BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
If there is a chart record left to break, assume that Future will smash it.
The prolific Atlanta rapper notched some notable stats on this week’s Billboard 200 album chart.
His latest album, “HNDRXX,” released Feb. 24, debuted at No. 1, pushing his also-latest album, “Future,” released a week earlier, down a notch to No. 2.
The feat makes Future the first act in nearly 61 years of Billboard’s charts to achieve back-to-back No. 1 albums in consecutive weeks. He’s also, according to Billboard, the first artist to succeed himself at No. 1 since 1968 (paging Simon & Garfunkel – your record has been broken!) and is the first solo performer to earn the distinction.
How did Future accomplish such a trifecta?
Well, it’s rare for an artist to release two albums within a two-week period. A few – Guns N’ Roses with “Use Your Illusion I” and “II” and Nelly with “Sweat” and “Suit” – have dropped a pair of albums at the same time.
But most significantly, in late 2014 Billboard changed its criteria for weekly rankings to better align with listeners’ consumption habits.
Now, instead of merely counting units sold, there are other benchmarks: 10 digital track sales from one album are equivalent to one album sale, while 1,500 song streams from an album equate to one album sale (all subscription services, such as Spotify, Google Play and Beats Music are included).
Future’s “HNDRXX” landed at No. 1 with 48,000 traditional album sales; 63,000 streaming equivalent albums; and 11,000 track equivalent albums.
Among Future’s other chart accolades this week, he’s the first artist since Prince – following his death last year – to own the No. 1 and No. 2 slots on the Billboard 200 simultaneously. Prince re-entered that chart on May 7 with “The Very Best of Prince” at No. 1 and the “Purple Rain” soundtrack at No. 2.
Future and Prince are among 10 acts to claim the Nos. 1 and 2 spots at the same time since 1963.
The last artist to do it prior to Prince? There’s Nelly again, in 2004, with “Suit” and “Sweat.”