its second week, down 34%. At No. 3, Future’s “I Never Liked You” also had a strong hold in its third week, selling 89,500 units, down 23%.
Of the remaining albums, Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” dropped one spot to No. 5, and Jack Harlow’s “Come Home the Kids Miss You” dropped three spots to No. 6 in its second. week. Two former No. 1s occupy the bottom two spots in the top 10, as Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” – now celebrating its first birthday – drops four spots to No. 9, and Lil Durk’s “7220” is pushed back from three places at No. 10.