Just a week after Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut topped charts, Juice Wrld’s own after-death album ‘Legends Never Die’ will take its place at No 1 on the Billboard album chart.
The late rapper’s album, released on Grade A/Interscope, is the year’s biggest debut so far, earning 497,000 equivalent album units in the US in the week ending July 16, according to Nielsen Music.
The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ had sold 444,000 units in April. ‘Legends Never Die’s’ chart bow is the most successful opening sales week since Taylor Swift’s 2019 LP ‘Lover,’ and the third biggest posthumous sales debut in over 20 years, after Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Life After Death’ and 2Pac’s ‘R U Still Down,’ both from 1997.
Units are made up of album sales, track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.
‘Legends Never Die’ logged 422 million on-demand streams in the US. That’s the biggest streaming week of 2020 for an album, and the fourth-most streams all-time in one week for any album. ‘Legends’ is currently dominating the upper reaches of Spotify, with seven songs in the US Top 50 including the No 1 single ‘Wishing Well.’ ‘Come & Go (feat Marshmello)’ and ‘Life’s a Mess (feat Halsey)’ are also in Spotify’s top 5.
The 21-year-old rapper, born Jarad Higgins, was one of the last breakout stars of the SoundCloud scene of the late 2010s, along with peers like Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. He broke through with a melodic, emo-influenced style epitomised by his 2018 single ‘Lucid Dreams,’ which has nearly 1.3 billion plays on Spotify. The Chicago rapper, like many in his scene, admitted to struggling with drug use, a common theme in his lyrics.
He earned acclaim from peers like Eminem, Future and Travis Scott, and until his death from an accidental drug overdose in December (just before the LA edition of the Rolling Loud festival), he was poised to take the scene to new commercial heights.
This is the first time that two different posthumous albums have consecutively topped the charts, and the first time that posthumous albums occupy the top two spots on the Billboard album chart.