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Ari Lennox ‘Beyond Grateful’ for First Radio No. 1 With ‘Pressure’

The singer-songwriter's hit also hits the top three on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay.

Ari Lennox scores her first No. 1 on a Billboard radio chart as her single “Pressure” leads the Adult R&B Airplay chart dated Feb. 5. The track advances from the runner-up spot thanks to a 10% gain in plays to become the most-played song on monitored U.S. adult R&B radio stations in the week ending Jan. 30, according to MRC Data.

“Pressure,” released on Dreamville/Interscope Records, arrives at the summit in its 19th week on the list. It evicts “Smokin’ out the Window,” by Silk Sonic (the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak), which falls to No. 2 after one week in charge. The new champ also gives Lennox her first Adult R&B Airplay leader on her third chart appearance. Her maiden entry, “Shea Butter Baby,” featuring J. Cole, peaked at No. 11 in 2019, while a featured turn on Skip Marley’s “Make Me Feel” stopped at No. 14 the next year.


“I’m beyond grateful,” Lennox tells Billboard in an emailed statement. “I love you, Dreamville, Interscope, radio PDs and DJs, Justin Lamotte, JD, Johnta Austin, Jai’Len Josey, Brian Michael Cox, Elite and all my beautiful family and fans that supported this record.”

The list of names refers to the creative team behind the record, with production from Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox, while Lennox shares co-writing credit with five others.

For Dupri and Cox, notably, “Pressure” is the third No. 1 on Adult R&B Airplay that the veteran producers share. They previously reigned together with Monica’s “Love All Over Me,” a four-week champ in 2010, and through Usher’s two-week No. 1 “Don’t Waste My Time,” featuring Ella Mai, in 2020.

Elsewhere, “Pressure” pushes 6-3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, which ranks titles based on audience impressions from both adult-leaning and mainstream-centered R&B and hip-hop stations. In addition, it wins the weekly Greatest Gainer prize for the most audience growth among the chart’s 50 titles. During the latest tracking week, the single added 3.1 million in listenership to reach 17.7 million, a 21% surge.

While the adult R&B format clearly plays a major role in that growth, “Pressure” is also increasing its standing with mainstream audiences. The song climbs 14-12 on the latest Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart after a 28% boost in weekly plays and is her highest charting hit there, surpassing the No. 17 peak of “BMO” in 2019.

Gains from the radio formats help “Pressure” crack the top 40 of the all-genre Radio Songs chart with a 43-40 move, as it increases 19% in audience to 18.2 million in the week ending Jan. 28. The radio boost, in turn, prompts the song’s new peak on the Billboard Hot 100, which combines radio airplay with sales and streaming into its rankings. There, “Pressure” rises 84-78 in its fifth week on the list.