By Maurice Bobb
The numbers are in and from the looks of it, the sales race between Kanye West’s Yeezus and J. Cole’s Born Sinner came down to the wire. Yeezy’s sixth studio effort was projected to win hip-hop’s much-ballyhooed June 18 battle by a mile, but with a final tally of 328,800 units sold, he only bested Cole’s sophomore project, which moved 297,922 units, by a yard.
Ye’s album leaked just days before it was to hit shelves, but Cole’s latest leaked more than a week before his official date, even though it was already moved up a week to compete with the “Black Skinhead” MC.
“I could’ve left it right where I was and just gone head-to-head with Wale and seen what happened there. I would’ve had a much better chance, but it wasn’t about the sales,” Cole said during his visit to “RapFix Live.” “That would be a nice bonus, but it’s more about the statement, [and putting] my name in the conversation. I’ma throw my name in the hat. This is art, and I can’t compete against the Kanye West celebrity and the status that he’s earned just from being a genius. But I can put my name in the hat and tell you that I think my album is great and you be the judge and you decide.”
Although he came in second, Cole made huge gains, netting a 26% increase in sales over the sales of his 2011 debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story. Kanye secured his fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 but fell short of the 360-380k projections and marks his lowest first-week performance ever. Prior to the critically-acclaimed Yeezus, his 2004 set The College Dropout was the lowest chart entry, moving 441,000 copies.
Rounding out the Top 3 is Mac Miller’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off, which moved 101,795 copies, a slight drop-off from his debut, Blue Slide Park, which topped Billboard back in 2011 with 145,000 during its first week. Mac’s second studio album was projected to move 100k and did just that, a formidable feat considering that his album also leaked and he had no official radio single.