Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ Flutters to No. 1 on U.S. Album Chart

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly
Image courtesy of Angelo Merendino/Getty

It’s been a tumultuous week for fans of pop music. From the highs of the lineups announced for Lollapalooza and Outside Lands to the low of the announcement of Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction, there has been much to digest.

One reliable constant is the Billboard Top 200 chart, topped this week by Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” according to Nielsen Music data for the week ending March 22. Lamar’s second studio album is his first Billboard No. 1, having moved 363,000 units in its first week.

The rapper surprised everyone by dropping “Butterfly” more than a week before its scheduled drop date. Lamar’s team carefully built up hype surrounding the release by revealing the album’s title and artwork very shortly before the album itself dropped. Lamar will join headliners Elton John and the Black Keys at Outside Lands in San Francisco this summer.

Lamar’s collection is one of three new albums to debut in the top 10 this week, accompanied by Modest Mouse and Marina and the Diamonds’ latest efforts. Modest Mouse’s “Strangers to Ourselves,” the alt-rock band’s sixth studio album, arrives at No. 3 with 77,000 units moved. Marina and the Diamonds debuted “Froot” at No. 8 with 46,000 units. The third studio album by the Welsh singer and her band is her first appearance in the top 10.

The top 10 is also home to a pair of successful soundtracks, with the soundtrack to Fox’s “Empire” slipping to second place with 107,000 units moved after entering the chart at its top spot last week, down 16%. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack was also down 16% this week, moving 60,000 units, good to maintain its No. 4 spot from last week.

Taylor Swift was also able to hang on to last week’s ranking, holding steady in fifth place with 56,000 units of “1989” moved last week, down 10%. Drake finished behind Tay at No. 6 with 52,000 units of “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late,” up a spot from last week but still down 11%.

Like Swifty and Drizzy, the rest of the top 10 is filled out by artists who are demonstrating considerable chart stability. Ed Sheeran’s “X,” which has spent 39 weeks on the chart, moved up to No. 7 from No. 8 with 49,000 units moved. Maroon 5’s “V” has been on the chart for 29 weeks, dropped from No. 9 to tenth place with 44,000 units moved, down 7%.

Crooner Sam Smith also knows a thing or two about staying power; Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” has been on the chart for 40 weeks now, dropping from sixth to ninth place, down 24% with 46,000 units moved. Smith’s fame continues to mount, though, months and months after “Lonely Hour” dropped. Smith will work the festival circuit this summer, performing at both Outside Lands and Lollapalooza in Chicago.