Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Tops Billboard Chart

Kanye West's <i>My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy</i> Tops Billboard Chart
While critics and financial analysts have been predicting the downfall of the recording industry for years, every once in a while a record comes along that defies the supposed death knell. Last week, for instance, Kanye West's fifth studio effort, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, managed to nab some crazy first week numbers, selling 496,000 copies in the U.S. alone and easily grabbing the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart. That's almost half a million albums, and these days, that's a lot.

The numbers, provided by Nielsen SoundScan [via Billboard], are even more staggering once you consider that Ye offered up many of the album's cuts for free courtesy of his G.O.O.D. Fridays program. Despite giving out the freebies, fans still dished out the dollars to get themselves the finished product.

Cynics will point out that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came out the week of Black Friday, the U.S.'s most notoriously nutso shopping day of the year, but a sale's a sale. Also, compared to West's first week sales of 957,000 for his 2007 disc, Graduation, his latest numbers seem a little underwhelming, but the new album marks the rapper's fourth straight album to premiere at the top of the Billboard charts.

Making for a great week for hip-hop, Nicki Minaj's major label debut, Pink Friday, entered the charts in the second spot with a total of 375,000 copies sold.