Ask Billboard: The All-Rihanna & Drake Edition

Rihanna's "Work" music video featuring Drake, released in Feb. 2016.
Courtesy Photo

Rihanna's "Work" music video featuring Drake, released in Feb. 2016.

A look at songs prior to "Work" to punch in at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Plus, Rihanna sets a record with her second leader with Drake.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20


Hola Gary,

Let's get right to "Work." Specifically, Rihanna's "Work," featuring Drake, the new No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

One of the first Hot 100 No. 1s was "It's All in the Game" by Tommy Edwards (beginning Oct. 4, 1958), while "Play" has come into, um, play in three No. 1 titles: "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," by B.J. Thomas (1975), "Play That Funky Music," by Wild Cherry (1976), and "This Used to Be My Playground," by Madonna (1992).

But, how many "Work" tunes have made it to No. 1? "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles got the job done in 1966 ... making for a nice Paul McCartney connection for Rihanna, considering their No. 4-peaking 2015 collab "FourFiveSeconds," with Kanye West. ("We Can Work It Out" was also part of the official, multiple-worded title of 1981's No. 1 "Medley" by Stars on 45.) Then, "Firework" by Katy Perry then shot to No. 1 in 2010.

Two "work"-titled songs have worked their way to No. 2 peaks on the Hot 100: the Spinners' "Working My Way Back to You"/"Forgive Me, Girl" (1980) and Missy Elliott's "Work It" (2002).

"Work" has also appeared in one chart-topping artist's name: Men at Work led with "Who Can It Be Now" in 1982 and "Down Under" in 1983.

As for Rihanna notching her 14th Hot 100 No. 1, she has passed Michael Jackson for the third-most toppers all-time. He still leads, however, among solo males, with 13. There's also the fact that the Jackson 5 had four No. 1s, so Michael has made 17 total trips to No. 1. Actually, make that 19 … including the Jackson 5's uncredited appearance on Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'" (1974) and his vocal (and co-writing credit) on USA for Africa's "We Are the World" (1985).

I also worked on two other notes about current Hot 100 top five hits:

Twenty One Pilots still could break the foreigners-at-the-top record spell. For now, they've peaked at No. 2 with "Stressed Out." Another No. 2 hit this decade, before Twenty One Pilots? "Airplanes," by B.o.B featuring (newlywed) Hayley Williams.

Finally, Flo Rida has his biggest Hot 100 hit, "My House," since his No. 1 "Whistle" in 2012. So … what would he say directly to Rihanna if asked to name each artist's most recent No. 1? He would say … "For me, 'Whistle,' while, you, 'Work.'"

(And ... scene.)

(The Life of) Pablo … Nelson
Oakland, California

As always, Pablo, you've done your home-"work"!

I'll only add that hard-working Rihanna has done better at "work" than "play": while "Work" has now hit No. 1, her first hit stopped at No. 2: "Pon de Replay."

And, the No. 1 song 35 years ago today? Dolly Parton's ode to working … "9 to 5."

Another reader email about Rihanna and her co-"Work"-er Drake:

Hi Gary,

We know that "Work" is Rihanna's 14th Hot 100 No. 1 and featured artist's Drake's second. But, "Work" also marks the second time that this couple has topped the Hot 100 together: "What's My Name?," also billed as by Rihanna featuring Drake, led the chart dated Nov. 20, 2010.

(RiRi and Drizzy share a third top 10: his "Take Care," featuring Rihanna, reached No. 7 in 2012.)

Are there any other acts who teamed up and topped the Hot 100 at least twice?

I can think of one other couple … and Rihanna is also half of it. Eminem's last two No. 1s are "Love the Way You Lie" (2010) and "The Monster" (2013-14). Both are credited to Eminem featuring Rihanna.

Rihanna has also almost doubled up at No. 1 with Jay Z. Her "Umbrella," featuring Jay Z, topped the Hot 100 in 2007, while his "Run This Town," featuring Rihanna (and Kanye West) stopped just short of the summit, reaching No. 2 in 2009.

So, it seems that Rihanna really likes to … work ... with some familiar artists, no surprise given their repeated successes.


Rodrigo Ortiz
Santiago, Chile

Thanks Rodrigo!

Great observation that Rihanna is a member of a select club of acts that have partnered for multiple Hot 100 No. 1s. Even rarer, she's earned her place with two leaders apiece with both Drake and Eminem. How rare? Let's find out.

Here are the occasional duos that have hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 more than once:

Puff Daddy & Mase
"Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," 1997 (Puff Daddy featuring Mase)
"Mo Money Mo Problems," 1997 (The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase)

Jennifer Lopez & Ja Rule
"I'm Real," 2001 (Lopez featuring Ja Rule)
"Ain't It Funny," 2002 (Lopez featuring Ja Rule)

(Happy birthday tomorrow, by the way, to Ja Rule! Born Feb. 29, 1976, he turns 40 … or, 10?)

Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
"Slow Jamz," 2004 (Twista featuring West & Foxx)
"Gold Digger," 2005 (West featuring Foxx)

Nelly Furtado & Timbaland (UPDATED)
"Promiscuous," 2006 (Furtado featuring Timbaland)
"Give It to Me," 2007 (Timbaland featuring Furtado & Timberlake)

Eminem & Rihanna
"Love the Way You Lie," 2010 (Eminem featuring Rihanna)
"The Monster," 2013 (Eminem featuring Rihanna)

Rihanna & Drake
"What's My Name?," 2010 (Rihanna featuring Drake)
"Work," 2016 (Rihanna featuring Drake)

So, Rihanna has made history as the first act to score multiple Hot 100 No. 1s with at least two artists, Eminem and Drake.

As for Jackson, even though Rihanna passed him for the third-most Hot 100 leaders (after the Beatles' 20 and Mariah Carey's 18), it's worth remembering that Jackson came oh-so-close to being on the list above. Before he and Paul McCartney reigned for six weeks in 1983-84 with "Say, Say, Say," the pop icons peaked at No. 2 earlier that year with "The Girl Is Mine," the lead single from Thriller.

Meanwhile, Rihanna and Jackson share a Hot 100 hit, in a way: her No. 3 smash "Don't Stop the Music" (2008) samples his No. 5 classic "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (1983).

(That Rihanna hit is from her album Good Girl Gone Bad … not Jackson's Bad, though; "Wanna" is, like "The Girl Is Mine," from Thriller. Thus, on "Music," she became a … good girl gone Thriller.)


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