The new insights come thanks to a major methodology shift for Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart that began Oct. 20, 2012—the addition of streaming and download data plus the breakout of a separate R&B Songs tally. In keeping with the consumer-influenced methodology adopted for the Billboard Hot 100, existing radio airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS was aggregated with digital download sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan and BDS streaming data.
Other major changes included adding digital download sales and streaming data for the first time to the 25-position Rap Songs chart and the launch of a chart solely focused on core R&B acts, the 25-position R&B Songs.
However, because the revamped info was only 6 weeks old at the time, the 2012 year-end charts were compiled using Billboard's previous methodology. Thus, this marks the first full year of tracking under the new methodology. Both in print and online, readers will see a deeper dive on R&B and rap, with separate chart breakouts ranging from R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay by songs and artists, R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming by songs and artists, R&B Digital Songs and R&B Songs Producers to similar tallies covering the rap front.
Also added to this year's roundup are separate R&B and rap breakouts for songwriters, publishers and publishing corporations. Meanwhile, all adult R&B and mainstream R&B/hip-hop chart info can be found online.
Now let's get down to the heart of the matter: an overview of the year in R&B/hip-hop. Blue-eyed soul and hip-hop made a major impact this year, thanks to Justin Timberlake—who ranks at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists year-end chart—Robin Thicke and indie duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
The latter pair scores three songs within the top 20 on the year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs recap, topping the tally with "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) and "Can't Hold Us" (featuring Ray Dalton) at No. 3. Thicke's worldwide smash "Blurred Lines" (featuring T.I. and Pharrell) finishes at No. 2 on that tally, with Timberlake and Jay Z rounding out the top five with the former's "Suit & Tie" and the latter's "Holy Grail."
Building on his 2012 momentum as the No. 1 act on the year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists-Male lists, Drake—both as a solo act and cameo MVP—places five tracks within the top 25 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs recap, starting with the four top 10s "Started From the Bottom," A$AP Rocky's "Fuckin Problems" (with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar), "Hold On, We're Going Home" (featuring Majid Jordan) and Lil Wayne's "Love Me" (with Future).
Also leaving multiple imprints on that year-end tally are Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, J. Cole, Alicia Keys (featuring Nicki Minaj) and Miguel.
Kendrick Lamar, whose been touring since the release of his 'good kid, m.A.A.d city' (Oct. 2012) album, took the Internet by surprise when he spit this year's most memorable verse. On Big Sean's song, "Control," which also features Jay Electronica, Kendrick Lamar checked his competition. "I'm usually homeboys with the same ni--as I'm rhyming' with/ But this is hip-hop and them ni--as should know what time it is/ And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron, Tyler, Mac Miller/ I got love for you all, but I'm tryin' murder you ni--as/ Tryin' to make sure your core fans never heard of you ni--as/ They don't wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you ni--as," he raps. The rapper ignited a conversation when calling his rap friends forth to compete for the crown.
A week after, Kendrick Lamar's critically-acclaimed album crossed the million copies sold mark.
When it comes to airplay, however, Miguel leads the charge. His breakthrough performance at the Grammy Awards in February helped spur the singer/songwriter's "Adorn" to the top of R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Songs, followed by his cameo on Cole's "Power Trip," that tally's second-place finisher, and Miguel's own "How Many Drinks?" at No. 6. Rihanna is another airplay fave thanks to Wale's "Bad" at No. 3 and her own "Pour It Up" at No. 4.
Also making airplay inroads is R&B newcomer August Alsina ("I Luv This Shit," featuring Trinidad James). His presence underscores another 2013 highlight: the emergence of a new wave of R&B talent. A closer review of the year-end R&B Albums Artists chart finds Tamar Braxton and the Weeknd rubbing elbows in the top 10 alongside Timberlake, Thicke, Rihanna, Keys, Fantasia, Miguel and John Legend. Other notable breakthroughs on the R&B Albums tally include Emeli Sandé, K. Michelle and Janelle Monáe with second album "The Electric Lady" (Atlantic). Veteran R&B hitmakers like Charlie Wilson, TGT, Kelly Rowland and Joe still hold their own as well.
With Timberlake, Rihanna, Drake, Macklemore & Lewis and Eminem holding court on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, there are still some interesting nuggets, like Whitney Houston's posthumous hits album coming in at No. 30.
Beyond Macklemore & Lewis and Drake on the rap front, icons Eminem and Jay Z also displayed their long-standing mettle. After debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with first-week sales of 792,000 in November, Eminem scored the fourth-biggest rap album of the year with "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" (Web/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope/IGA), while Jay Z finished at No. 2 with "Magna Carta Holy Grail" (Roc-a-Fella/Roc Nation) on the Rap Albums chart. Critically acclaimed next-generation rappers Lamar and Cole (who earned his first Billboard 200 No. 1 this year) help round out a Rap Albums top 10 that includes Lil Wayne, Kanye West and T.I. (who just moved with his Grand Hustle label to Columbia).
While Macklemore & Lewis, Jay Z and Drake kept a tight hold on the top four slots on the year-end Rap Songs recap, Pitbull's "Feel This Moment" (featuring Christina Aguilera) nabbed fifth place. On the Rap Airplay Songs recap, Cole's "Power Trip" (featuring Miguel) rules the roost. That top five includes Wale ("Bad"), A$AP Rocky ("Fuckin Problems"), Jay Z featuring Timberlake ("Holy Grail") and Lamar featuring Drake ("Poetic Justice").
While Timberlake takes the honor of No. 1 on the overall year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists tally, Macklemore & Lewis are No. 1 on the Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artists recap. Rihanna leads the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists-Female list.
For their work behind the sound board, first- and second-place honors on the R&B Songs Producers recap goes to Pharrell Williams and Miguel, while Ryan Lewis and Michael L. "Mike Will Made It" Williams II take the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively, on the Rap Songs Producers recap.
Additional reporting by Erika Ramirez.
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