Too Short

Too Short performs as part of the Rock the Bells Tenth Anniversary at San Manuel Amphitheatre on September 8, 2013 in San Bernadino, California.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

The rapper reaches the Hot 100's top 10 after appearing on the chart since 1990. Plus, OneRepublic makes history

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

ONE SONG, FIVE ACTS, TOP 10

Hi Gary,

With "Loyal," credited to Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana or Too $hort or Tyga, ascending to the Billboard Hot 100's top tier, is it the first top 10 single to feature five acts (albeit with a "featuring," "&" and "or")?

I can think of tunes that involved four credited acts, e.g., "Forever" by Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem or "Swagga Like Us" by Jay Z & T.I. featuring West & Lil Wayne.

Whatever the case, Too $hort is representing Oakland well, claiming his first Hot 100 top 10 after all these years. So, another question: Where does he rank in terms of acts taking the longest time to score their first Hot 100 top 10, counting back to their first Hot 100 appearance?

A "loyal" reader,

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Hi Pablo,

Lots of good stuff for this topic, so the answer will likely be anything but too short.

First, I went to Billboard's R&B/hip-hop charts manager Rauly Ramirez for Wednesday's Hot 100 story to explain the background of five credited acts on "Loyal." Here it is again: Why the quirky artist listing? "Loyal" was first released in two versions, the East Coast mix featuring French Montana and the West Coast edit featuring Too $hort. When its video was released on March 24, Tyga was featured in the third verse, instead of either French Montana or Too $hort. All three versions feature Lil Wayne and are available digitally and on streaming services.

So, even though not all of those artists are on all versions of "Loyal," all get credit for Hot 100 purposes (as all current versions of songs are wrapped into a single listing for the chart). And, the usage of "or" has previously appeared on the Hot 100 and other charts when multiple versions are popular. In 2003, for instance, "Why Don't You & I" reached No. 8 on the Hot 100 as credited to Santana featuring Alex Band or Chad Kroeger. Kroeger was on the album version, but Band was on the single (due to label rights, as Band's, um, band, the Calling, was on Arista, like Santana, while Kroeger/Nickelback was not). Based on both versions' airplay (largely the Band edit, since that's what Arista promoted to radio) and sales (Kroeger on the album version), the "or" was deemed most logical chart-wise.

(Btw, all this grammar talk brings to mind one of my proudest jokes. "What answer did the indecisive rower get when he asked his canoe-mate what he should use? Either oar.")

(Lots of crickets in that canoe, apparently …)

Aaanyway … per your first question, such a one-time quintet reaching the Hot 100's top 10 is rare, but not a first. Who else has crowded in for such chart credit (and without any "or" qualifiers)? And: we're not considering acts like We Are the World, as its more than 40 members took on an all-encompassing name.

Here's a look at all the Hot 100 top 10s sporting five credited acts each (and their peaks). With "Loyal" joining the mix, the club expands to, fittingly, five titles:

"Loyal," Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana or Too $hort or Tyga (No. 9, to date), 2014

"Down 4 U," Irv Gotti Presents The Inc. featuring Ja Rule, Ashanti, Charli Baltimore & Vita (No. 6, 2002; in Billboard's archives, the five acts are Gotti and the four featured artists, with The Inc. only a cosmetic listing as part of the grouping)

"I Need a Girl (Part Two)," P. Diddy & Ginuwine featuring Loon, Mario Winans & Tammy Ruggeri (No. 4, 2002)

"Not Tonight," Lil' Kim featuring Da Brat, Left Eye, Missy Elliott & Angie Martinez (No. 6, 1997)

"This Is for the Lover in You," Babyface featuring LL Cool J, Howard Hewett, Jody Watley & Jeffrey Daniels (No. 6, 1996)

Notably, all the songs above are R&B-based and since the mid-'90s, when the trend toward multiple featured artists on tracks started to become commonplace in the genre.

(Scanning below the top 10 in that span, Jimmy Buffett has them all beat. The former Billboard Nashville bureau chief reached No. 63, and No. 8 on Hot Country Songs, in 2004 with "Hey Good Lookin'." It was billed as by six acts: Jimmy Buffett with Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith & George Strait.)

You also asked about Too $hort's long journey to the Hot 100's top 10. Belying his name, the rap vet's trek to the region was quite long: he first appeared on the chart dated Nov. 17, 1990, when "The Ghetto" debuted at No. 94 on its way to a No. 42 peak. Thus, he waited 23 years, five months and two weeks (with this week's charts dated May 3) for his well-deserved first top 10.

Per my research, however, he comes up just … short … of the longest journey from a first Hot 100 appearance to a first top 10. The patient winner? Parody master "Weird Al" Yankovic, who needed just one week longer from his first Hot 100 entry, 1983's "Ricky" (his "I Love Lucy"-themed spoof of Toni Basil's "Mickey"), until his first top 10, 2006's No. 9 hit "White & Nerdy," which ribs Chamillionaire's Krayzie Bone-assisted No. 1 from earlier that year, "Ridin'."

I'll let rap experts more qualified than I am to cover the nuances of Too $hort's impressive career longevity. As "White & Nerdy" suggests (see my "either oar" "joke" above …), I'm much more familiar with Yankovic's work. Two notes: one, he's not merely a clever cover act, as he's written numerous catchy originals (albeit as fun and goofy as his parodies) throughout his career. And, two, and even better, the Billboard staff marveled at how nice he was when he visited the office a few years ago. I remember thinking how genuinely humbled he seemed at being the center of attention when we all gathered for a group pic, giddy to be in a shot with perhaps the greatest musical comedian of our generation.

Actually, the scene wasn't too different from the reaction he received here:

NEXT: OneRepublic are chart 'Stars'

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