This week, Janelle Monae earns her first No. 1 album on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart for her Dirty Computerwhich premiered at the tail end last month. Pushing 54,000 equivalent album units in its first week, the project turned out to be the third-biggest opening the week ending in May 3rd, following behind Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleysand country singer Keith Urban’s Graffiti U.
A handful singles from the album, which also find themselves on the hot R&B Songs chart, have helped in getting Monae a boost. Tracks include “Make Me Feel,” which peaked at No. 9, the Grimes-assisted “Pynk” (No. 21) and “I Like That” which hit No. 24 this month.
Last week, Monae’s project entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at No. 6 for its movements. This new effort follows behind her 2013 Electric Lady which peaked at No. 2 on the R&B charts. While the time gap in between the two ferings seems significant, everything Monae has done up until this point has been a deliberate choice to maintain the carefully curated image she has grown into.
“There have been times where people have tried to encourage me to go in another direction; to something that people could understand or that was more popular,” she told Billboard in a recent talk. “For me, it’s never been about overnight fame: it’s about taking a journey that might not be ten taken, and in doing so, being an example the belief that we don’t all have to take the same coordinates to reach our destination.”