Hip-hop artist J. Cole's debut album sales could end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 240,000 to 250,000 copies in its first week, according to Billboard.com.
Cole World: The Sideline Story dropped Tuesday, the culmination of two years of buzz for Cole, who is from Fayetteville, N.C. Nearly two years ago, he became the first signee for Jay-Z's Roc Nation label.
If Cole ends up seeing the projected sales, it would be the biggest debut since Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday sold 375,000 and ended up at No. 2 on the Billboard chart on Dec. 11, 2010.
It would also be the first time a solo act's debut album has taken the top spot since hip-hop artist B.o.B sold 84,000 with his freshman effort The Adventures of Bobby Ray, according to Billboard. That came more than a year ago, on May 14, 2010.
Since the two are often compared, Drake's debut album from June 2010, Thank Me Later, sold approximately 447,000 copies in its first week.
Sideline Story received plenty of buzz before its release, and it became a trending topic on Twitter shortly after its midnight release Tuesday.
It has also scored well with critics. Based on 11 reviews from Metacritic.com, the album scored a 76 out of 100, which indicates generally favorable reviews. XXL magazine gave Sideline Story an XL rating - equal to 4 out of 5 stars. The album is able to put a check mark in each of the boxes next to the laundry list of abilities that have thrust Cole into a discussion as a possible torch-bearer for a generation, the review reads.
Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B-plus. Cole, who's been studying under label head Jay-Z for two years, seems to have learned plenty, EW's review says.
Indeed, the anticipation has been building up for Cole since he became Jay-Z's first signing and de-facto protégé. In the two years since, Cole released two mixtapes: The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights, which were both received well by critics and fans.