Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne performs onstage during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 21, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Lil Wayne perform at the iHeartRadio Festival on Sept. 21, 2012 in Las Vegas (Credit: WireImage)

Radio also predicts success for 'Love Me': 'It will be a No. 1 record for [R&B/hip-hop] radio.'

Lil Wayne didn't intend for his new single "Love Me" to grow so quickly after its release in late December. The Mike WiLL Made It-produced track, which features Drake and Future, rises from 53-16 on the Hot 100 with 171,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, bringing its sales total to 249,000. The success comes mere weeks after YMCMB's DJ Stevie J and DJ E-Feezy debuted the song at a Miami club.

Wayne's manager and co-CEO of Blueprint Group Cortez Bryant explains that, following the single's debut, he passed the record off to key influencers in radio and clubs. Without much more promoting, program directors began adding "Love Me," a single off the rapper's oft-delayed "I Am Not a Human Being II," now scheduled to be released on March 26.

"It happened really fast and organically; it didn't take months to build," Bryant says. "That speaks for itself, that the record is that powerful." Universal and YMCMB are now seeking adds at rhythmic and R&B/hip-hop, where it has 1,300 spins, according to Nielsen BDS.

"It will be a No. 1 record for [R&B/hip-hop] radio," says Phillip David March, PD at mainstream R&B/hip-hop station WGZB in Louisville, KY. Pop potential may be more elusive, though. "Crossover? I just don't know because even [edited], it's still got provocative lyrics," he says. "It's hard to say."

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Mike WiLL Made It, who also helmed G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy" and Juicy J's "Bandz A Make Her Dance," disagrees. He originally created the song with just Drake and Future but knew that Wayne could take it to the top. "It's almost like Megatron: All the pieces just came together," he says. "I'm not trying to sound like a cocky-ass producer, but it's right on time. Nothing sounds like that on the radio."

"Love Me" is the third single from "I Am Not A Human Being II." "My homies Still," released last June, peaked at No. 38 on the Hot 100, while "No Worries," released in September, reached No. 29. With a music video for "Love Me" on the way, success at R&B/hip-hop radio will dictate future plans on other formats.

"The pop side hasn't moved yet. They take longer to get on these things," Bryant says. "My expectations aren't for that, though. I just put it out as another [R&B/hip-hop] single. So if it crosses over to pop, that'd be wonderful."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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