UPDATED 5/8, 4:38 p.m. ET: It looks like it's going to be a close one. Although the final numbers from Billboard have yet to come in, HITS Daily Double is projecting that Drake's Dark Lane Demo Tapes will come in the No. 2 spot behind Kenny Chesney's Here and Now. HDD reports that Here and Now is on track to achieve 234,000 album-equivalent units while Dark Lane Demo Tapes is looking to get 226,000.
Drake ends a decade long streak of #1 album debuts in the US. He had sent nine new projects in a row to the top spot.— chart data (@chartdata) May 8, 2020
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Whenever Drake delivers a new project, it's pretty much guaranteed it'll secure him another No. 1 debut. But this time around, the rapper has some serious competition.
According to first-week projections reported by Hits Daily Double, Drake's Dark Lane Demo Tapes is on track to secure the top spot next week with an estimated 230,000 to 255,000 earned units—18,000 to 23,000 of which will come from pure sales. However, country star Kenny Chesney is closely trailing Drake in early projections, as his Here and Now album is expected to garner 220,000 to 235,000 units, with 210,000 to 220,000 in traditional sales. HDD also points out ticket bundling is likely a big factor in Chesney's strong showing.
If the country singer is able to come out on top, it'll mark the end of Drake's streak. The OVO artist has secured a total of nine No. 1 debuts over the past decade; the most recent being 2019's Care Package compilation project, which moved 109,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. By comparison, Drizzy's last studio album Scorpion took the No. 1 slot with 732,000 units in its first week.
Drake spoke about Dark Lane Demo Tapes during an appearance on Lil Wayne's Young Money Radio on Friday.
"We pieced a lot of those songs together and I put a few new joints on there, but really it was just instead of dropping a single right now," he said. "It's an interesting time for us all as musicians to figure out how this works and what people need. And I just felt like people would appreciate maybe a body of something to listen to as opposed to just one isolated song."
Drake is now preparing to release his much-anticipated sixth studio album, which is expected to arrive this summer.