Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart achivements of 50 Cent, t.A.T.u., Kelly Rowland, Kelly Osbourne, Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z, Ashanti, and the Dixie Chicks.
ADDS UP TO TWO BUCKS: For three-and-a-half years, it looked like Queens, N.Y. rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) was destined to be a one-hit wonder on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Back in July 1999, his single "How To Rob" debuted at No. 76, eventually peaking at No. 62 and spending 11 weeks on the chart. The single was released on Columbia, but there was no album, and 50 Cent never had a follow-up.
Things are different now. The rapper has four songs on this week's chart, including the new No. 1 song, "In Da Club" (G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope). Close behind is "Wanksta," from the "8 Mile" soundtrack, holding at No. 4. Further down the chart, "Realest Niggaz" by 50 Cent featuring the Notorious B.I.G. is standing pat at No. 34. Debuting this week at No. 67 is "Patiently Waiting" by 50 Cent featuring Eminem.
"Patiently Waiting" is an apt title for 50 Cent, who is on track to have the No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 next week. "Get Rich or Die Trying," originally scheduled for release on Feb. 11, hit the streets early, on Feb. 6, because the rapper's label was concerned about widespread piracy and illicit downloads.
TWO RUSSIANS, TWO KELLYS, TWO CHILDREN: There are some interesting "doubles" on this week's U.K. singles chart. There are two Russians on top of the list, as "All the Things She Said" (Interscope) by t.A.T.u. debuts at No. 1. The pop single advances 36-30 on The Billboard Hot 100.
Two Americans named Kelly fare much better in the U.K. than they have in the U.S. Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child enters at No. 2 with her first solo single, "Stole" (Columbia). That song peaked at No. 27 on the Hot 100 in November 2002. Kelly Osbourne is new at No. 12 with "Shut Up" (Epic), the follow-up to her cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," which peaked at No. 3 in the U.K. in September 2002. "Shut Up" has not charted on the Hot 100.
Finally, there are two members of Destiny's Child in the U.K. top-5. In addition to Rowland's "Stole," "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (Roc-a-Fella) by Jay-Z featuring Beyonce Knowles has a berth on the chart, sliding 2-4.
'MISS' A HIT: As well as he's doing in the U.K., Jay-Z is also racking up chart achievements at home. His collaboration with Beyonce Knowles, "'03 Bonnie and Clyde," is still in the top-10, slipping 8-10. Meanwhile, Jay-Z has the Hot Shot Debut on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Excuse Me Miss" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam), new at No. 53. It's his 34th chart song in a period of almost seven years.
The New York rapper, born Shawn Carter, made his first appearance on the Hot 100 the week of April 6, 1996, with the two-sided "Ain't No Nigga" / "Dead Presidents." His biggest hit to date is his team-up with Mariah Carey on "Heartbreaker," No. 1 for two weeks in October 1999. His biggest hit where he is the lead artist is "'03 Bonnie & Clyde."
Of Jay-Z's 34 chart appearances, he has been the lead artist on 23 titles. "Excuse Me Miss" is the 12th song credited solely to Jay-Z.
SEVENTH WONDER: Ashanti is poised to collect her third No. 1 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 in exactly a year. The R&B singer first reached the top the week of Feb. 23, 2002, when she was partnered with Ja Rule on "Always on Time." Ja Rule and Ashanti move 5-2 this week with "Mesmerize," which could end up No. 1 on next week's chart, dated Feb. 22. Ashanti also went to No. 1 on her own with "Foolish," which stayed on top for 10 weeks, starting in April 2002.
"Mesmerize" is Ashanti's seventh chart appearance since she made her debut with "Always on Time." She has reached the top-10 six times, only missing with "Baby," which peaked in October 2002 at No. 15. Her other top-10 hits are: "What's Luv," recorded with Fat Joe (No. 2 in April 2002), "Happy" (No. 8 in September 2002), and "Down 4 U," recorded with The Inc., Ja Rule, Charli Baltimore, and Vita (No. 6 in August 2002).
GOING THE DISTANCE: Can a "Landslide" move up? If it's a song by the Dixie Chicks appearing on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, the answer is yes. The remake of the Fleetwood Mac tune jumps 5-1, the biggest leap to the top on this tally for a non-holiday song since Michael Bolton advanced 5-1 with his "Hercules" soundtrack hit "Go the Distance" the week of July 19, 1997.
"Landslide" holds at No. 9 on the Hot 100. That's the song's peak position to date, but the release of a commercial single on Feb. 18 could find this hit marching up the pop chart as well.