Chart Watch: Jay-Z Closes in on The Beatles

Well, The Beatles did have 14 No. 1 albums of new materials in seven years by U.S. count. In the UK, there are only 13 studio albums released. But because Capitol Records ‘butchered’ all UK-released albums of the boys, they were able to produce more in the U.S.

Jay-Z is set to break this record.

Jay Z

Jay-Z lands his 14th No. 1 album as  4:44 enters the Billboard 200 in the top spot. Only one other artist in chart history has amassed as many as 14 No. 1 albums. The Beatles have tallied 19. But Jay-Z ties the Beatles in one key respect — most albums of new material that have reached No. 1. All 14 of Jay-Z’s No. 1 albums are collections of new material. The Beatles’ tally of 19 No. 1 albums includes five compilations of vintage recordings —  The Beatles1967-1970,  Anthology 1,  2, and  3, and the single-disc compilation  1.

4:44 is Jay-Z’s 11th consecutive solo studio album to reach No. 1. (His other three No. 1 albums are an EP with Linkin Park and full-length collabos with R. Kelly and Kanye West.) That’s the longest string of consecutive No. 1 studio albums in chart history (discounting collaborations with other artists).

Jay-Z’s last solo studio album to miss the No. 1 spot was his sophomore release, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, which debuted and peaked at No. 3 in November 1997. It’s extraordinary for an artist to maintain this level of heat for 20 years.

It goes without saying that Jay-Z has amassed more No. 1 albums than any other African-American artist in history. Wanna know who’s in second place? If you combine solo and group recordings, it’s his wife, Beyoncé, who has reached No. 1 eight times — with all six of her solo studio albums plus two albums with Destiny’s Child.

Wanna know who’s in third place? It’s a tie involving Drake (he’s Canadian, but close enough), Janet Jackson, and Kanye West, all of whom have had seven No. 1 albums. I’ve got to mention Michael Jackson, who would have had seven No. 1 albums if Billboard had allowed catalog albums, like his compilation Number Ones, to appear on the Billboard 200 in the summer of 2009. (They do now.)

4:44 moved 262K in equivalent units this week. That includes 174K in traditional album sales.

Technically,  4:44 is in its second week of release. The album was released on June 30 for one week of exclusivity through Tidal. However, Tidal chose not to report data for the album to Nielsen Music for the week ending July 6, so the album didn’t debut on last week’s chart. It was released to most streaming services and retailers on July 7 through Roc Nation.

Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” is the week’s top new entry on the Hot 100 at No. 23. The title song from his new album debuts at No. 35. The rapper first cracked the top 40 as a lead artist in November 1998 with “Can I Get A…” (featuring Amil and Ja Rule).

Top Songs

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber) logs its 10th week at No. 1. That’s the longest run at No. 1 since Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” reigned for 12 weeks earlier this year.

“Despacito” sold 124K digital copies this week, which puts it on top of Top Digital Songs for the 11th week. That’s the longest run at No. 1 on that chart since the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) had 13 weeks on top in late 2016.

“Despacito” logs its ninth week at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.

DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) rebounds from No. 4 to No. 2 in its fourth week. The song includes a prominent sample from Santana’s “Maria, Maria” (featuring the Product G&B). Thus, this week’s No. 1 hit is by a pair of artists from Puerto Rico and the No. 2 hit samples a smash hit by a group that is led by a musician (Carlos Santana) who was born in Mexico.

DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (which also features Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne) dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its 11th week.

Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” dips from No. 3 to No. 4 in its 26th week. The song hit No. 1.

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” holds at No. 5 in its 27th week. The song logged 12 weeks at No. 1. It’s the first song in Hot 100 history to spend its first 27 weeks in the top five. Moreover, it’s one of only two songs in Hot 100 history to spend 27 total weeks in the top five. The first was the Chainsmokers’ aforementioned “Closer.”

Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” holds at No. 6 in its 15th week. The song reached No. 1.

Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” holds at No. 7 in its 23rd week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6.