We all probably knew that Tha Carter IV wasn't going to sell a million in its first week as its immediate predecessor did—with all the delays, the leak earlier last week, and the underwhelming reception to a couple of the advance singles, doing a mil seemed a little out of reach for CIV. Still, the numbers that Lil Wayne's new album is reportedly going to do—Billboard.biz predicts somewhere between 700,000 and 850,000 units moved in its first week—is pretty stellar anyway. Any sales number in that range would make Carter IV the year's second-biggest seller behind Lady Gaga's discount-infalted mil-plus for Born This Way, also putting it well above Britney's Femme Fatale (276k), Beyoncé's 4 (310k) and even Jay and Kanye's Watch the Throne (436k).
The number is an impressive one, especially considering that the reception for the album so far has been lukewarm at best. The album has a 69 rating on review-composite site Metacritic—higher than the score for his stopgap albums I Am Not a Human Being and Rebirth, but well short of the 84 he received for Carter III. And that score doesn't cover outright pans like CIV received in the Village Voice ("This is a bad rap album") and the Washington Post ("Let's pray he hasn't settled into mediocrity for good"). Even the fan reaction has been underwhelming—a super-informal poll conducted on InFlexWeTrust.com about shows the great majority of Hot 97 listeners rating the album as a two or three out of five ("I've heard better" or "It's Aight").
But as always, it looks like Weezy will be rising above the haters on this one. Not only does he have the album sales numbers, but as we previously reported, the iTunes singles chart is littered with Wayne songs this week, with every song on the album (including the deluxe edition-only bonus tracks) except "Intro" cracking the top 100—"Mirror," the album's Bruno Mars-featuring bonus track, has even made it to the top five. Wayne may no longer be the best rapper alive, as protege Nicki Minaj claims, but he does appear to still be the most commercially bulletproof.
For lots more pics, videos and up-to-the-second dish on Wayne, be sure to check out his Popdust Artist Page.