In the end, the battle for supremacy between 2021’s long-awaited superstar hip-hop premieres wasn’t even that close a contest. Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” is the top-debuting album of the year so far, bowing with 595,300 album-equivalent units. That figure handily beats the 313,000 album units Kanye West’s “Donda” claimed when it premiered on the chart last week and at the time set its own record for the year to date, shortly to be toppled.
Drake also accomplished the very rare feat of landing all of the 10 songs on the Rolling Stone songs chart. In the previous chart week, West had managed to land five of the top 10 songs.
If rivalries could be put aside, West would have little to complain about, as “Donda” continues to have a strong pull compared with just about anything but the Drake album. In its second week out, “Donda” fell to No. 2 but still managed a strong 141,600 album units.
Breaking down the 595K figure for “Certified Lover Boy” in week one, Drake sold 43,200 full copies of the album, but he owed the vast majority of its success to a staggering 680.9 million individual streams for its songs.
In the second week for “Donda,” West’s 141K total broke down into 6,400 full album sales and a still-estimable 169.3 million streams.
Drake’s album did enjoy the benefit of having seven days of sales and streaming go into its debut chart week, versus just five for West, who rush-released his album on a Sunday instead of a Friday. But the gulf between their figures indicates that Drake’s lead over West in this derby has to with a lot more than a two-day advantage.
Two albums besides Drake’s debuted in the top 10 of the Rolling Stone album chart, both from veteran rock bands, one of them really veteran. Iron Maiden’s “Senjutsu” bowed at No. 4 with 53,600 album-equivalent units. As would be expected with a so-called heritage act, its strength was more in sales than streaming. Iron Maiden sold a healthy 47,700 full copies of the album, while streams were modest, at 3.1 million.
At No. 9, Imagine Dragons’ “Mercury — Act 1” debuted with 31,900 album units. Album sales for Imagine Dragons were far lower than they were for Iron Maiden — at 16,200 full copies — but streams were much higher, at 16.1 million.
The holdover albums in the top 10 were led by, of course, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” pushed down to No. 3 in its 16th week out, with 63,300 fresh album units. Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” continues to do exceptionally well, too, holding on at No. 5 and adding another 48,800 album units to its tally in week 11. The top 10 was rounded out by the Kid Laroi at No. 6, Morgan Wallen at No. 7, Billie Eilish at No. 8 and Rod Wave at No. 10.
Halsey’s highly acclaimed “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” slipped out of the top 10 in its second week on the album chart, dropping from No. 2 to No. 17.
The top 10 of the songs chart consisted exclusively of fresh Drake tracks, with the No. 1 “Way 2 Sexy” clocking in with 57.8 million streams, followed by “Girls Want Girls,” “Fair Trade,” “Champagne Poetry,” “Knife Talk,” “In the Bible,” “TSU,” “Papi’s Home,” “No Friends in the Industry” and “Love All.”
In fact, you have to go all the way down the songs chart to No. 15 to find the first non-Drake track — it’s “Stay” by Justin Bieber and the Kid Laroi. From there, Drake continues his streak, claiming 19 of the top 20 songs before West’s “Hurricane” again interrupts his roll at No. 21.