Chart Beat

Pop Smoke's 'Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon' Breaks No. 1 Record on Top Rap Albums Chart

Pop Smoke
Tracy Awino/Bleacher Report

Pop Smoke

The late Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, rewrites the record books atop Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart as the project lands its 20th week on top, the most since the chart began in 2004.

Moon sets the mark on the chart dated March 27 thanks to 40,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 18, according to MRC Data.

With its 20th week in charge, Moon passes Eminem’s Recovery as the chart’s longest leader. The latter LP posted 19 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 in 2010-11. As the standings change, here’s a recap of the albums with the most terms at the top:

Weeks at No. 1, Album Title, Artist, Year(s) at No. 1
20, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, Pop Smoke, 2020-21
19, Recovery, Eminem, 2010-11
16, Take Care, Drake, 2011-12
14, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem, 2013-14
13, The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, 2012-13
12, Hamilton: An American Musical, Original Broadway Cast Recording, 2015-17
11, DAMN., Kendrick Lamar, 2017
10, The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z, 2009-10

Though the Top Rap Albums chart began in 2004, Pop Smoke’s album still ranks in the highest tier of hip-hop projects since the genre’s mainstream explosion in the 1990s. On the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, whose history dates to 1965, Moon is the second-longest No. 1 title among rap sets, trailing only MC Hammer’s Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em and its 29-week reign in 1990. Besides Hammer, only three other rap LPs have lasted even 20 weeks in the top five on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums before 2004: Dr. Dre’s 1992 classic The Chronic (28), Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle the following year (26) and Ludacris’ Word of Mouf (21) in 2001.

Unlike its other 10-week-plus No. 1 competitors, Moon’s rise comes after a change in chart calculations in February 2017. Then, the Top Rap Albums chart shifted from ranking albums solely by album sales to a multi-metric computation that includes album sales as well as on-demand streams and individual song sales of that album’s tracks.

Moon was released in July 2020, nearly five months after Pop Smoke was killed during a home invasion the prior February at age 20. The album served as his proper studio full-length debut, after multiple mixtapes.

Since its release, the album has endured both thanks to Pop Smoke fans’ extensive dedication to supporting the late budding rapper’s catalog as well as a steady stream of hit radio singles in the last nine months. Moon’s first four singles – “Dior,” “The Woo” featuring 50 Cent and Roddy Ricch, “For the Night” featuring Lil Baby and DaBaby and “What You Know Bout Love” – have all reached the top five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, with the lattermost joining the club this week through a 6-5 rise.

The latter three also picked up traction on Rhythmic Airplay, too. “The Woo” climbed to No. 3 while “For the Night” and “What You Know Bout Love” led the list for five and four weeks, respectively. There, current Moon single “Hello,” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, shows early signs of following in its predecessors’ footsteps, as it ranks at No. 19 in its fifth week on the 40-position chart. In the latest tracking week, ending March 21, the track gained 8% in plays across monitored Rhythmic airplay stations.