With just one charting week left on the year, J. Cole has swooped in at the eleventh hour to score one of the biggest albums of 2016. His new album, 4 Your Eyez Only, has debuted on this week’s Billboard 200 at No. 1 with the third-largest-selling first week of the year. The album sold 492,000 album equivalents (363,000 in traditional), which puts him just behind Drake and Beyoncé for the biggest debut of the year. It’s trounced even recent big-selling albums from the Weeknd and Metallica. This is both familiar and rare territory for Cole, as all four of his albums have debuted at No. 1, with his latest being his highest-selling so far; he is now just the third rapper behind DMX and Drake to have their first four albums start at No. 1. In addition to being a massive seller, 4 Your Eyez Only had the second-best streaming week for a first week ever, with all songs streamed 51.7 million times. That equates to 118,000 albums in streams — only the third album this year, including Drake and the Weeknd’s, to earn more than 100,000 in album equivalents in one week. Last year, Cole famously went platinum with no features for 2014 Forest Hills Drive, so if the current stats for his new album remain steady or rise, that meme may get a second wind. Brace yourselves.
J. Cole Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images