Whenever Kanye West has a new album to share with the world, it’s bound to be a massive success, no matter what genre label it fits under. A few years ago, the rapper’s music took a creative turn into religious territory, and he quickly found himself dominating Billboard’s various Christian and gospel rankings, which came as a surprise to many fans. Now, as his latest collection arrives on a number of tallies, the musician tops his own previous best showing, proving that even though he may be relatively new to this field, he is only competing with himself at this point.
West’s new album Donda launches at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200, Billboard’s all-encompassing ranking of the most-consumed releases in the U.S., with the largest debut of 2021. The set, named after his late mother Donda West, starts with 309,000 equivalent units, easily enough to put it in first place. That impressive sum also ensures the project kicks off its time on both the Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts at No. 1 as well.
In fact, according to Billboard, Donda is the first release to debut atop both of those tallies of the most successful religious music in America with more than 300,000 units shifted, at least since the rankings began using the current methodology, which combines pure sales with streaming and track sale equivalents. West’s latest now holds the record for the biggest start on either tally, with the hip-hop titan grabbing that title from…himself.
Before this week, the record for the largest debut on both the Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts also belonged to West. His first entry on the two lists, 2019’s Jesus Is King, easily conquered the tallies when it arrived with 264,000 equivalent units, which was also enough to make the No. 1 album of any kind in the U.S. that frame. It’s still living inside the top 10 on both religious rankings.
Donda was so successful in its first full tracking week, West also dominates the corresponding Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs charts. The rapper controls the highest 23 spots on both rankings with tunes from the new album, occupying 92% of both lists, which feature 25 spaces.
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