On December 9, J. Cole released 4 Your Eyez Only, his first new album in two years. Despite a 24-month gap between his last full-length release and his latest release, however, the North Carolina native still managed to have the third most-streamed album of 2016—2014 Forest Hills Drive.
That's right, according to BuzzAngle Music, a leading music consumption analytics company that partnered with HDD earlier this year, J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, released on December 9, 2014, was the third most streamed album of the 2016 calendar year.
In total, 2014 Forest Hills Drive was streamed 1,186,961,972 times. Incredibly, only Drake's Views (2.7 billion) and Rihanna's Anti (1.3 billion)—both released in 2016—were streamed more.
Given that the album, which was certified double Platinum by the RIAA earlier this year, produced only four singles, none of which charted on Billboard higher than #36 ("No Role Modelz"), this accomplishment is even more impressive.
It should be noted that BuzzAngle does not provide the public with a list of all its stream sources, which could explain why 2014 Forest Hills Drive, currently available everywhere music is legally streaming, is charting higher than Kanye's The Life of Pablo (No. 4) and Beyoncé's Lemonade (No. 45), the former a TIDAL exclusive for six weeks and the latter still only available for streaming on the Jay Z-owned service.