A little over a week ago, Drake announced a surprise new album, “Honestly, Nevermind,” and released it online a few hours later. Just like clockwork, it has now gone to No. 1, becoming Drake’s 11th album to top the Billboard 200 chart.
“Honestly, Nevermind,” Drake’s seventh studio LP — and his 17th full-length release overall, counting compilations and mixtapes — opened with the equivalent of 204,000 sales in the United States, including 250 million streams, according to the tracking service Luminate. Those figures were enough to send the dance-heavy “Honestly” to No. 1 by a comfortable margin. But they were low by the standards of Drake, who for more than a decade has routinely posted gigantic numbers for new work.
The album’s 204,000 equivalent sales — a measurement that reconciles streams with downloads and any traditional album purchases — are a fraction of the 613,000 that Drake posted for the opening of his last studio album, “Certified Lover Boy” (2021). And they are Drake’s lowest since “Care Package,” a compilation of previously released tracks, which opened (at No. 1, naturally) with 109,000 in 2019. Apart from “Care Package,” no Drake album has begun with fewer than half a million equivalents since “What a Time to Be Alive,” a mixtape with the rapper Future from 2015, when streaming represented a minority of overall music consumption. (As of last year, streaming makes up 83 percent of recorded music sales revenue in the United States.)
Still, a No. 1 is a No. 1. And with 11 of them, Drake has now matched Barbra Streisand and Bruce Springsteen. Ahead of them on the list of artists landing the most chart-toppers on the Billboard 200 are Jay-Z (with 14) and the Beatles (19).
Also this week, BTS’s “Proof,” last week’s top seller, falls to No. 4. Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” is No. 2, Harry Styles’s “Harry’s House” is No. 3 and Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” is No. 5.