Kanye West’s Jesus Is King debuted at a familiar spot for the Chicago-bred rapper—No. 1. Although the album was met with a mixture of praise and critique, Jesus Is King earned Ye his ninth consecutive No. 1 debut, tying him with Eminem for the longest Billboard Top 200 No. 1 debut streak in history.
According to Nielsen Music, Jesus Is King earned 264,000 equivalent album units during its first week of release, with 109,000 stemming from album sales and the rest driven by online streaming.
With the new album sitting atop the Billboard 200 chart, Kanye continues his nine-record streak of No. 1 album debuts. The only LP to miss the No. 1 spot was his 2004 The College Dropout, which eventually peaked at No. 2. Eminem is the only other artist to have nine consecutive No. 1 debuts, starting with his The Marshall Mathers LP all the way through Kamikaze. The two rappers surpassed The Beatles in chart-toppers, who had eight consecutive records reach No. 1, although debuting below. JAY-Z still maintains the most Billboard Top 200 No. 1 debuts with 14. However, they were not consecutive.
Jesus Is King has also earned Kanye his most successful streaming week ever. Billboard reports that the record launched with 196.9 million on-demand audio streams, surpassing Kanye’s previous highest streaming week with Ye, which garnered 180.1 million.
Kanye only sits behind Post Malone for 2019’s biggest hip hop and R&B albums sales week. Jesus Is King sold over 109,000 copies in its first week, while Posty’s Hollywood’s Bleeding sold 200,000. However, Kanye bolstered his sales with exclusive merchandise, album bundles and recent performances.
While Jesus Is King has received mixed editorial, fan and celebrity reviews, much of the support for the album has come from Gospel and Christian artists.
In an interview with Billboard, Christian hip hop artist Lecrae shared his views on the album.
“Kanye is such a polarizing figure and his movements create ripple effects in culture, particularly music,” he said. “Traditionally Gospel is seen as singing. Those of us Christians who rap were removed from the Gospel charts on that technicality. His deeper impact is perhaps on the Christian rap community. There is a lot more intersectionality there.”
While Lecrae admits some backlash for Kanye’s first Gospel album was expected, he hopes that the record’s content will inspire more Christian lyrics in the hip hop genre.
“People could see themselves in Kanye and therefore see themselves as Christ followers,” he said.