The Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, fresh from a controversy over an anti-Semitic lyric, opened at No. 1 on Billboard’s latest album chart, while holiday streaming sent Nat King Cole to the Top 10 for the first time in 53 years.
21 Savage’s album, “I Am > I Was” (Slaughter Gang/Epic) — you can read that title as “I Am Greater Than I Was” — reached the top spot with the equivalent of 131,000 sales in the United States, most of that coming from streams, according to data from Nielsen.
Last week 21 Savage briefly flashed through the social media outrage cycle when LeBron James quoted a lyric from one of the songs on “I Am > I Was,” writing on Instagram: “We been getting that Jewish money/Everything is Kosher.” (This was a day after James said N.F.L. team owners have a “slave mentality.”) Both men subsequently made statements, with 21 Savage tweeting, “I’m sorry if I offended everybody never my intention I love all people.”
The Jewish people I know are very wise with there money so that’s why I said we been gettin Jewish money I never thought anyone would take offense I’m sorry if I offended everybody never my intention I love all people
— Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) December 25, 2018
Also on this week’s album chart, the rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie opened at No. 2 with “Hoodie SZN” (Highbridge/Atlantic), while streaming pushed several holiday albums high.
Michael Bublé’s “Christmas,” a seasonal hit eight years running now, climbed one spot to No. 3. Cole’s album “The Christmas Song,” originally released in 1963 — featuring his hit by the same name, better known by its opening line, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” — landed at No. 7 this week, putting Cole in the Top 10 of Billboard’s album chart for first time since 1965. (His holiday album had previously peaked at No. 15.)
Carey’s “Merry Christmas,” which includes her hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” landed at No. 8 — thanks in part to huge streaming numbers on Christmas Eve. It was the first time that album reached the Top 10 since 1995.
Kodak Black’s album “Dying to Live,” last week’s No. 1, fell to No. 9 in its second week out.