Eminem has started the weekend with a double, topping both the UK album and singles charts.
The rapper’s surprise release, Music To Be Murdered By, came in for criticism as one track refers to the Manchester bomb attack, which killed 22 people.
But on Thursday, the 47-year-old defended his controversial lyrics, saying they were not intended to be taken literally.
The victory gives him a record-breaking 10th number one album in a row.
- •Eminem defends controversial lyrics
- Eminem ‘crossed a line’, says Courteeners singer
Despite leading the race at the midweek stage, Manchester indie rockers The Courteeners finished in second place with 25,000 sales – their highest-ever chart position (More. Again. Forever. was also this week’s best-selling album on vinyl).
On Monday, frontman Liam Fray said Eminem had “crossed a line” on the track Unaccommodating, which mentions an explosion outside of an Ariana Grande concert.
Eminem replied to his critics by saying some lyrics on the album were “designed to shock the conscience, which may cause positive action”.
He added the album, which recorded 36,000 chart sales, is not intended for people who are “easily offended or unnerved”.
Eminem also topped the singles chart with one song from the album, Godzilla, which features Juice WRLD, the rapper who died in December after an accidental overdose.
Godzilla only topped the singles chart by the narrowest of margins.
The song finished a mere 93 chart sales ahead of 2020’s newest star, 21-year-old Compton rapper Roddy Ricch – who went viral on Tik Tok, with his track, The Box.
The Roddy Ricch dance challenge saw thousands of users of the social media platform film themselves showing off their moves.
The Official Charts Company described this week as “one of the closest chart battles of recent times”.
(The closest ever recorded found Timbaland’s The Way I Are pipping Kate Nash’s Foundations to top spot by just 16 sales in 2007.)
Ultimately, it resulted in Eminem bagging his 10th number one single on these shores.
Last year, only three tracks went similarly straight in at the top; Stormzy’s Vossi Bop, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s I Don’t Care, and LadBaby’s charity Christmas number one, I Love Sausage Rolls.
Returning indie band Bombay Bicycle Club’s new album. Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, went back in at number four after their four-year hiatus.
Meanwhile, UK drill rapper DigDat enjoyed the biggest opening week chart sales for an album from that genre, with his mixtape Ei8ht Mile landing in 12th place.
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