Kendrick Lamar is about to do it again.
Last week, the Compton rapper announced his long-awaited fifth studio album Mr. Morale & the big steppers will arrive on May 13th. While there are still three weeks to go, the sales forecasts are already in.
According to preliminary estimates from HITS Daily Double, Kendrick’s first album in five years is expected to hit close to 350,000 equivalent album units.
Kendrick’s 2017 album DAMN IT. opened with 603,000 before selling 11 million units worldwide. HITS notes that while Kendrick’s new version “will almost certainly spur an equally intense level of consumption,” it will primarily appear on streaming services.
While the numbers are lower, the industry has had to reevaluate its notion of a huge number in the first week. Back when Kendrick was released DAMN IT., album sales were a more meaningful factor and bundling was also allowed. Streaming has since become the dominant consumption platform.
That number would still easily give Kendrick the biggest first week of 2022. Gunna is currently holding the title DS4EVERwhich opened in January with 150,300 equivalent album units.
Back in August, the pgLang founder announced that this would be his last album for TDE. “As I produce my last TDE album, I feel joy to have been part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years,” he wrote in an open letter. “There is beauty in perfection. And always believe in the unknown.”
Following his album announcement, Kendrick returned to the stage as a surprise guest during Baby Keem’s set at Coachella, performing “Family Ties” and “Vent.”