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J. Cole’s ‘Born Sinner’ Tops U.S. Album Chart

Rapper's 58,000 in sales the lowest tally for a no. 1 album this year

Amid a slim field of holiday-week new releases, J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” split with tradition and became a late-breaking No. 1 on the U.S. album chart.

Despite a drop of 32%, the rapper’s Columbia album secured the peak in its third week with sales of 58,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending July 7. It is Cole’s second chart-topping album: “Cole World: The Sideline Story” took the pinnacle in 2011.

Cole attained his rare SoundScan-era feat by taking No. 1 with the lowest number for an album in that slot so far this year. In February, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” returned to the top spot with sales of 63,000, the year’s smallest tally up to this point.

Record labels are traditionally loath to launch new titles in a summer holiday frame, and last week’s pre-Fourth of July offerings reflected that tendency.

The stanza’s lone new top 10 title was R&B singer Joe’s “Doubleback: Evolution of R&B” (Massenburg Media), which managed no better than a No. 6 bow, tracking 31,000 units. It was nonetheless the vocalist’s best arrival since 2007’s “Ain’t Nothin’ Like Me,” which debuted at No. 2.

The week’s holdovers included Wale’s “The Gifted” (No. 2, 50,000 sold, down 68%), Kanye West’s “Yeezus” (No. 3, 39,000, off 40%), Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” (No. 4, 36,000, up 23%), Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” (No. 5, 32,000, up 3%), Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” (No. 7, 28,000, down 10%), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” (No. 8, 24,000, up 1%), Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” (No. 9, 22,000, down 2%) and Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story…” (No. 10, 22,000, off 2%). The latter two titles were separated by some 400 units.

Next week, all comers will have to step aside for Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” The superstar rapper’s album, released via an exclusive Samsung mobile promotion on July 4, reached digital stores and CD retailers this week. Prognosticators expect it to sell between 300,000-400,000 units out of the box.

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