The Weeknd’s latest album, “After Hours,” has topped the weekly Billboard chart for a third time, beating out new releases from the Nashville star Sam Hunt and Rod Wave, an emerging singer and rapper.
“After Hours” holds at No. 1 with the equivalent of 90,000 sales in the United States, according to Nielsen Music data cited by Billboard, down 35 percent from the week before. Its current total includes 89 million song streams and 23,000 copies of the LP sold as a full package. “After Hours” is the first album to hold the No. 1 spot on the chart for three consecutive weeks since Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” in September.
Although the streaming total for “After Hours” has remained strong, its chart position was helped once again by deals on the Weeknd’s website that gave fans copies of the album with sales of merchandise — a widespread practice that has drawn concerns throughout the industry of chart manipulation.
Wave, a 21-year-old from St. Petersburg, Fla., with a distinctive style of singing and rapping, opened at No. 2 with the equivalent of 72,000 sales of his new album, “Pray 4 Love,” including 106 million streams.
After releasing mixtapes for a few years, Wave has made a quick push into the mainstream, with two major-label releases in five months. In a review, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times hailed “Pray 4 Love” as “wildly impressive” and called Wave “a true singer who also can rap, and whose cross-pollination between the two feels completely grounded in R&B principles.”
Hunt, a country singer-songwriter who has long made hip-hop part of his palette, opened at No. 5 with his latest, “Southside,” which had 37 million streams — a relatively high number for a country album.
Also this week, Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” stays put at No. 3 and Lil Baby’s “My Turn” is in fourth place.