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Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' tops Billboard 200 with largest debut of 2017

Ralph Bristout

 // Apr 23, 2017

It's official: Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. is 2017's best-selling Billboard debut.

Soaring over first-week numbers for Drake's More Life, which opened with 505,000 last month, Kung Fu Kenny's fourth studio album is officially the year's best selling album thanks to opening sales of 603,000 copies. The "HUMBLE." rapper blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the critically-acclaimed album. This marks Lamar's third No. 1 album, following last year's _Untitled Unmastered._and 2015' To Pimp a Butterfly.

According to Billboard, the sales behind DAMN. is the most copies sold by an album in a single week since Drake's Views, which arrived last year to first-week sales of 1.04 million units. In total, the album sold 353,000 in traditional album sales, marking both the largest sales week of 2017 — surpassing Ed Sheeran's ÷ (Divide) debut of of 322,000 — and the largest for an album in a week since J. Cole's 4 Your Eyez Only, which launched with 363,000. The feat this week is also a career-high sales frame for K. Dot, whose Grammy-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly kickstarted with 324,000 in 2015. The numbers behind DAMN. surpassed early expectations.

"[The] debut is larger than expected: on the afternoon of April 20, industry prognosticators had forecasted a bow of between 530,000 and 550,000 units," noted Billboard. "And that figure was an upgrade from three days earlier, when its start was pegged at 475,000."

As made clear, this week's sales report and last week's DAMN. mania supports a piece of foresight that was shared to us on "The Heart Part 4": "My next album, the whole industry on a ice pack..."

That boy good.

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