As Reported by Yahoo Music for the first time in chart history, hip-hop albums make a clean sweep of the top five spots on the Billboard 200 this week.
Jay-Z‘s 4:44 is No. 1 for the second straight week; Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. inches up from No. 3 to No. 2 in its 14th week; French Montana’s Jungle Rules debuts at No. 3; DJ Khaled‘s Grateful holds at No. 4 in its fourth week; and21 Savage‘s Issa Album drops from its No. 2 peak to No. 5 in its second week.
Before this week, hip-hop albums occupied the top four positions on three occasions. Jay-Z was also on top the first time it happened, the week of Oct. 17, 1998. That was the week he landed his first No. 1 album, Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life. The rest of the top four were Outkast’s Aquemini, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement, and Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Hip-hop albums next occupied the top four positions the week of April 18, 2015. The top four were Wale’s The Album About Nothing, the Furious 7 soundtrack, Ludacris’s Ludaversal, and Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
It happened for a third time last week.
Why is this happening more often than it used to? A change in methodology for the Billboard 200 in December 2014 boosted the fortunes of hip-hop albums. Before that date, the chart was based strictly on traditional album sales. With the changeover, streaming and digital track sales are also factored in. Billboard and Nielsen still compile an Album Sales chart, but it doesn’t get one-10th of the attention of the Billboard 200. (On the Album Sales chart this week, there are just three hip-hop albums in the top five — 4:44, DAMN., and Jungle Rules.)
Here are some individual notes on this week’s top three albums.
4:44 is Jay-Z’s fourth consecutive studio album to spend two weeks at No. 1. The streak began with 2009’s The Blueprint 3 and continued with 2011’s Watch the Throne (a collabo with Kanye West) and 2013’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail. In all, seven of Jay’s 14 albums have spent multiple weeks on top.
DAMN. has spent its entire 14-week run inside the top three positions.
Jungle Rules is French Montana’s second top five album in a row. His 2013 debut, Excuse My French, reached No. 4. The lead single, “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee), leaps into the top five on this week’s Hot 100.