Rick Ross Rules With Fifth No. 1 Album On Billboard 200
Rapper Rick Ross collects his fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as Mastermind arrives atop the list. The set sold 179,000 copies in the week ending March 9, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
While it starts with slightly fewer sales than his last album -- 2012's God Forgives, I Don't launched at No. 1 with 218,000 -- the first-week sales for Mastermind are about on par with Ross' usual debut frames. God Forgives is Ross' best sales week ever, while his five other major-label releases have bowed with a start between 158,000 and 198,000.
All six of Ross' albums released through a major label have reached the top two positions on the chart, with only 2010's Teflon Don missing the No. 1 slot.
Among all rap acts, Ross joins just a handful of artists that have notched five No. 1 albums. DMX and 2Pac also have five No. 1s, while Nas and Kanye West each have six. Eminem has seven, and Jay Z leads with 13.
Debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 is Pharrell Williams' second album, G I R L. The singer-rapper-producer’s new set sold a larger-than-expected 112,000 in its first week. The album's lead single, the inescapable "Happy," hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 three weeks ago. One day before the release of G I R L on Monday, March 3, Williams performed "Happy" on the Academy Awards, where it was nominated for best original song. While the cut didn't win the trophy for Williams ("Let It Go" from Frozen took the honor), the global exposure certainly didn't hurt him.
The decision to release G I R L on an off-cycle Monday (bucking the trend of normally releasing albums on a Tuesday) motivated the rest of the industry's major new releases last week to move to Monday as well. That jump mirrors what has happened in the past whenever a significant artist (say, Justin Timberlake last year with The 20/20 Experience, 2 of 2) opts to release an album on Monday instead of Tuesday.
The Frozen soundtrack, fresh off its Academy Award win for "Let It Go," is pushed down 2-3 on the Billboard 200, but gains by 9% in sales (100,000 for the week). The album has now sold 1.3 million to date, and has sold 994,000 copies in 2014. Next week it will certainly become the first album to surpass 1 million this year.
Lea Michele of Fox TV's Glee arrives at No. 4 with her debut album, Louder. It sold 60,000 copies in its first week.
The Emmy Award-nominated actress has visited the Billboard charts previously as a member of the Glee ensemble and as part of the cast of the Broadway musical "Spring Awakening." The Glee cast has notched 22 albums on the Billboard 200, with three of them hitting No. 1.
Country group Eli Young Band is the fourth (of five) debuts in the top 10 this week, as the act's fifth album, 10,000 Towns, enters at No. 5 with 36,000. It’s the best sales weekend highest chart position for the act, which previously topped out at No. 6 in 2011 with Life at Best (35,000).
Beck's Morning Phase slips 3-6 in its second week with 33,000 (down 62%), and Lorde's Pure Heroine jumps 11-7 with 31,000 (up 5%). Last week's No. 1, ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron, falls to No. 8 with 30,000 (down 78%). Eric Church's The Outsiders dips 7-9 with a little more than 30,000 (down 29%).
Ashanti rounds out the top 10, as Braveheart — her first album since 2008 — arrives at No. 10 with 28,000. Released on the singer's own label, Written Entertainment, it is distributed by eOne Music. (The set also happens to feature a guest turn from the artist behind this week's No. 1 album, Rick Ross.)
In total, Braveheart is Ashanti's fifth top 10 album. All five of her studio releases have reached that region of the chart.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Pharrell's "Happy" remains at No. 1, selling 490,000 downloads — the biggest week for a digital song since Katy Perry's "Roar" debuted with 557,000 in the week ending Aug. 18, 2013. Overall, "Happy" tallies the 13th-largest sales week ever for a digital song and the eighth-largest for a non-debuting title.
John Legend's "All of Me" reaches a new peak and its largest sales week as it jumps 4-2 with 210,000 (up 6%). It displaces Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" (featuring 2 Chainz), which falls 2-3 with 195,000 (down 10%).
In the week after it won the Academy Award for best original song, "Let It Go," as performed by Idina Menzel, jumps 5-4 with its best sales week yet: 185,000 (up 42%). Itstotal sales rise to 1.7 million.
Perry's "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, slips 3-5 with 182,000 (down 14%) while Bastille's "Pompeii" is steady at No. 6 with 117,000 (down 8%).
Coldplay's new song "Magic" debuts at No. 7 with 114,000. The cut was released March 3, and is the first single from the band's forthcoming studio album, Ghost Stories, which is due May 19. The rock band's last album, 2011's Mylo Xyloto, was led by the single "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," which debuted at No. 17 on Digital Songs with 85,000 from only three days of sales. A week later, after its first full week of availability, it jumped to No. 7 with 136,000.
Aloe Blacc's "The Man" descends 7-8 with 108,000 (down 10%), and Lorde's "Team" is a non-mover at No. 9 with 90,000 (down 10%).
The Chainsmokers' fast-rising hit "#SELFIE" zooms from No. 20 to No. 10 with 88,000 sold (up 64%). The cut also rises 33-27 on the Pop Songs airplay chart (known as Mainstream Top 40 on Billboard.biz).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending March 9) totaled 5 million units, down 1% compared with the sum last week (5.1 million) and down 9% compared with the comparable sales week of 2013 (5.5 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 47.8 million,down 15% compared with the same total at this point last year (55.9 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 23.04 million downloads, up less than 1% compared with last week (22.99 million) and down 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2013 (25.4 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 247.1 million, down 11% compared with the same total at this point last year (278.8 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2013 when: Bon Jovi's What About Now debuted at No. 1 with 101,000 and David Bowie's "The Next Day" started at No. 2 with 85,000.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.