The past few weeks have been amazing for hip-hop, as the Empire soundtrack and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly have led both the Billboard 200 to three straight weeks of rap at no. 1. Although it's only been a two-week streak on the Album Sales chart (Empire was outsold by Madonna's Rebel Heart during its first week), this week is still newsworthy as the Top 3 spots on the chart are all held by hip-hop albums.
At the top, of course, is Lamar and his newest collection, which sold 102,000 full copies during its second week. That makes Butterfly, as on the Billboard 200, the first R&B/hip-hop album to spend two weeks on top since Beyoncé's self-titled record in 2013. Empire has spent every one of its three weeks on the charts at no. 2, after selling another 61,000 copies last week.
The no. 3 album this week belongs to newcomer Action Bronson, who makes it a trio atop the chart with his Mr. Wonderful, which sold 40,000 copies. That's a huge boost from his last record, thanks in part to his signing with a major label.
No. 4 is also a debut, although not one of the hip-hop variety. Kidz Bop 28 comes in with 36,500 copies sold, thanks to lyrical contributions from other of this week's Top 10 residents, such as Ed Sheeran.
Taylor Swift, like Kidz Bop, fares better on the Album Chart than the Billboard 200 as she doesn't allow streaming of her work, but she takes the same place on both charts this week with 1989. The album sold 33,500 copies and took no. 5. Another standard in the Top 10, Sam Smith, places no. 6 this week with In The Lonely Hour, which got a sales boost to 32,000 copies.
Another rapper makes his debut this week, after failing to do so on the Billboard 200: Earl Sweatshirt and his second album, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, sold 29,500 copies last week. The aforementioned Sheeran follows, selling another 25,000 copies of x, and Fifty Shades of Grey comes in right behind with 24,500 copies sold.
One more debut gets some time in the sun thanks to strict album sales: Van Morrison and Duets: Reworking The Catalogue sold 21,000 copies.