Brooklyn rapper Desiigner has spent two weeks at the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 (beginning on the May 7 chart) with his breakout hit, "Panda." To many, his achievement is notable, even controversial, because he sounds so much like Future, an Atlanta rapper who, for all his success, has yet to score a top 10 hit as a lead on the Hot 100.
In fact, Desiigner topping the Hot 100 with his first entry on the chart is so unusual that fewer than 20 rap acts have reigned in their rookie appearances in the chart's history. A few, like Diddy or Lauryn Hill, arrived with No. 1s after making their names as producers or in groups. But, for rappers and group rap acts that went from no chart history right to a No. 1, that kind of overnight success can be a blessing … or a curse, and no guarantee of future hits. Take a look at all the rap acts whose first Hot 100 entries (as lead artists) reached No. 1, from the first in 1990, by Vanilla Ice, all the way through Desiigner's domination.
The No. 1: "Ice Ice Baby" (1990)
Later Hits: The song on which "Ice Ice Baby" was initially released as the B-side, "Play That Funky Music," became its follow-up, reaching No. 4 on the Hot 100. But, Robert Van Winkle notched only two more songs in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 over the next year before vanishing from the charts, later resurfacing in various reality TV and acting roles.
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
The No. 1: "Good Vibrations," featuring Loleatta Holloway (1991)
Later Hits: Like fellow white rapper Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark followed his No. 1 with another top 10, "Wildside," and two Hot 100 hits that missed the top 40 over the next year. Unlike Vanilla Ice, however, Mark Wahlberg soon shed his rap persona and became a hugely successful actor.
The No. 1: "Jump" (1992)
Later Hits: Although "Jump" was the only top 10 Hot 100 hit for the teenage duo, Kris Kross notched half a dozen more Hot 100 hits over the next four years. Sadly, its story ended in tragedy, with Chris Kelly dying of a drug overdose in 2013.
The No. 1: "Informer" (1993)
Later Hits: After the white Canadian rapper successfully fused hip-hop and reggae on "Informer," with the unlikely assistance of '80s hip-hop pioneer MC Shan, Snow scored only one more top 40 hit, the No. 19-peaking follow-up "Girl I've Been Hurt," before disappearing entirely from the U.S. charts (although more hits followed on the Canadian charts). Notably, with Desiigner currently blocking Drake from the top of the Hot 100 (dated May 14), Snow remains the only Canadian rapper with a No. 1 as a lead act on the chart.
The No. 1: "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," feat. Mase (1997)
Later Hits: Sean Combs was, of course, known previously as an entrepreneur and producer, founding Bad Boy Records and introducing The Notorious B.I.G., among others. Still, "Down" was his first Hot 100 hit as a lead and, with 37 total visits to date (under his various monikers), he boasts the most of any act on this list.
The No. 1: "Getting' Jiggy Wit It" (1998)
Later Hits: He arrived as the latter half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, tallying eight Hot 100 hits in 1988-93, including 1991's No. 4 smash "Summertime." He's doubled his output as a soloist, and reached No. 1 twice; become an Oscar-nominated A-list actor; and has even seen his son Jaden and daughter Willow follow their proud papa onto the Hot 100 with hits of their own.
The No. 1: "Doo Wop (That Thing)" (1998)
Later Hits: The Fugees gave Hill her start, before she went solo and topped the Hot 100 with her own debut track. She'd follow with two more top 40 hits in 1999.
The No. 1: "Shake Ya Tailfeather" [Nelly, P. Diddy & Murphy Lee] (2003)
Later Hits: The biggest hit from the Bad Boys II soundtrack sports three lead artists sharing top billing, two of them established stars who'd already achieved No. 1 hits. Murphy Lee, however, earned his first and only Hot 100 leader with this song, adding to the various chart entries he's placed with his buddy Nelly via their group St. Lunatics. "Tailfeather" was Lee's second of three Hot 100 hits; previously, he was feaured on Nelly's "Air Force Ones" (No. 3) and, after, his own "Wat Da Hook Gon Be," featuring Jermaine Dupri, reached No. 17.
