Recognizing the music industry's move away from retail-available singles, Billboard has introduced Hot Rap Tracks, a 25-position chart based on radio airplay information supplied by Nielsen BDS. The n

Recognizing the music industry's move away from retail-available singles, Billboard has introduced Hot Rap Tracks, a 25-position chart based on radio airplay information supplied by Nielsen BDS. The new chart, which debuts today on Billboard.com, replaces the sales-based Hot Rap Singles list.

The change creates a chart that more accurately reflects rap's most popular acts. The first No. 1 title on the new chart is "I Need a Girl (Part One)" by P. Diddy featuring Usher & Loon. The title was No. 20 last week on the sales-based chart. ("Last week" and "weeks on" figures on the new chart are based on unpublished test charts.)

"Even before labels began their unfortunate exodus away from retail-available singles, a number of rap's biggest hits over the last several years were never released to stores, and thus were absent from our chart," says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts. "This change will yield a more relevant chart, a difference that will be particularly conspicuous when we compile the rap categories for the year-end charts in our annual Year In Music spotlight."

Hot Rap Tracks utilizes airplay information from a panel of 134 radio stations; chart rankings are based on each track's estimated audience. Like its predecessor, Hot Rap Tracks is overseen by Minal Patel, R&B/hip-hop charts manager for Billboard and R&B Airplay Monitor.