Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign Lead Billboard 200 With Controversial Album ‘Vultures’; Beyoncé Tops Country Chart With ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s “Vultures” is the No. 1 album in the United States this week despite the 16-song set getting major pushback from streaming platforms for West’s antisemitic behavior.

The album was temporarily removed from streaming services just a few days after its release on Feb. 9 due to a complaint from its initial distributor, FUGA. The album returned to the platforms thanks to Label Engine, the company reportedly in charge of distribution.

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Regardless, the album opened at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre-inclusive albums chart with over 167 million plays on streaming platforms and a total of 148,000 equivalent units, according to data provided by Luminate. This marks Ty’s first No. 1 album and West’s 11th.

Last year, West had been shopping for potential distributors after years of releasing music while signed to Universal Music Group. Now an independent artist, he reportedly was denied distribution services from numerous companies due to his problematic remarks.

The album’s 12th track — a controversial, Taylor Swift-referencing single titled “Carnival” — also scored a Top 10 entrance on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 3 behind Beyoncé’s country-infused “Texas Hold ‘Em” which sits at No. 2.

The latter is Beyoncé’s first No. 1 country single in the U.S. — a historic feat that makes her the first Black woman to secure the spot. As Billboard reports, Beyoncé is also the first woman to have topped both Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. She joins Morgan Wallen, Justin Bieber, Billy Ray Cyrus and Ray Charles are the only acts to have hit No. 1 on both charts.

“Texas Hold ‘Em,” and its accompanying single “16 Carriages,” were both released during the Super Bowl. With added attention on country radio, industry insiders investigated if the singles would be serviced by Beyoncé’s label Columbia to country stations and, subsequently, how the industry would respond. Now, after Columbia announced late last week that it had officially begun promoting “Texas Hold ‘Em” to country radio, the song leads the charts with 19.2 million official streams and 4.8 million all-format radio impressions. Meanwhile, “16 Carriages” gallops in with 10.3 million streams and 90,000 in radio reach.

Speaking with Variety, Brian Philips, chief content officer at Cumulus Media, the second largest owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations in the U.S., said, “This adds a completely unforeseen, unimagined new angle to country radio… We have 55 major country stations and it’s very hard to get them to agree on anything. But everybody at country wants to play it. We don’t have guys who are like, ‘It doesn’t fit our core sound.’ We have people who want to be part of the story and they’re all gonna do the same thing: play it and talk it up and get all the negative and all the positive out of the audience and see what the reaction is. It sounds like a really simple, catchy, hit pop-country song to me.”

The No. 1 song on the Hot 100 this week is a repeat of last week: Jack Harlow’s “Lovin On Me.” The single, which samples Delbert “Dale” Greer’s “Whatever,” marks a sixth non-consecutive week at the top of the list as Harlow’s longest-leading No. 1 (following three weeks at the peak for his 2022 single “First Class”). With a strong hold on radio, “Lovin on Me” garnered a total of 78 million airplay impressions in addition to 22 million streams in the last tracking week.

Back on the Billboard 200, Usher logs his highest charting album in over a decade (“Looking 4 Myself” debuted at No. 1 in June of 2012) with “Coming Home” landing at No. 2 with 91,000 units. The album was announced in tandem with Usher’s headlining slot at the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show. Alongside guests Alicia Keys, H.E.R, will.i.am, Lil Jon and Ludacris, Usher delivered a career-spanning performance. The game was the most-watched broadcast in American TV history, with 123.4 million viewers across CBS and the game’s simulcasts across Nickelodeon, Univision, Paramount+ and other digital platforms.

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