Kendrick Lamar is about to do it again.
Last week, the Compton rapper announced that his long-awaited fifth studio album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers will arrive on May 13. While still three weeks out, sales projections are already in.
According to preliminary estimates from HITS Daily Double, Kendrick’s first album in five years is expected to debut in the vicinity of 350,000 equivalent album units.
Kendrick’s 2017 album DAMN. opened with 603,000 before selling 11 million units worldwide. HITS notes that while Kendrick’s new release will “almost certainly spur an equally intense level of consumption,” it will occur mostly on streaming services.
While the numbers are lower, the industry has had to reevaluate its conception of a huge first-week number. Back when Kendrick released DAMN., album sales were a more meaningful factor and bundling was also permitted. Streaming has since become the dominant consumption platform.
That number would still easily give Kendrick the biggest first week of 2022. Gunna currently holds the title with DS4EVER, which opened with 150,300 equivalent album units in January.
Back in August, the pgLang founder revealed that this would be his final album for TDE. “As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years,” he wrote in an open letter. “There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown.”
Following his album announcement, Kendrick returned to the stage as a surprise guest during Baby Keem’s set at Coachella where he performed “Family Ties” and “Vent.”