We knew it was going to be a big deal, but now we have an idea of exactly how big: Complex cover subject Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which was released today, is projected to sell between 700,000 and 750,000 copies in its first week, industry sources have told Billboard.

That's enough to net Eminem his seventh No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, and it also will give him the second-highest first week sales of any artist this year. The best first week sales of 2013 belong to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, which moved 968,000 copies in its opening week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The previous No. 2 was Drake's Nothing Was The Same, which sold 658,000 copies.

The projections, which are based on data such as orders from retailers, digital sales data and other indicators, suggest that MMLP2 will closely follow the performance of 2010's Recovery, which debuted at No. 1 with 741,000 first week sales, and top 2009's Relapse, which debuted at No. 1 with 608,000. With seven No. 1s, Eminem will also surpass Kanye West and Nas (who both have six) to become the hip-hop artist with the second-most No.1 albums, behind Jay Z's 13.

Just three hip-hop albums have sold 700,000 or more copies in their first week since 2008: Recovery and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (1.01 million) and Tha Carter IV (964,000). In other words, if first week sales are any indication, Eminem's claim to Rap God is perfectly intact.

[via Billboard]

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