Kanye West’s Graduation Knocks Out the Competition

Kanye West’s GRADUATION Knocks Out the Competition and Debuts at #1 on Soundscan – Also Enters at #1 in U.K., Canada and Japan – and Sets New 1-Week Digital Sales Record

956,936 SOLD IS BIGGEST 1st WEEK SOUNDSCAN DEBUT BY ANY ALBUM SINCE KANYE’S OWN GRAMMY-WINNING LATE REGISTRATION IN 2005;

BIGGEST DEBUT IN ISLAND DEF JAM HISTORY

Roc-A-Fella recording artist Kanye West makes chart history — again! — as his new third album GRADUATION (in-stores 9/11) knocked out the competition for a #1 Soundscan debut on the Billboard 200 and R&B/Hip Hop album charts, on first week sales of 956,936 units. This marks the biggest Soundscan debut by any album since Kanye’s #1 Late Registration two years ago. GRADUATION — which also entered the national charts at #1 in the U.K, Japan and Canada — also establishes a new one-week digital sales record, where it logged over 132,000 album downloads, eclipsing Maroon 5’s previous record of 102,000 earlier this year. The staggering Soundscan number also marks the biggest debut in Island Def Jam history.

“When we decided to go head-to-head with 50 Cent, we knew the rivalry was going to make a lot of noise,” said Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid, Chairman, Island Def Jam Music Group. “But now we’ve made history. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have orchestrated such a monumental first week success. Kanye has made an incredible album and I’ve always maintained that great music will always win.”

“This is a great day for Kanye West and Roc-A-Fella Records and a fantastic day for hip hop and artistry,” said Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, President and CEO, Def Jam Recordings. “It’s a good sign that heartfelt, sincere and honest music can do these types of numbers.”

GRADUATION, Kanye’s second consecutive #1 pop album and third consecutive #1 R&B album, contains the hottest single of the summer, “Stronger,” which bullets to #1 on the Hot 100 this week, and stays the #1 song on iTunes for a 7th consecutive week.

“Stronger” follows-up the album’s first single pick, the Top 10 Rap track “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” The newest single, “Good Life” (featuring T-Pain) debuted three weeks ago on the season’s next-to-last episode of Entourage (in which Kanye saved the day in a special guest appearance).

Kanye supported the September 11th release of GRADUATION with hugely attended in-store appearances in New York, Los Angeles, and his hometown Chicago; and television appearances later in the week on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live (Thursday), the syndicated Ellen (Friday), and the 59th annual Emmy Awards broadcast (Sunday). Kanye can also be seen across-the-board on the magazine covers of Rolling Stone (which gave the album a 4 1/2 star review), XXL, Blender, and Flaunt.

GRADUATION is the long-awaited follow-up to Kanye West’s second album, Late Registration (released August 2005), which entered the chart at #1 with the biggest first-week sales debut in Def Jam Recordings’ history — over 860,000 copies. The album arrived to deafening critical acclaim and a coveted 5 star review in Rolling Stone, just one week after the Time magazine cover story dubbed him “the smartest man in pop music.” Rolling Stone went on to rank Late Registration the #1 Album Of the Year, and it later generated Grammy awards for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance for “Gold Digger,” and Best Rap Song for “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.”

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