Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, giving the late rapper his first chart-topping effort. The set was released on July 3 via Victor Victor Worldwide/Republic Records and bows with 251,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending July 9, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
Shoot for the Stars is billed as Pop Smoke’s first studio album, following a pair of mixtapes: Meet the Woo, V.1 and Meet the Woo, V.2. The latter became his first top 10 when it debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Feb. 22-dated chart.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new July 18-dated chart (where Shoot for the Stars debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on July 14.
News of Shoot for the Stars’ No. 1 arrival comes shortly after five people were arrested on July 9 in connection with Pop Smoke’s murder on Feb. 19. The 20-year-old Brooklyn artist (real name: Bashar Barakah Jackson) died at his Hollywood Hills home of a gunshot wound after suspects with masks entered the residence and shot him.
Shoot for the Stars’ launch of 251,000 equivalent album units is powered by 190,000 SEA units (equating to 268.44 million on-demand streams of the 19 tracks on the album), 59,000 in album sales (supported by an array of merchandise/album bundle offers) and 3,000 in TEA units.
Sixth Biggest Week of 2020: All told, Shoot for the Stars’ haul of 251,000 units marks the sixth-biggest week of 2020 for any album, and the third-largest for a hip-hop album. It trails the debut weeks of The Weeknd’s After Hours (April 4-dated chart; 444,000 units), BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 (March 7; 422,000), Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake (March 21; 288,000), Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By (Feb. 1; 279,000) and Lady Gaga’s Chromatica (June 13; 274,000).
Fourth Largest Streaming Week of 2020: Shoot for the Stars’ bow of 190,000 SEA units — and 268.44 million streams — is the fourth-largest streaming week of 2020. It’s surpassed only by the debut week of Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake (March 21-dated chart; 278,000 SEA units; 400.42 million streams), the second week of Eternal (March 28; 239,000 SEA units; 348.72 million streams) and the debut frame of Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes (May 16; 201,000 SEA units; 269.10 million streams).
First Posthumous No. 1 Album Since December 2018: Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon is the first posthumous album to reach No. 1 since XXXTentacion’s Skins opened atop the chart dated Dec. 22, 2018 (with 132,000 equivalent album units). The hip-hop artist died on June 18 of that year. Pop Smoke and XXXTentacion are two of four hip-hop artists with posthumous No. 1s. They follow The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, who each have three posthumous leaders.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical surges to a new peak, as the album vaults from No. 14 with 102,000 equivalent album units earned (up 294 percent). Of that sum, 32,000 are in album sales (up 592 percent).
The album is basking in the glow of the July 3 Disney+ streaming premiere of the filmed version of the Broadway stage show, with most of the original Broadway cast.
Of Hamilton’s unit haul of 102,000 for the week, 67,000 are in SEA units (equating to 90.41 million on-demand streams for the set’s tracks — easily the biggest streaming week ever for a cast recording), 32,000 are in album sales, and 4,000 are in TEA units.
The set previous peaked at No. 3 on the July 2, 2016-dated chart, following the 2016 Tony Awards, where the show won 11 trophies, including best musical.
With Hamilton’s rush back up the chart, it sets a couple new personal bests, as well as an eye-popping feat for cast recordings.
Highest-Charting Cast Album Since 1969: With Hamilton surging to No. 2, and surpassing its previous high of No. 3, the cast album is the highest charting cast album since the original cast recording of Hair spent 13 weeks at No. 1 in 1969 (on the April 26 through July 19-dated charts). Until this week, Hamilton was tied with the original Broadway cast recording of The Book of Mormon as the highest charting cast album since 1969, as Mormon peaked at No. 3 in 2011.
250 Weeks on the Chart: Hamilton celebrates its 250th week on the Billboard 200 chart. The set has never left the tally since its debut at No. 12 on the Oct. 17, 2015-dated list. That’s the longest run by any cast album since the highlights edition of the original London cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera, which has logged 331 weeks on the list between 1990 and 1996.
A Long, Long Climb to the Top Two: Hamilton reaches No. 2 in its 250th chart week (all consecutive) — the slowest climb to the top two ever on the chart in terms of weeks on chart.
Hamilton was released on Sept. 15, 2015, so it reaches the top two (and a new peak) just shy of the fifth anniversary of the album’s release.
The last album to take longer to reach the top two, in terms of counting between release date and peak date, is Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits. The album re-entered at its peak of No. 2 on the Oct. 21, 2017-dated chart following Petty’s death on Oct. 2, 2017. The album was released on Nov. 16, 1993. When it re-entered at No. 2, it was the 235th week on the chart for the album, as it had not been charting consistently since 1993.
Largest Week, by Units, for a Cast Album: With 102,000 equivalent album units earned, Hamilton tallies the biggest week for any cast recording since Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data began tracking albums by units in December 2014. Hamilton beats its own record, as it previously held the biggest week, by units, for a cast album since December 2014 — when it net 62,000 units on the July 2, 2016-dated chart.
Biggest Sales Week for a Cast Recording Since … Hamilton: With 32,000 copies of the album sold in the latest tracking week, Hamilton tallies the largest sales week for a traditional cast album since Hamilton itself moved 37,000 copies over the Christmas week of 2016 (reflected on the Jan. 14, 2017-dated charts). (Since then, one album categorized as a cast album sold more, but it’s not a traditional musical show recording: Bruce Springsteen’s one-man Broadway show Springsteen on Broadway saw its album open with 38,000 copies sold on the Dec. 29, 2018-dated chart.)
Hamilton – A Rare Hot-Selling Cast Album: Since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking sales in 1991, only five traditional musical cast recordings (six if you count Springsteen on Broadway) have ever sold at least 32,000 copies in a single week. Hamilton has now done it six times, the original Broadway cast recording of The Book of Mormon did it twice in 2011, the original Broadway cast recording of Rent managed it once (with its debut week of 43,000 in 1996), the original London cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera did it twice (once in 1992 and once in 1993) and then the Highlights edition of the original London cast recording of Phantom did it eight times between 1992 and 1996. (And then there’s Springsteen on Broadway, which opened with 38,000 sold in 2018.)
So far, Hamilton has sold 1.97 million copies in the U.S.
Back on the new Billboard 200 chart, Lil Baby’s My Turn falls from No. 1 to No. 3 with 62,000 equivalent album units earned (down 11 percent), while DaBaby’s former No. 1 Blame It On Baby slips from No. 3 to No. 4 with 36,000 units (down 8 percent).
Post Malone’s previous leader Hollywood’s Bleeding dips 4-5 with just under 36,000 units (down 8 percent).The Weeknd’s chart-topping After Hours shifts down 5-6 with a little more than 29,000 equivalent album units (down 7 percent), Harry Styles’ former No. 1 Fine Line backtracks 6-7 with 29,000 units (down 7 percent) and Polo G’s The Goat falls 7-8 with 28,000 units (down 8 percent).
Lil Uzi Vert’s former leader Eternal Atake descends 8-9 with 27,000 equivalent album units earned (down 11 percent), and Lil Durk’s Just Cause Y’all Waited 2 closes out the top 10, tumbling 2-10 with 27,000 units (down 36 percent, after its surge back up the chart a week ago, from No. 56, following its deluxe reissue with bonus tracks).