Kanye West's fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak, debuts at #1 with first-week sales of 450,000. That's less than half of what West's last album, Graduation, sold in its first week in September 2007. Graduation sold 957,000 copies out-of-the-chute, boosted by West's high-profile face-off with rival 50 Cent and by a monster single, "Stronger," which hit #1 on the Hot 100 the same week the album debuted at #1. West's second album, Late Registration, opened with sales of 860,000 in September 2005, boosted by similar factors. West had stirred national controversy on Sept. 2 with explosive comments ("George Bush doesn't care about black people") during a post-Katrina telethon on NBC-TV. Also, his single "Gold Digger" hit #1 on the Hot 100 the week the album topped the chart.
West hasn't picked a fight with anybody lately, and his recent singles, while successful, haven't reached #1 on the Hot 100. "Love Lockdown" has climbed as high as #3; "Heartless" has reached #4.
The fall-off can't beRead More »from Week Ending Nov. 30, 2008: West’s Numbers Head South