Despite Tha Carter III leaking on the Internet over a week ago, New Orleans, Louisiana rapper Lil' Wayne is expected to sell between 850,000 and 950,000 albums in his first week sales.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the album is set to surpass both of 2008's highest-selling first week albums, Mariah Carey's E=MC2 and Usher's Here I Stand which sold 463,000 and 433,000.
Executive VP of sales for Universal Motown Republic Group Pat Monaco explained the unexpected number of albums sold and why the leaking is helping rather than hurting Weezy's prospected totals.
"The sales the first few hours were exceeding the rate that the Kanye album sold a year ago," he said. "[Tha Carter III] was one of these records that, because it was so highly anticipated, with the leaks and everything, it caused more people to go out at eight in the morning to buy the CD."
With first week sales looking to possibly beat both Carey and Usher's albums combined, Monaco also explained the impact bootlegging unfinished recordings on mixtapes and Lil' Wayne's non-stop recording habit had on the album.
"[We] were like putting a traditional set-up and street date on a guy that was just nontraditional," he affirmed. "It changed dates, changed titles, changed songs, changed the people that were working on it. But sonically, the record bears out."
If the reports hold true and Lil' Wayne is able to pass Carey, Tha Carter III will not only be the biggest album of the year but will also regain the top spot for a hip-hop artist since Kanye West last September.
As previously reported by SOHH, Tha Carter III was intentionally leaked by various mixtape djs including DJ Chuck T due to negative statements made against them by Weezy.