Despite the fact that his latest full-length didn’t even have a full seven days in which to rack up sales and streams, Kanye West’s Donda easily debuts at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200, bringing the rapper back to the summit of the most competitive albums ranking in the U.S.
Donda opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 309,000 equivalent units shifted. That sum includes 37,000 actual purchases as well as a staggering 272,000 streaming equivalent units, which are made up of 357 million plays on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. West’s new set now holds the record for the largest debut for an album in 2021, beating Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, which started atop the tally in May with close to 300,000 copies shifted.
West has now sent 10 of his solo albums to the top of the Billboard 200, with Donda marking his milestone tenth release to conquer the list. He and Jay-Z also launched their joint project Watch The Throne in first place, though it was officially credited to a duo called The Throne, with only the two rappers as members. West’s own albums Late Registration, Graduation, 808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, The Life of Pablo, Ye and Jesus Is King all took a turn running the show.
In addition to his 11 total No. 1 albums, West has also appeared inside the top 10 on the Billboard 200 with three other albums, with just one being credited solely to him. His debut full-length The College Dropout stalled at No. 2, as did both Kids See Ghosts, a collaborative collection with Kid Cudi (as the duo Kids See Ghosts) and Cruel Summer, a compilation/album hybrid from West’s record label Good Music.
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Donda was released Sunday, August 29, instead of on Friday, which is when the tracking week begins. The rapper’s manager had promised the set on August 27, but it wasn’t quite ready, and thus came out late. Donda had several different release dates throughout its long production process, many of which came and went with no music, as the rapper was busy perfecting the songs in between highly-attended live events where he played the tracks for tens of thousands of fans.
West beats singer-songwriter Halsey to the Billboard 200’s throne, keeping them from landing a second No. 1 on the ranking. Halsey announced their new set in late June, but due to the fact that the hip-hop musician kept pushing his latest, he ended up competing with the star for the highest space on the tally. Halsey’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power starts in second place with 98,000 equivalent units shifted, which would have been enough to make it a No. 1 had something larger not gotten in the way.
Chances are that many, if not all of the songs featured on Donda will find their way to the Hot 100 in short order. West has a good chance of scoring at least one, if not several top 10 hits on the chart, based solely on incredible streaming activity.