J. Cole Earns Third No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart
J. Cole's third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, easily debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking the rapper’s third consecutive chart-topper. He previously led the list with his debut effort, 2011’s Cole World: The Sideline Story, and its follow-up, 2013’s Born Sinner.
2014 Forest Hills Drive moved 375,000 equivalent units in the week ending Dec. 14, according to Nielsen Music. (The Billboard 200 chart measures multi-metric consumption, including pure album sales. The ranking includes on-demand streaming and digital track sales, in addition to traditional album sales, all measured by Nielsen.)
On the latest Billboard 200, 84 percent of the chart’s total units (adding up the weekly unit totals of Nos. 1 through 200) are pure album sales. The rest of its units are track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
2014 Forest Hills Drive sold 354,000 copies in it first week, and it also debuts at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart. The sum is the fifth-largest sales week for an album in 2014, and the biggest for a hip-hop set in over a year. The only larger weeks this year were racked up by Taylor Swift's 1989 (in its first two frames: 1.29 million and 402,000, respectively), One Direction's first week with Four (387,000) and Coldplay's arrival with Ghost Stories (383,000).
The last hip-hop album to score a bigger sales week than 2014 Forest Hills Drive's opener was Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2, when it launched at No. 1 with 792,000 in the week ending Nov. 10, 2013.
J. Cole has seen each of his albums grow in debut week sales. His first album, Cole World, started at No. 1 with 212,000 sold. His second set, Born Sinner, launched at No. 2 with 297,000 (and moved to No. 1 in its third chart week).
2014 Forest Hills Drive, released on Roc Nation through Columbia Records, is the sixth No. 1 for the Roc Nation label. The label’s founder, Jay Z, scored Roc Nation’s first leader with The Blueprint 3 (in 2009). It was followed by Jay Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne (2011), Cole’s Cole World and Born Sinner, and Jay Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail (2013).