Chart Beat

The Year in R&B/Hip-Hop Charts 2020: Juice WRLD Is No. 1 Artist & Roddy Ricch Is Top Rookie

Juice WRLD
Olivia Bee

Juice WRLD photographed on Feb. 13, 2019 in Los Angeles. 

Two years after Juice WRLD crowned Billboard’s Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artists chart (in 2018), the late rapper captures the top prize for the entire genre spectrum, as he leads the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists ranking for 2020. He’s the first artist to have won both the genre’s new artist and overall artist prize in his career since Drake, who was 2009’s top rookie and later went on to score overall MVP honors five times: 2012 and four consecutive years from 2015-18.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts dated Nov. 23, 2019, through Nov. 14, 2020. The rankings for Nielsen Music/MRC Data-based year-end recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology detail, and the November-November time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2020 Year-End Charts

Juice WRLD, who died in December 2019, earns the No. 1 finish through high fan engagement with his initial posthumous catalog, which includes the 2020 studio album Legends Never Die and several collaborations with other hip-hop and pop acts.

Legends, released in July, arrived with 497,000 equivalent album units earned in its debut week (according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data), the highest sum for any R&B or hip-hop album since Travis Scott’s Astroworld in August 2018. The album produced seven top 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart between its standard and deluxe editions and wraps 2020 as the No. 7 title on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums recap.

Juice WRLD also logs a second title in the top 10 of the year-end R&B/hip-hop albums recap, with his 2018 effort, Goodbye & Good Riddance, at No. 10. The set ranks in the year-end top 15 for the third consecutive year, having landed at No. 14 in 2018 and No. 9 on the 2019 edition.

Roddy Rules Radio: Directly behind Juice WRLD on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists recap, Roddy Ricch finishes at No. 2 after a stellar breakout year that featured his full-length debut album and one of 2020’s hottest singles, “The Box.” The track dominated the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for 12 weeks in January-March 2020, pushing it to No. 2 on the yearly songs review.

“Box,” on the strength of 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Songs list, ends at No. 1 on that chart for the year’s summary, as well as the top performer on the R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs and Rap Streaming Songs charts.

In addition to Roddy Ricch’s strong streaming performance, the newcomer announced himself as the R&B/hip-hop sector’s new radio juggernaut thanks to his multiple titles in the highest ranks of several year-end radio recaps.

The rapper appears on the top three titles of 2020’s Rap Airplay chart rundown. “Box” leads the trio, with “Ballin,” a collaboration with Mustard, at No. 2, and “High Fashion,” featuring Mustard, at No. 3. The pack also shows up in the top five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay final standings, though in a slightly different order -- “Ballin’” comes in at No. 3, with “Box” and “Fashion” following in that order.

On the latter, Roddy Ricch becomes only the third act in the past decade to claim three spots in the year-end top five of R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay. Drake was previously the most recent, with “Nice for What,” “God’s Plan” and a featured turn on BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive” for his 2018 triple-play. In 2011, Lil Wayne also managed the feat, all with guest spots -- on Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation,” Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now,” also featuring Busta Rhymes, and DJ Khaled’s “I’m on One,” with other supporting stars Drake and Rick Ross.

Rhythmic radio also embraced Roddy Ricch wholeheartedly in 2020. There, he snatches spots as the year’s Nos. 1 and 2 titles through an assist on DaBaby’s “Rockstar” and “Box.” The former collaboration reigned on the Rhythmic Songs chart for nine weeks in 2020, the longest run for any title since Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, posted 10 weeks on top in 2013.

Besides the top two lockdown, Roddy Ricch banks two more spots in the Rhythmic Songs top 10 year-end: “Fashion” finishes at No. 6, while “Ballin’” grabs the No. 10 position.

Thanks to the incessant onslaught of radio hits in 2020, it’s little surprise that Roddy Ricch storms to No. 1 status as the year’s top R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Artist, Rap Airplay Artist and Rhythmic Songs Artist. The combination of radio and streaming prowess also pushes him to lock up the Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist prize.

‘Hollywood,’ “Lights” Top Album, Song: Post Malone returns to the winner’s circle on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums recap, though with a different project. A year after beerbongs & bentleys was declared the genre’s top-performing set of 2019, the rapper-singer’s Hollywood’s Bleeding leads the class of 2020. The back-to-back wins make Post Malone the first artist to retain his title since Drake, whose If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Views reigned for 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Bleeding, released in September 2019, benefited from a full 52-week year of activity during the 2020 chart year and consistently high streaming for its tracks, particularly “Circles” and the Swae Lee collab “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” that buoyed the album on the R&B/hip-hop charts.

The Weeknd, meanwhile, takes the No. 1 rank on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list for 2020 with “Blinding Lights.” Though the track only led the weekly list for four weeks -- shorter than “The Box” or “Rockstar,” for example -- its incredible stamina pushed it to the top slot. “Lights” resided in the weekly top five of the chart from Feb. 22 through the close of the chart year, Nov. 14.

Expectedly, “Lights” also shines atop the year’s Hot R&B Songs recap, though, without hip-hop titles to provide much competition, it wins a runaway race. The single spent 34 weeks at No. 1 during the chart year, and in August, it broke the record for the most weeks ever at No. 1 (when it clocked its 21st week at No. 1).

“Lights” proved to be one of the most consumed tracks in 2020, scoring year-end wins as the No. 1 title on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales, R&B Digital Song Sales and R&B Streaming Songs.

Megan Makes Her Mark: Megan Thee Stallion caps a banner year and crowns the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Female Artists of 2020. With the achievement, women rappers have secured the honor in five of the past 10 years, as Megan joins Cardi B (2018-19) and Nicki Minaj (2011, 2015) on the podium.

Among Megan’s 2020 highlights, she achieved her first pair of No. 1s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, with “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, leading for two weeks in May-June and her featured spot on Cardi B’s “WAP,” which conquered for 10 weeks in August-October.

“Savage” and “WAP” rank at Nos. 7 and 10 on the 2020 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart recap, helping Megan become just one of two acts with dual appearances in the year-end top tier, with Roddy Ricch.

Plus, “Savage” secures top-dog status on the year-end Rap Digital Song Sales chart.

‘No Guidance’ Takes Twin Honors: Chris Brown’s “No Guidance,” featuring Drake, adds to its record run at radio, securing twin No. 1 finishes as the top title on both the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Adult R&B Songs charts.

On the former, “Guidance” seized the top rank for an unprecedented 27 weeks from August 2019 to this February and remained in the top 10 until May. The track then crossed over to the adult R&B format, where it powered to 11 nonconsecutive weeks atop the Adult R&B Songs chart from January-May.

The “Guidance” dual wins on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Adult R&B Songs are the first since The Weeknd’s “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” topped both lists in the 2015 final standings.