Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at [email protected]. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" has held the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks, it spent a week at No. 1 on Hot Rap Songs, and currently ranks No. 5 on Hot Dance Club Play. What has prevented it from reaching the top 50 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart?


Eric Merchant
Detroit, Michigan

Hi Eric,

"Boom Boom Pow" is certainly a multi-format smash. It's also led the Mainstream Top 40 and Rhythmic airplay charts the last three weeks, in addition to the charts you listed above.

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs combines airplay at 82 Nielsen-BDS monitored mainstream R&B/hip-hop radio stations and physical singles sales, the latter of which is minimal at this point. Thus, despite the song's top rankings on various charts, only airplay at the R&B/hip-hop format counts for the radio component of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and those such reporters have not yet accepted the song as openly as pop and rhythmic stations have.

"Boom Boom Pow" inches 57-56 this week on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song follows the arc of most of the act's previous four entries on the chart, becoming its second-highest-peaking title. In 2001, "Request Line" rang up a No. 51 peak. Its 2003 pop smash "Where Is the Love?," for instance, stopped at No. 82.

So, why is R&B/hip-hop radio somewhat reluctant to play the Peas? The band discussed the topic in Gail Mitchell's recent in-depth feature on the band in the Billboard issue dated May 30. Highlights of the story are available here. According to one programmer, the group's sound is considered somewhat mainstream-leaning for the format.

From Gail's print feature: "Among the (R&B/hip-hop) stations playing the song is WEDR/Miami. 'I got some funny looks when I said I was adding 'Boom',' says program director Derrick Baker, whose station staples lean more toward Kanye West and Keyshia Cole. 'But this record is so Miami; an uptempo track set off by Fergie's flow. Because the Peas did it, everyone was saying it's pop. But the record has broad appeal. Everybody here from mainstream to the hood is jamming it.' "

While seemingly relatively low for such a mass-appeal hit, then, the mid-50s ranking on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for "Boom Boom Pow" should perhaps be interpreted as the format selectively sampling a mainstream pop song with enough of an R&B feel by a superstar act.

The Black Eyed Peas' new album, "The E.N.D.," an acronym for "The Energy Never Dies," arrives Tuesday (June 9).