Controversial rapper XXXTentacion reaches No. 1 on Billboard


NEW YORK • With little promotion, no mainstream hit single and abuse accusations hanging over his head, 20-year-old XXXTentacion has still managed to score his first Billboard No. 1 album.

The second official release by the Florida rapper, titled ?, finished with 131,000 album-equivalent units in its debut week, including 20,000 albums sold and 159 million streams, according to Nielsen.

Those digital numbers - a marked increase over his debut, 17, which landed at No. 2 in September - put XXXTentacion in a league, commercially, with acts such as Drake, Migos and Kendrick Lamar.

Such rabid online consumption stands in sharp contrast to XXXTentacion's reputation as a pariah in some cultural circles. He was arrested in 2016 on charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant woman. He is on house arrest awaiting trial on additional charges of witness tampering.

The No. 2 album this week comes from Metallica. Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, a No. 1 hit when it was released in November 2016, returned with 63,000 albums sold (but just two million streams) - thanks to a ticket bundle that gave away a copy to anyone attending the North American leg of the band's tour.

At No. 3 is the Black Panther soundtrack.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2018, with the headline 'Controversial rapper at No. 1'. Print Edition | Subscribe