J. Cole’s new release didn’t quite land as the top album debut of 2021 so far, but it came close enough to have serious bragging rights anyway. “The Off-Season” premiered at No. 1 on the Rolling Stone album chart with 274,200 album-equivalent units — not so very far off from the 290,000 that Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylors Version)” debuted with to set the pace for the year in mid-April.
The success of J. Cole’s album launch was very much felt over on the Rolling Stone songs chart, as well. He claims eight of the top 10 songs at the moment, including debuting at No. 1 with “My.Life,” a single featuring 21 Savage and Morray.
It was hard for anyone else to get a word in edgewise in the upper rank of the songs chart. But Olivia Rodrigo did, bowing at No. 2 with “Good 4 U,” the third single from her new album, “Sour.” (The new album itself won’t appear until next week’s chart, which will have her not only taking the top album slot but probably commanding the songs chart in the same way J. Cole is doing this week.)
It was a fairly close call on the songs chart, relatively speaking, with Cole’s “My.Life” premiering with 36.4 million song streams and second-place finisher Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” amassing 35 million streams.
The other J. Cole songs in the top 10 are “Amari” (at No. 3), “Pride is the Devil,” “95 South,” “Applying Pressure,” “100 Mil,” “Interlude” and “Let Go My Hand.” HIs “Punchin’ the Clock” also clocks in close behind at No. 11.
The only other non-J. Cole artist to squeeze into the top 10 songs besides Rodrigo was “Seeing Green,” a debuting single by Nicki MInaj with Drake and Lil Wayne. It bowed at No. 9 with 17.8 million streams.
Minaj’s single is from her reissued and amended mixtape album, “Beam Me Up Scott,” which debuted at No. 2 on the album chart with 70,600 album-equivalent units.
The album chart saw a third release bowing in the top 10: country star Alan Jackson’s “Where Have You Gone,” premiering in the No. 7 slot with 30,100 album-equivalent units.
Breaking down some of the figures for the top albums, J. Cole had an unusually strong entry for album sales, in a year when few hip-hop stars sell complete albums and are usually reliant on massive streaming numbers alone. “The Off-Season” sold 37,300 full albums and 15,400 individual tracks during the week. Still, streaming was responsible for the majority of the new album’s success as — even without being as quantitatively overloaded with songs as most hip-hop albums — his album collected an astonishing 292.8 million streams in one week.
Minaj’s No. 2 album could hardly compete with that, but it did rack up 7,200 full album sales, a particularly strong 61,700 individual track sales and 70.4 million streams.
Some other debuting albums of note: the Black Keys’ blues covers project “Delta Kream” entered at No. 14 with 22,700 units. It was in a virtual tie with St. Vincent’s “Daddy’s Home,” in at No. 15 with 22,300. The Black Keys project sold 15,000 full albums and was streamed 5.9 million times; St. Vincent sold 12,500 full albums and collected 3.9 million streams.
Holdovers in the top 10 albums: MoneyBagg Yo, slipping two slots to No. 3, followed by Morgan Wallen, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, Luke Combs, DJ Khaled and Rod Wave.
Rodrigo’s “Sour” is looking at a No. 1 debut on the album chart next week, with an album-equivalent units total expected to go over 200K.