Ask Billboard: 'Black Beatles,' 'Black Barbies' & Other Response Songs

Courtesy Photo
Rae Sremmurd in the video for "Black Beatles."

Before Rae Sremmurd & Nicki Minaj's tracks, other hits & songs they inspired have (occasionally) charted simultaneously.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20

Hi Gary,

Nicki Minaj's "Black Barbies" debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Dec. 24) at No. 65. With Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles" (featuring Gucci Mane), on which "Barbies" is based, at No. 1 for a fifth week, I was curious: have there been other cases of a song and a reworking of it charting simultaneously?

Thanks,

Gal Hazor
Düsseldorf, Germany

Hi Gal,

As previously noted, "Beatles" was written by Rae Sremmurd (Khalif "Swae Lee" and Aaquil "Slim Jxmmi" Brown), Gucci Mane and Mike WiLL Made-It. The fab four are also credited as the writers of "Barbies," along with Minaj, with new lyrics giving the song her own perspective.

Before answering your question, first let's point out that numerous straight-up versions of the same song have charted on the Hot 100 at the same time; for example, Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood's takes on "Inside Your Heaven" placed at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the July 2, 2005-dated Hot 100 (a week after Underwood's version debuted at No. 1).

But, songs that make over hits lyrically and scale the Hot 100 at the same time as the songs that spurred their creation are much rarer. Still, such titles have doubled up, going back to even before the arrival of The Beatles themselves.

The first act that might come to mind is parody king "Weird Al" Yankovic, who has sent multiple send-ups of hits onto the Hot 100, although most charted after the originals that inspired them. After seven Hot 100 entries beginning in 1983, all of which followed the chart runs of the songs that were parodied, his "Amish Paradise" debuted on March 30, 1996. That week, Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" ranked at No. 32 after spending three weeks at No. 1. The songs would chart simultaneously for six weeks.

(Yankovic's next Hot 100 entry, and first and only top 10, the No. 9-peaking "White & Nerdy," debuted on Oct. 14, 2006; two weeks earlier, on Sept. 30, 2006, Chamillionaire's Ridin'," featuring Krayzie Bone, tallied its last week on the chart after logging two weeks at No. 1.)

In between Yankovic's odes to Coolio (not amused at first, although he ultimately was) and Chamillionaire (who said of Yankovic, "He's actually rapping pretty good on it, it's crazy. I didn't know he could rap like that"), TLC spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, starting on April 10, 1999, with "No Scrubs." The song was No. 2 on May 15, when Sporty Thieves' male-defense reworking "No Pigeons" debuted at No. 80. It took flight to No. 12 on July 3, the last week that "Scrubs" spent in the top 10 (at No. 8).

(The songs ranked side-by-side on July 17, 1999, with the women's perspective the winner, as "Scrubs" placed at No. 13 and "Pigeons," at No. 14. While the two songs were on the chart together, "Scrubs" always ranked higher than "Pigeons.")

Meanwhile, we can look back much farther for examples of so-called answer songs that appeared on the Hot 100 at the same time as the songs that sparked them. On Nov. 28, 1960, Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome To-Night?" began a six-week reign, which would last through the Jan. 2, 1961 chart. On that latter list, Dodie Stevens debuted at No. 98 with a reinterpretation that would peak at No. 60: her (not surprisingly affirmative) response to the King, "Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight."

READERS' FAVORITES OF 2016

@gthot20 Please check out my 2016 year end mashup, based on Billboard's weekly charts :)

‏@DylanGLC

Dylan,

Great work (work, work, work, work)!

Which reminds me … time to send in your favorites of 2016! Please feel free to email your top songs, albums, concerts and/or more from the past year to askbb@billboard.com, and we'll present readers' favorites in the upcoming annual year-end "Ask Billboard."