For the first time in the Billboard 200 chart's history, rap albums have held down the top three spots in three successive weeks.
J. Cole's "Born Sinner" is No. 1 this week, followed by Wale's "The Gifted" and Kanye West's "Yeezus" at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. A week ago, the order was: Wale, Cole and West. And, the week before that: West, Cole and Mac Miller (with his "Watching Movies With the Sound Off").
There have been two previous times when we've had two consecutive weeks where the top three were all rap albums.
It last happened on the July 13-20, 2002 charts, when Nelly's "Nellyville," Eminem's "The Eminem Show" and Nas' "God's Favorite" ruled at Nos. 1-3 (July 13). It was immediately followed by Nelly, Eminem and the compilation "Irv Gotti Presents The Inc" (July 20).
Before that, the feat last happened on Oct. 17-24, 1998. Jay-Z's "Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life" led in both weeks, with OutKast's "Aquemini" and A Tribe Called Quest's "The Love Movement" rounding out the top three on Oct. 17. The next week, Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" and Bizzy Bone's "Heaven'z Movie" were Nos. 2 and 3.
Speaking of Jay-Z ... His latest album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail," should easily top next week's Billboard 200 chart. Industry sources forecast the set to debut with 475,000 to 500,000 sold in the week ending July 14. It will give Jay-Z his lucky 13th No. 1, extending his record for the most chart-toppers among solo artists.
If he tops the list -- which is pretty much a certainty -- he'll mark another bit of chart history: It will be the first time that four different rap albums have consecutively spent their initial week at No. 1. We last had three in a row between Sept. 3-24, 2011. That's when Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne," the Game's "The R.E.D. Album" and Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter IV" all consecutively spent their initial weeks at No. 1.
The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, July 17.