After a season's worth of hype, a pair of much talked about listening sessions and a miraculous lack of leaks, Jay-Z's and Kanye West's Watch the Throne has finally staked its claim at retail. The collaboration album debuts comfortably at #1 with 436,000 copies sold, making it the second biggest debut of the year after Lady Gaga's Born This Way.
The total is roughly on par with early projections, which had the album selling between 400,000 and 500,000. Earlier this week, Watch the Throne broke the iTunes sales record for one-week sales, thanks in large part to its release as an iTunes exclusive for the first four days. The unusual strategy skewed sales of the album toward the digital, with 320k out of the total 436k being sold via online retailers.
This mark's Jay-Z's 12th number one album, and the fifth for Kanye.
WTT was first released to physical retailers, so next week's numbers will provide a better indication of how the album performed on shelves.
Two other notable hip hop debuts came from Ace Hood and last week's other tag team offering, Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame's Ferrari Boyz. Ace's Blood Sweat and Tears lands at #8 with 26,000 sold, while Gucci and Waka bow at 21, with 17,000.
Elsewhere on the charts, the year's best-selling album, Adele's 21, dips to #4 with a solid 73,000 copies sold. Beyoncé's 4, meanwhile, sticks around the top 10 with an additional 27,000 units landing her at #7.
(Photo: Roc Nation, Island Def Jam)