Five Winners From 'Bodak Yellow' Going to No. 1 (Besides Cardi B)
It's only Tuesday, but pop music's winner of the week is already a dead discussion: Cardi B, one official label single into her recording career, has already scored her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)," seemingly uniting the Internet in celebration in the process.
It's a historic achievement for Cardi, who becomes just one of five female MCs with a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 following Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Shawnna and Iggy Azalea -- and the only one besides Hill to sit on the throne unaccompanied -- as well as the first artist of 2017 to reach the chart's peak with her debut Hot 100 entry. But she's far from the only beneficiary from the song's runaway success. Here are five other winners from the chart story everyone's talking about this week.
Kodak Black. It says something about the stratospheric rise of "Bodak Yellow" that its origin story -- as a quasi-remix, if not outright ode, to Kodak Black's 2015 underground hit "No Flockin'" -- is no longer a central part of the song's narrative. Nonetheless, Kodak will forever be a winner off the success of "Bodak": Not only is his name basically right there in the song's title, but the rapper also gets a writing credit (under his real name, Dieuson Octave) for the track.
It's Kodak's first credit on a No. 1 hit, but it's just the capper on an absolutely phenomenal year the MC has had on the charts. He's notched 11 entries on the Hot 100 as a lead or featured artist -- led by his solo top 10 hit "Tunnel Vision" -- and placed two albums within the top five of the Billboard 200 (Painting Pictures and Project Baby 2). He's been practically omnipresent in the pages of Billboard this year, and now he's making money moves with songs where he's not even a credited artist.
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Atlantic Records. Not like Atlantic really needed the extra reason to take a victory lap this year, after experiencing major viral and chart success in the last 12 months through its increasingly deep roster of hip-hop and R&B talent -- including Lil Uzi Vert, Kyle, D.R.A.M., and Kodak himself. But Cardi's success marks something of the crown achievement for the restocked label: Their first hip-hop Hot 100 No. 1 of 2017 via a lead artist (both Uzi and veteran MC Gucci Mane had Hot 100-toppers as featured artists, on Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles" and Migos' "Bad and Boujee," respectively). It's a big win for a label that appears to have cemented itself at the forefront of the hip-hop vanguard in 2017.
Streaming/Spotify. Going hand-in-hand with the Atlantic success is the further validation for streaming as the charts' ultimate new kingmaker (and queenmaker). Cardi B hasn't even hit the top 10 yet on radio -- "Bodak" sits at No. 13 this week on Radio Songs, though she's still climbing -- and there's zero overlap this week between the Radio Songs top five and the Hot 100's top five, while it's five-for-five between Streaming Songs and the Hot 100. Cardi is a perfect example of services like Spotify now fueling virality, with "Bodak Yellow" not even needing a meme, a viral challenge or even a particularly headline-grabbing music video to propel it toward being the biggest song in the country.
Freak Nasty. A real quick shout out to this largely forgotten '90s one-hit wonder, whose mini-dance craze anthem, "Da Dip," was a No. 15 hit on the Hot 100 in 1997. The party rapper born Carlito Thomas doesn't get a writing credit on "Bodak Yellow," but his signature hit does get a notable signal boost through Cardi's echo of the song's "I dip, you dip, we dip" refrain -- meaning more people are probably diggin' Freak Nasty without a shovel right now than they have been in two decades.
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Nicki Minaj. It might seem counter-intuitive to posit Nicki as a winner from Cardi B's success, given how many pop and hip-hop fans seem to be using the No. 1 placement of "Bodak Yellow" as an opportunity to take potshots at Nicki's chart history. Of course, despite her many Hot 100 entries over her near decade-long career in the mainstream -- 80 to be exact, more than any other female artist in chart history -- Nicki has yet to score a No. 1 hit as either a lead or feature artist, which makes Cardi B going to No. 1 unassisted her first time out a conspicuous contrast between the two rappers.
But rather than fall for the bait, Nicki flipped the script to a certain degree with her tweet yesterday, which celebrated Cardi's achievement unequivocally, expressed solidarity with her fellow Big Apple MC, and made clear it was all love between them. And even if Cardi's success has ascended to a very specific plateau Nicki has yet to reach, it doesn't mean the end for Nicki any more than Rae Sremmurd or Migos getting to No. 1 before Future would somehow mean the end for him -- there's more than enough room in hip-hop for both of 'em, and indeed, Nicki sits only seven spots below Cardi this week on the Hot 100 with her appearance on Yo Gotti's "Rake It Up," her impressive 12th top 10 hit on the chart.
Nicki Minaj's place in hip-hop, both from a historical or contemporary standpoint, is only threatened by Cardi B if Minaj chooses for it to be, and she wisely opted out of that narrative. And speaking of, Cardi similarly declined to throw fuel on the fire of a different flame fans were trying to stoke between her and Taylor Swift, whose "Look What You Made Me Do" she knocked off the Hot 100's peak -- even singing along to the song on Instagram, and telling Billboard she was bummed to have taken the song out of the top spot because she was a fan of it. Perhaps ironically for a song with such an obviously confrontational tone, nobody's choosing to pick a fight over the success of "Bodak Yellow" -- and in that way, just about everybody wins here.