J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only bounds in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, granting the rapper his fourth chart-topper and notching the third-largest debut of 2016, according to Nielsen Music. The set earned 492,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Dec. 15. Only the bows of Drake’s Views (1.04 million units) and Beyonce’s Lemonade (653,000) were larger this year.
Of J. Cole’s overall 492,000 unit start, 363,000 were in traditional album sales — the third-biggest weekly sales sum for a single album this year. Again, it trails only the arrivals of Views (852,000 sold in its first week) and Lemonade (a 485,000 sales launch).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Dec. 31-dated chart (where 4 Your Eyez Only opens at No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s Websites on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
4 Your Eyez Only also logs a big streaming week as it tallied 118,000 in SEA units (equaling 51.7 million streams of the album’s songs), which is the second-largest streaming debut ever for an album. It trails only the bow of Drake’s Views, which launched with 163,000 streaming units in its opening frame (equating to 245.1 million streams of songs from the album that week). 4 Your Eyez Only is just the third album to surpass 100,000 streaming equivalent album units in a single week, following Views and The Weeknd’s Starboy (with its opening frame of 117,000 in SEA units). Views actually did it three times: during its debut week, along with its third (124,000) and fourth (111,000) frames.
J. Cole first hit No. 1 with his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in 2011, when it launched with 217,000 copies sold. He followed it in 2013 with Born Sinner(297,000 sold in its first week) and then the following year with 2014 Forest Hills Drive (354,000 first week sales). Thus, J. Cole has achieved an infrequent feat: each of his successive albums has started with a larger debut sales week than the previous set, as his new album bows with 363,000 sold.