Five Burning Questions: Jack Harlow and Lil Mosey Make Their Hot 100 Top Ten Debuts

Lil Mosey "Blueberry Faygo"
Courtesy Photo

Lil Mosey "Blueberry Faygo"

It's a good time for new blood in the Hot 100's top tier this week. While SAINt JHN's viral "Roses (Imambek Remix)" leaps into the top five for the first time (8-4), two other artists appear in the top 10 for the first time: Jack Harlow and Lil Mosey.

Harlow jumps 18-8 this week with "Whats Poppin," the St. Louis MC's frisky breakout single, which was given a big boost last week by the debut of its star-studded official remix. Meanwhile, Seattle's Mosey creeps up 11-9 with his summer-ready banger "Blueberry Faygo" -- like "Poppin," in its 20th week on the listing.

Which of these slow-building smashes has the bigger commercial potential? And what other new artists would we like to see join them in the top 10? Billboard staffers answer these questions and more below.

1. Two new faces in the top 10! Whose top-tier Hot 100 bow are you more excited about, Jack Harlow or Lil Mosey? 

Josh Glicksman: Jack Harlow. You have to respect him for calling his shot: just a few days into the new year, he tweeted “it’s bout to get crowded at tha shows and in the comment sections this year but I love n appreciate all y’all so let me say that now before everything shifts.” He may have been off about the shows but two weeks after the tweet, he dropped “Whats Poppin” and kickstarted his massive 2020 campaign. In the months since, he’s made an impact both in and outside of the booth -- in addition to dropping his Sweet Action EP in March, he has frequently used his platform in recent months to speak out against police brutality and racial injustice, particularly in his native Louisville.

Carl Lamarre: Can I say both? I mean, these two guys were groomed very early on to be marksmen in the hits department. I love Jack and Mosey because they came from less-mainstream-recognized rap scenes in Seattle and Louisville, respectively, to become power-hitters in the rap sphere in just a matter of a few years. Both young kings deserve this moment.

Joe Lynch: Personally, Lil Mosey – I know both songs have been around for a few months, but that one has been online a year now! Yes, it was officially released in February, but it leaked last summer. I remember thinking it was an effortlessly melodic, unassuming little tune at the time and I love when stuff unexpectedly becomes a top 10 hit so long after first surfacing online.

Mia Nazareno: I’m leaning towards Lil Mosey’s “Blueberry Faygo” on this one -- mostly because the accompanying dance challenge popularized on TikTok adds built-in fun to the track. Coupled with its splashy music video (featuring cameos by TikTokers @addisonre and @lilhuddy), the bop sounds like the summer we could’ve had if we weren’t cooped up inside this season.

Andrew Unterberger: Harlow, just because he has the stronger of the two songs: "Blueberry Faygo" is a dynamite warm-weather radio jam, but "Whats Poppin" is just marvelous all the way through. Harlow's vocal dexterity and clever wordplay laid over one of the year's most agile beats (courtesy of JetsonMade, Pooh Beatz, JW Lucas and LosThe Producer) made it sound like a potential smash the first time I heard it, and it's only grown on me since.

2. Both "Blueberry Faygo" and "WHATS POPPIN" received Lyrical Lemonade videos helmed by star director Cole Bennett. Do you think either visual helped its accompanying song significantly in becoming the hit its grown into? 

Josh Glicksman: I don’t think that either visual played a significant role in propelling the respective hits into the top 10, but between the two, “Blueberry Faygo” likely got a bigger boost from the music video. The Cole Bennett-directed clip wisely pays homage to TikTok -- with cutaways to a few of the app’s biggest stars, Addison Rae and Lil Huddy -- which helped boost the song’s popularity, thanks to several million users featuring the track as backing music. It’s not overly flashy, but its lavish pool party atmosphere aptly matches the vibe of the song.

Carl Lamarre: Do I think Cole Bennett's YouTube platform is a cheat code for millions of views? Absolutely, but while I believe his creativity as a video director plays an integral role during the climb to mainstream glory, we should consider the other factors involved. For Mosey, he implemented a famous Johnny Gill sample, brought in TikTok influencers for the song's video, and had fans clamoring for the record's release after a fistful of leaks contributed to the song's torrid success. As for Captain Jack, he always had a knack for penning bangers with lyrical flair, dating back to "Sundown" and "Thru the Night." Timing is everything, and these guys came through with the perfect execution.

Joe Lynch: Definitely the "Whats Poppin" clip more than "Blueberry Faygo." The former video really doubles down on the tongue-in-cheek-ness of the lyrics and adds in some inspired silly moments (lighting a French fry as a cigarette). The "Faygo" clip is well, like, Faygo: Colorful, okay in the moment of consumption but not terribly memorable.

Mia Nazareno: It certainly doesn’t hurt! At 24, Bennett has directed a library of visuals that seem to launch rising rappers into charting mainstream artists. With his almost surrealist, dream-like music videos, the director has created a recognizable and replayable archive of videos that resonate with hip-hop fans.

Andrew Unterberger: The low-key "Poppin" video probably helped just in giving the song the visibility boost it needed out of the gate. But the pool party "Faygo" clip I think really helped position the song as the summer jam it was destined to become, and Lil Mosey as the burgeoning star at the center of it all. It's what music videos are supposed to do, really.

3. "Whats Poppin" also just got a star-studded remix with DaBaby, Torey Lanez and Lil Wayne -- as well as a new verse from Harlow -- which threatens to eclipse the popularity of the original. Which of the four artists do you think stole the show on the new version? 