The No. 1: "Lean Back" (2004)
Later Hits: The Bronx rap group launched in the late '90s with Big Punisher as its biggest name. Although he died in 2000, the act released a second album in 2004 that yielded its first and biggest Hot 100 hit. Terror Squad notched one No. 62-peaking follow-up on the Hot 100. Still, "Lean Back" anchors Fat Joe and Remy Ma enjoyed plenty of success on the charts as solo artists, reuniting as a duo for this year's top 10 Hot Rap Songs hit "All the Way Up," featuring French Montana.
The No. 1: "Laffy Taffy" (2006)
Later Hits: Rocketing to the top of the Hot 100 on the back of Atlanta's snap music craze, D4L charted one follow-up , "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me" (No. 72). Ironically, the only member of the group who enjoyed a solo hit on the Hot 100 after the group dissolved was Shawty Lo, who didn't appear on "Laffy Taffy."
The No. 1: "This Is Why I'm Hot" (2007)
Later Hits: Like Desiigner, Mims arrived as a New York rapper with a hit paying tribute to regional hip-hop sounds (with samples of Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a G Thang" and E-40's "Tell Me When to Go"). After "Hot," Mims cooled down, though managing two more Hot 100 visits.
Soulja Boy Tell’em
The No. 1: "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (2007)
Later Hits: After becoming YouTube's first major hip-hop success story, Soulja Boy Tell'Em made nine more Hot 100 trips as a lead or featured artist over the next three years. But, he's remained visible and influential in the years since, collaborating with major stars like Drake and Nicki Minaj, and scoring a writing credit on Beyonce's new album Lemonade for her interpolation of his top 20 hit from 2009, "Turn My Swag On."
The No. 1: "Low," feat. T-Pain (2008)
Later Hits: The Sunshine State rapper his hit plenty of highs after "Low," placing 27 hits on the Hot 100, including 10 more top 10s and two more No. 1s. He remains in the Hot 100's top 20 (on the May 14 chart ) with his latest smash, the No. 4-peaking "My House."
The No. 1: "Nothin' On You," featuring Bruno Mars (2010)
Later Hits: Although "Nothin' On You" was perhaps more notable for launching the career of pop superstar Bruno Mars, B.o.B has done quite well for himself, with a run of 20 Hot 100 hits (to date), including three more top 10s. In 2016, B.o.B has attracted attention not so much for his music but for supporting the theory that the Earth is flat.
Far East Movement
The No. 1: "Like a G6" featuring Cataracs & Dev (2010)
Later Hits: Far East Movement followed with two more Hot 100 hits: "Rocketeer" (featuring Ryan Tedder) also flew to the top 10 (No. 7) and the Justin Bieber collaboration "Live My Life" rose to No. 21.
The No. 1: "Black and Yellow" (2011)
Later Hits: Although Wiz Khalifa had several successful mixtapes, and a song on the Hot 100's Bubbling Under chart (2008's "Say Yeah") before "Black and Yellow," he's logged one of the most prosperous careers of any rapper on this recap. Over the last five years, he's enjoyed another Hot 100 No. 1, 2015's "See You Again," as well as five more top 10s, and a total of 30 visits to the survey.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The No. 1: "Thrift Shop," featuring Wanz (2013)
Later Hits: The Seattle duo managed to make lightning strike twice when "Can't Hold Us" (featuring Ray Dalton) quickly followed "Thrift Shop" to No. 1. The pair has since scored three more top 15 Hot 100 hits, including "Downtown" in late 2015.
The No. 1: "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX (2014)
Later Hits: The summer that "Fancy" broke out, Iggy Azalea also notched a No. 2 hit, as featured on Ariana Grande's "Problem." She then followed with her own No. 3-peaking "Black Widow" (featuring Rita Ora). Her chart success has been more scattered since then, including her latest entry, "Team," which has reached No. 42.
The No. 1: "Panda" (2016)
Later Hits: … We'll see! Judging by the predecessors above, he could have no more No. 1s or top 10s … or a few ... or several. Whatever his future holds, thanks to his first Hot 100 smash, he's joined a select group of acts to soar to the top on his very first try.