Latin Grammys 2018

Ask Billboard: JAY-Z Hits the Hot 100 With His Mom … and With a Song About Himself

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage
Jay Z poses with his mother, Gloria Carter during an evening of "Making The Ordinary Extraordinary" hosted by The Shawn Carter Foundation at Pier 54 on Sept. 29, 2011 in New York City. 

JAY-Z joins two clubs: artists who've charted with a parent and with self-referencing hits.

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,

I suppose that it's rather rare to see a son-and-mother collaboration on the Billboard Hot 100 (or any chart), but we see that special pairing this week as "Smile," by JAY-Z featuring mom Gloria Carter debuts at No. 56 (on the chart dated July 29).

Plus, new at No. 51 we see JAY-Z and wife Beyonce with another cut from his new album 4:44, "Family Feud." Of course, their first child became the youngest artist to score a hit on any Billboard chart: "Glory," by dad JAY-Z featuring B.I.C., aka Blue Ivy Carter, which includes the then-newborn's coos, hit No. 63 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2012.

So, JAY-Z has charted songs with wife Beyonce (before and after they married), daughter Blue Ivy and now mom Gloria.

Plus, he saved a little musical room for himself: he also enters the Hot 100 at No. 55 with "Kill Jay Z." The confessional track mentions Blue Ivy – "You gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue" – as well as one more member of the family, his sister-in-law: "You egged Solange on, knowin' all along, all you had to say you was wrong."

That's all 4(:44) now,

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Thanks Pablo,

Speaking of JAY-Z's new album, he and Beyonce now boast another connection: 4:44 follows her 4, in 2011. The number has special meaning between them; click here … four … details.

Let's dig a little deeper into the two main points you note: an act charting with a parent and an act charting with a self-referencing title.

Before JAY-Z and daughter Blue Ivy and now JAY-Z and mom Gloria charting together, parent-offspring collabs include a duet that topped the Hot 100 just more than 50 years ago: "Somethin' Stupid," by dad Frank and daughter Nancy Sinatra, which ruled for three weeks in 1967.

While not officially credited, Nat King Cole is central to daughter Natalie's "Unforgettable," with the virtual duet having hit No. 14 on the Hot 100 in 1991.

Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley have charted two songs together: the father-daughter-themed "Ready, Set, Don't Go" rose to No. 4 on Hot Country Songs, and No. 37 on the Hot 100, in 2008, while "Butterfly Fly Away" fluttered to No. 56 on the Hot 100 in 2009.

Mariah Carey charted with her mom, Patricia, as "O Come All Ye Faithful"/"Hallelujah Chorus" reached No. 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs' Bubbling Under chart in 2011. Like JAY-Z, Carey has also recorded across multiple generations: she introduced both her son Moroccan and daughter Monroe ("Roc" and "Roe") on the song "Supernatural," from her 2014 album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. "Especially Monroe, that's her song," Carey said while promoting the set. "She opens the song … something along the lines of, 'goo goo goo.' For a two-and-a-half-year-old, she was a steady vibrato."

And, in 2016, Meghan Trainor not only recorded a song called "Mom," it features her mom, Kelli Trainor. The track hit No. 24 on the Pop Digital Song Sales chart, shortly after Mother's Day.

Meanwhile, "Kill Jay Z" joins a not entirely exclusive group of songs that name-check artists' own names in their titles, including by superstars of several genres.

"My Name Is Prince," by (guess who) Prince, and the New Power Generation, hit No. 36 on the Hot 100 in 1992.

Madonna's "B**** I'm Madonna" marks her 57th and most recent Hot 100 entry (in 2015), as well as her 46th and most recent, record-extending No.  1 on Dance Club Songs. Speaking of Madonna-referencing material, in 2007 Robbie Williams and Pet Shop Boys hit No. 12 on Dance Club Songs with "She's Madonna." The acts reunited for 2009's No. 5-peaking "We're the Pet Shop Boys."

Back to Carey: "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" became a No. 6 Dance Club Songs hit in 2000.

In 1991, M.C. Hammer's "Here Comes the Hammer" nailed down a No. 15 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs peak. Later that year, "Color Me Badd" by (one guess …) Color Me Badd (correct!) debuted and reached No. 56. Another R&B boy band had put its name in a song title (sort of) in 1990: Bell Biv DeVoe's "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)" hit No. 26 on the Hot 100 (after "Poison" and "Do Me!" had each reached No. 3).

And, before BBD, a fellow Boston boy band recorded a song that doubles as its name, as well as the title cut to its debut album: "New Kids on the Block," by New Kids on the Block (from New Kids on the Block …)

That song is from 1986, a year before "Living in a Box" by Living in a Box became a No. 17 Hot 100 hit.

1998 was a good year for debut hits by acts name-checking themselves in songs, a strategy that makes some sense for artists seeking to build familiarity. "Are You Jimmy Ray?" by Jimmy Ray jumped to a No. 13 Hot 100 peak and "Cleopatra's Theme" by Cleopatra (released on the Maverick Records imprint, co-founded by Madonna) reached No. 26.

Two other acts that went on to wildly greater success after breaking through in the late '90s referenced themselves in hits, if not completely directly: Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" climbed to No. 17 on the Hot 100 in 1997 and Backstreet Boys' "Everybody [Backstreet's Back]" surged to No. 4 in 1998.

Dr. Dre's "Dre Day" hit No. 8 on the Hot 100 in 1993. Six years later, reminder "Still D.R.E." dented the chart with a No. 93 peak. In 2000, Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre" reached No. 25. That track features Eminem, whose Hot 100 entries before and after stopped just short of officially name-checking himself: his first Hot 100 hit, "My Name Is" (No. 36, 1999), and "The Real Slim Shady" (No. 4, 2000).

In 2001, "Diddy" by P. Diddy featuring The Neptunes peaked at No. 66 on the Hot 100.

And, 10 years ago, Fergie turned her name into an adjective, and a Hot 100 hit, as "Fergalicious" flew to No. 2.

On Hot Country Songs, Alabama has charted three titles that include the band's name: "My Home's in Alabama" (No. 17, 1980); "Sweet Home Alabama" (No. 75, 1995); and 2011's "Old Alabama," by Brad Paisley featuring Alabama, which became the group's 33rd No. 1 and whose title is a direct reference to its classic catalog.

On Mainstream Rock Songs, supergroup Traveling Wilburys taught listeners the "Wilbury Twist," a No. 46 hit in 1991. Around the same time, Bart Simpson promoted his own dance in a song: "Do the Bartman" hit No. 24 on Radio Songs. (Cool, man.)

Meanwhile, 20 years ago this week, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans' "I'll Be Missing You," featuring 112, continued its Hot 100 reign (ultimately leading for 11 weeks). The song is a tribute to The Notorious B.I.G.; two years later, the late rapper's "Notorious B.I.G." hit No. 82. The track features Puff Daddy and Lil' Kim and samples "Notorious," a No. 2 Hot 100 hit in 1987 by a band that, while it has never name-checked itself in a song title, doubles up in its name: Duran Duran.