Drake has been the numbers king in rap, but he may have been dethroned by King Kendrick this week.
According to HITS Daily Double, Kung Fu Kenny scored the year's biggest debut with 610,000 album equivalent units, with about 362,000 of those copies being sold. Those numbers outdo Drake's 505,000 with More Life, breaking the record for the biggest debut on the Sales Plus Streaming Chart. Kendrick also broke Ed Sheeran's record for best-selling week of the year; Sheeran's album sold 350,000 copies.
TDE's strategy for visibility and availability with DAMN. was intentional. Kendrick whet appetites with the release of "The Heart Pt. 4," dropping the date of April 7, 2017 and then releasing the striking music video for "HUMBLE." Many fans thought the album was dropping on April 7, but he instead used that date to make a pre-order link available.
The Thursday before its midnight release, LeBron James previewed the album on his Instagram page. Shortly after the album hit the Net on at midnight last Thursday, physical copies were made available. CDs were available in stores, and Kendrick sold t-shirt bundles with CD and vinyl copies of the album from the TDE store.
Kendrick also had an epic Coachella performance days after the album's release, and released another stellar music video with the Don Cheadle-featuring "DNA." Then, yesterday (April 20), he held an album signing at the Best Buy in Compton, where thousands of fans lined up for a chance to meet him.
Drake still holds the streaming-only record and many other records. More Life raked in 385 million streams in its first week - breaking Drake's previous record of 245 million with Views. But with great music and effective strategy, Kendrick Lamar took the crown this week.