The streaming champions of modern hip-hop have not yet hit their ceiling.
On April 20, the day of its release, the rapper J. Cole’s new album, “KOD,” logged more than 36.5 million Spotify streams in the United States, setting a new first-day record for the service. That lasted all of a week, as Post Malone’s “Beerbongs & Bentleys” came along and claimed nearly 48 million first-day Spotify streams on Friday. And then there is Drake, looming over them all, with a new album, “Scorpion,” planned for June.
For now, though, J. Cole can celebrate.
“KOD,” which the New York Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica said “has the feel of a casual placeholder between bigger ideas,” hit No. 1 easily on this week’s Billboard chart with a total of 397,000 album equivalent units — the biggest week of the year so far — including 174,000 in sales and 323 million streams, according to Nielsen. That digital windfall is the largest streaming week of the year (surpassing Migos’s 225 million for “Culture II”) and the third-largest of all time behind Drake’s “More Life” (385 million) and Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” (341 million). “KOD,” J. Cole’s fifth album, also marks his fifth consecutive Billboard No. 1.
Overall, Mr. Cole, the studiously low-key North Carolina M.C., had five of the Top 10 streaming tracks for the week, according to Nielsen; the song “ATM” was streamed more than 42.5 million times alone, second for the week behind Drake’s current No. 1 hit, “Nice for What.”