What a time to be alive! Drake and Future's highly-anticipated, "Internet-breaking" collaborative project actually came to fruition, taking over not only the OVO Sound Beats 1 radio show Sunday night but also the collective attention of anyone familiar with either artist (so basically anyone who knows about rap). Perhaps even more incredibly, the project mixalbumtape is projected to sell over 500k copies in its first week, according to Chart News and "label insiders" (the latter via Hits Daily Double).
In other words...WTF? This album might actually sell over half a million copies in a shortened week (it came out Sunday, as opposed to the now industry-wide Friday release schedule)???
Your thoughts on the album notwithstanding (reaction has ranged from "instant classic" to "utter trash," so you can read our 1 Listen review of the album and make your own call), these are HUGE numbers, especially for an album only currently available for purchase on iTunes and also available for stream on Apple Music. Obviously though, there should be a necessary asterik next to the word "projected," as these are in no way guaranteed. We are only about 24 hours away from the release.
Still, these are potentially incredible numbers. Let's look at these projections in context. Here are the top ten debut sales weeks for rap albums in 2015, courtesy of Billboard (note it's dated mid-August):
You might have noticed, in addition to the fact that Ludacris actually made the top ten, that a first week sales total of over 500k would make WATTBA the highest-performing album release of the year, surpassing both Drake and Future's respective solo studio efforts. You might expect that sales would go up for a joint project, as both fanbases would likely combine, but let's add even more context, especially considering everyone's seeming eagerness to compare WTT to WATTBA.
Kanye and Jay Z's Watch The Throne - the album that spawned several multi-platinum singles - moved only 436k units first week upon its 2011 release, failing to outperform either Ye' or Hov's prior solo albums (MBDTF and BP3, respectively) based on first week sales. In that case, we saw that even though two superstars joined forces, they weren't neccesarily any more powerful than when they were solo. Yet if these numbers ring true, WATTBA might do just that, in addition to easily besting WTT. In any case, it should only add to arguments in favor of Drake and Future's current dominance that they might outsell those two nearly four years later.
The album was released through Cash Money with Epic Records, so even if performance falls short of expectations, you might as well cue up a Birdman hand rub, as the Cash Moneysupervillain overlord may just be the biggest winner of all. More on this story as it develops.
[By Brendan Varan. He enjoyed the project but is turning his focus to Views and Ape Shit. Follow him on Twitter.]