Josh Glicksman: Rapping alongside a crew of hip-hop A-listers, Harlow doesn’t just hold his own -- he turns in the best verse of the track. The first few keys of the piano hardly have time to dribble in before he goes into lyrical rapid fire with references to Jimmy Neutron, Gilbert Arenas and Robert De Niro. It’s an impressive effort, as he likely had the option to either leave his original verse intact or simply spruce it up a bit. Instead, he scrapped the whole thing, giving Lil Wayne room to flip a few of the song’s original bars on their head with his characteristic wordplay.

Carl Lamarre: With me being a basketball aficionado, I think Jack inched his way past the finish line with his verse. Because he was able to namedrop Gilbert Arenas and the Phoenix Suns so smoothly, he caught my ear and attention. Besides writing cheeky hooks, Jack is a more than capable wordsmith. It's one thing to rap alongside Baby and Tory, but to hold your own against Weezy, that was a special moment for him.

Joe Lynch: It's a rarity, but each one of the guest verses here is actually pretty solid. I'd say it's a tie between DaBaby and Harlow himself: DaBaby is on fire these days and he outperforms everyone with the casual intensity of his flow, but Harlow scores the best one-liners, from the TMI explanation of how one-year-olds are made to admitting, yes, he's for sale: "I got a check from the shoe company/ Now I do anything that New Balance say."

Mia Nazareno: No question about it: DaBaby. To me, it sounds like it should be DaBaby’s song featuring everyone else.

Andrew Unterberger: DaBaby and Lil Wayne both certainly bring it, but much to my surprise, the crown is indeed probably still Harlow's. Rhyming "borough" with "De Niro" -- the kind of thing you usually only have the confidence to do after you've already got a major hit under your belt.

4. Both artists are still on the young side, with Jack Harlow the elder at 22 and Lil Mosey having turned 18 earlier this year. Who's another 25-and-under artist currently on the Hot 100 who you'd like to see make their first jump to the top 10? 

Josh Glicksman: Chloe x Halle. The sister duo made their Hot 100 debut with “Do It” last week following the release of their sophomore album, Ungodly Hour. Given the song’s descent from No. 83 to No. 91 in its second week on the chart, its ascent to the top 10 might not quite be imminent, but hopefully it’s just the first of many trips to the Hot 100 to come. With the progress they’ve already made and Chloe and Halle aged just 21 and 20, respectively, they’ve got plenty of time and room to trend upward over the next few years. Oh yeah, and the continued support from Beyoncé doesn’t hurt their chances, either.

Carl Lamarre: A Boogie wit da Hoodie. Since his inception, Boogie continues to thump the competition with his sticky melodies and steady output on the Billboard 200 (he has three top-five debuts, including a No. 1 showing with 2018's Hoodie SZN). He's long overdue for a Hot 100 top-10 single with his highest-charting record coming in with the Roddy Ricch and Gunna-assisted "Numbers" at No. 23.

Joe Lynch: NLE Choppa for sure. He's reached the Hot 100 top 40 three times now but hasn't yet ascended past No. 36 (with "Shotta Flow"). But he's only 17 years old and tracks like "Camelot" – which has an oddball piano hook like "Whats Poppin" and also boasts a Cole Bennett-directed Lyrical Lemonade video -- make me think it's a matter of time before he finds the right song.

Mia Nazareno: Just like our Queen Beyoncé, I am rooting for Chloe x Halle! Hello, it’s 2020:  It’s really about time we had another Black girl group (or duo, at least)  to rule the charts. With their new album Ungodly Hour winning mostly positive reviews, I’m hopeful that “Do It” will gain more traction  and that 2020 will be their year.

Andrew Unterberger: Thanks to 24-year-old Daniel Breland for checking into the Hot 100 just in time to be my answer to this question. His debut single "My Truck," released under the mononym Breland, is one of my favorite songs of the year: unpredictable, genre-blending fun that manages to both flaunt and pay tribute to country convention. Hoping it spends all summer building on the momentum of its No. 92 debut.

5. Which song do you think will ultimately peak higher on the Hot 100 between "Whats Poppin" and "Blueberry Faygo"? Does either have a shot at No. 1? 

Josh Glicksman: I’ll go with “Whats Poppin” here. Who knows what Mosey’s team has planned, if anything, regarding another push for “Blueberry Faygo,” but thanks to the remix, “Whats Poppin” has a full head of steam more than five months after its release. It’ll also benefit from the remix’s first full week of tracking next week, which should give it another bump. And save for Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” all of the songs currently ahead of Harlow on the Hot 100 have been on the chart for at least 10 weeks. So, why not? I don’t think it’ll be a particularly lengthy stay if he gets to the top slot, but I don’t see why it can’t happen.

Carl Lamarre: I think the remix for "Whats Poppin" gave Jack's record an extra shot of adrenaline. Now that he filmed the video too, he has even more momentum to crack that coveted top-five spot on the Hot 100. With that being said, I would love to see Mosey dish out a remix of his own to keep the pace going.

Joe Lynch: Both have been on the Hot 100 for 20 weeks, but "Whats Poppin" has more heat – it jumped from No. 18 to 8, compared to "Blueberry Faygo," which rose No. 11 to 9. And since "Poppin" has the all-star remix, it seems likely to peak higher. I don't see either having the momentum to go No. 1, however.

Mia Nazareno:  I think “Blueberry Faygo” will chart higher. I’m not sure about No. 1 as the coveted top spot has been somewhat unpredictable recently, but Lil Mosey’s single is fun, light and easy to listen to. I think that’s the vibe fans are looking for as we collectively navigate -- say it with me -- these unprecedented times.

Andrew Unterberger: I think post-remix, the ceiling's been blown off for "Poppin." The new version is already outpacing the original on Spotify and iTunes, and it seems like only a matter of time before radio picks up on it as well. A jump into the top five next week seems borderline inevitable, and No. 1 could very well be in its sights not long thereafter.

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