Chart Beat

Where Do 'WAP' & BTS Rank Among the Shortest Song Titles & Artist Names in Hot 100 No. 1 History?

BTS
Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

BTS

This past month, the Billboard Hot 100 record books made room for a new pair of No. 1s -- and they didn't need that much space to do it.

Cardi B's 'WAP,' featuring Megan Thee Stallion, debuted atop the chart in late August, making for the shortest title to reach the top spot in the 2020s so far. Then, after spending a second week at No. 1, "WAP" gave way to "Dynamite," the first Hot 100 No. 1 from BTS, the shortest-named artist to top the listing yet this decade. (After two weeks on top, this week "Dynamite" hands back off to "WAP" for a third frame.)

Where do these two No. 1s fall among the shortest names of title and artist to reach the Hot 100's apex in the chart's history? Well, since the Hot 100's introduction in 1958, "WAP" is one of just 11 songs to top the chart with a title of no more than three characters. (That's with counting punctuation as a character -- which disqualifies a pair of entries that would otherwise count, in XXXTENTACION's 2018 No. 1 "Sad!" and Katy Perry's 2010 No. 1 "E.T.," featuring Kanye West.)

Of those 11 short-titled singles, only one has fewer than three characters: Britney Spears' "3," which has reigned unchallenged as the song with the tiniest title to top the Hot 100 since it debuted at No. 1 and spent a sole week there in 2009. Past that, it's a ten-way tie for second place, between these three-character titles:

Frankie Avalon, "Why" (one week, 1959)
The Jackson 5, "ABC" (two weeks, 1970)
Edwin Starr, "War" (three weeks, 1970)
Michael Jackson, "Ben" (one week, 1972)
Michael Jackson, "Bad" (two weeks, 1987)
Rihanna, "SOS" (three weeks, 2006)
Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, "Low" (10 weeks, 2008)
Usher feat. will.i.am., "OMG" (four weeks, 2010)
Rihanna feat. Britney Spears, "S&M" (one week, 2011)
Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion, "WAP" (three weeks so far, 2020)

As you can see, Michael Jackson is the true king of the short-titled No. 1, with a pair of three-character chart-toppers on his own, and a third as part of the Jackson 5. (Britney Spears would be the queen, both with her own "3" and her featured appearance on Rihanna's "S&M.")

BTS Scores First No. 1 on Hot 100 With 'Dynamite' | Billboard News

Meanwhile, BTS is also one of 11 artists with a name of no more than three characters to top the Hot 100. (Again, this discounts artists with punctuation that takes them over three characters, so apologies to a-ha, L.V., T.I., B.o.B and fun., all of whom would be included in this ranking otherwise.) As with song titles, a single-character artist holds the record for the shortest name to appear on a No. 1 hit -- in this case, new wave outfit M with the 1979 single-week chart-topper "Pop Muzik." They are followed by alt-rock greats U2, who notched a pair of 1987 No. 1s with "With or Without You" (three weeks) and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (two weeks).

Then, it's a nine-way tie for third place among these three-character acts for the shortest-named artist with a Hot 100 No. 1:

Yes ("Owner of a Lonely Heart," two weeks, 1984)
EMF ("Unbelievable," one week, 1991)
SWV ("Weak," two weeks, 1993)
TLC ("Creep," four weeks, 1995; "Waterfalls," seven weeks, 1995; "No Scrubs," four weeks, 1999; "Unpretty," four weeks, 1999)
112 (Puff Daddy & Faith Evans' "I'll Be Missing You," feat. 112, 11 weeks, 1997)
B2K ("Bump, Bump, Bump" feat. P. Diddy, one week, 2003)
D4L ("Laffy Taffy," one week, 2006)
OMI ("Cheerleader," six weeks, 2015)
BTS ("Dynamite," two weeks so far, 2020)

(Despite sometimes being listed as AWB, the official Billboard artist credit for the 1975 Hot 100-topper "Pick Up the Pieces" was for Average White Band, so they're not included here.)

Who could be next to join these exclusive ranks? Well, the Hot 100 is currently being scaled by a trio of three-character artists, with NAV (featured on Internet Money and Gunna's "Lemonade," along with Don Toliver, at No. 38), AJR (with "Bang!" at No. 51) and A7S (along with Topic on "Breaking Me," at No. 60) all climbing on the chart this week -- and with SZA scoring the week's highest debut, with the Ty Dolla $ign-featuring "Hit Different" at No. 29.

Elsewhere on the Hot 100, two such short-titled songs also feature in the chart's lower stretches -- with Surf Mesa's Emilee-featuring "ily" landing at No. 59 and Money Man's Lil Baby-featuring "24" coming up behind it at No. 73.