Ye Has a No. 1 Album for the 11th Time With ‘Vultures 1’

A year and a half ago, the career of Ye — the rapper, producer and controversy generator formerly known as Kanye West — seemed all but dead. After a series of antisemitic remarks in late 2022, Ye lost his major-label record deal and booking agent, along with lucrative fashion partnerships with Adidas, Balenciaga and other brands.

But he was never quite abandoned by many of his fans. And now Ye has the 11th No. 1 album of his career with “Vultures 1,” a joint LP with the singer Ty Dolla Sign that Ye released on his own, after previewing it this month with arena events in Chicago and Long Island where tickets went for $140 and up. Ye and Ty Dolla Sign’s new LP beats “Coming Home,” the comeback release by Usher, who had perhaps the greatest platform available to any performer: the Super Bowl halftime show.

Ye had been teasing “Vultures 1” since late last year, and, fitting a pattern that long preceded his recent industry-pariah status, the album’s rollout was stumbling and chaotic. After its release to digital services following a listening event on Feb. 9, the LP’s availability briefly flickered, and Ye was quickly accused of borrowing music by Black Sabbath and Donna Summer without permission.

Last week, “Vultures 1” again disappeared for a short time from Apple Music and was made unavailable as a download, while behind the scenes there was a switch in the distribution platform that Ye’s brand YZY used to supply the album to digital services. The song “Good (Don’t Die),” which appears to borrow a melody from Summer’s hit “I Feel Love,” was also removed from online versions of the album.

“Vultures 1” ended its first week with the equivalent of 148,000 sales in the United States, which includes 168 million streams and 18,000 copies sold as a complete package, according to the tracking service Luminate. It is Ye’s first No. 1 album since “Donda” in 2021.

Usher scores his highest-charting album in 12 years, with “Coming Home” arriving at No. 2 after the R&B veteran’s performance at the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, with guests including Alicia Keys, Lil Jon and Ludacris. “Coming Home,” also released independently, had the equivalent of 91,000 sales, including 46 million streams and 53,000 traditional sales. Usher’s last studio album, “Hard II Love,” went to No. 5 in 2016, and “Looking 4 Myself” reached No. 1 in 2012.

Also this week, Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” is No. 3, Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time” is No. 4 and SZA’s “SOS” is No. 5.

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