Mary J. Blige's 'Thick of It' Has Fastest Climb to No. 1 in Over 20 Years on Adult R&B Songs

Courtesy of UMG
Mary J Blige

Also, Joe Budden’s No. 1 album debut & Bryson Tiller’s "Let Me Explain" arrives.

Mary J. Blige earns her fifth No. 1 on the Adult R&B Songs airplay chart (dated Nov. 12) as “Thick of It,” from her upcoming album Strength of a Woman, vaults to the top in only four weeks -- the quickest run to No. 1 in 21 years.

The last time a song hit No. 1 in four weeks or less was on the Nov. 11, 1995-dated chart when Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” (from Waiting to Exhale) vaulted 10-1 in its second charting week. Coincidentally, Blige’s first No. 1 was also from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack -- “Not Gon’ Cry” spent four weeks atop the chart in 1996.

As for “Thick of It,” a 19 percent increase in plays in the week ending Oct. 30 (according to Nielsen Music) pushes the track 2-1. The track received strong support at the format, with each of the 59 reporting stations playing the song multiple times in the latest tracking week. WKZJ, Columbus, Georgia, gave “Thick of It” the most weekly spins, with 41.

“Thick of It” tops the chart 20 years, eight months, and one week after “Cry” reached the peak, giving Blige the longest span of No. 1s in the chart’s 23-year history. Previously, Toni Braxton held the longest duration between her first and most recent chart-topper (20 years, three months). When the chart launched on Sept. 18, 1993, Braxton inaugurated the No. 1 spot with “Another Sad Love Song,” from her debut self-titled album. In all, she has scored seven No. 1 hits, most recently with “Hurt You,” alongside Babyface (Dec. 14, 2013).

Budden Bows at No. 1: Meanwhile, Joe Budden arrives at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with Rage & The Machine, arriving with just under 10,000 copies sold in the week ending Oct. 27. The arrival marks Budden’s second chart-topping set, and first since his 2013 effort No Love Lost, which debuted atop the Feb. 23, 2013 list.

Budden’s entrance marks the lowest sales figure for a No. 1 album on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in nearly two years -- since Big K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica spent its second week at No. 1 on the Dec. 6, 2014-dated list, with 9,000 sold. Since 2010, no other albums have reached No. 1 on the chart with less than 12,000 units sold.

Over on the multi-metric Billboard 200, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA), Rage & The Machine debuts at No. 40 with 11,000 equivalent units.

Tiller’s Surprise Release: Lastly, Bryson Tiller takes the No. 20 debut on Hot R&B Songs with his latest release “Let Me Explain.” Tiller’s surprise release arrives with 1.7 million U.S. streams (week ending Oct. 27) and 7,000 digital downloads sold. Notably, the song has not received any significant airplay yet, with five total spins logged on national R&B/hip-hop stations (that report to the chart) during the week ending Oct. 30.

Earlier this year, Tiller held nine simultaneous spots on the Hot R&B Songs chart with tracks from his debut album, Trapsoul, all dotting the list for four consecutive weeks -- the most concurrently charting tracks from any debut set.