Skip to main content

Chart Beat Thursday: Rihanna, Ludacris, Timbaland

With Rihanna making her sixth trip to the Hot 100 summit, only four women in the chart's 51-year history have notched more No. 1s.

ATTA ‘BOY’!: Rihanna rules the Billboard Hot 100, as “Rude Boy” rides 4-1. With the ascension, the singer improves upon an already impressive chart history that began less than five years ago.

The song marks Rihanna’s sixth trip to the Hot 100 summit, tying her with Paula Abdul and Diana Ross for fifth-most No. 1s among women in the Hot 100’s 51-year archives.

Here is a look at the chart’s leading ladies, ranked by total No. 1s:

18, Mariah Carey
12, Madonna
11, Whitney Houston
10, Janet Jackson
6, Paula Abdul
6, Rihanna
6, Diana Ross
5, Beyonce
5, Olivia Newton-John
5, Barbra Streisand


Ironically, a spotlight on the most frequent female visitors to the Hot 100’s top spot leads to a look at all the boys who’ve reached No. 1. More specifically, songs featuring “boy” in their titles.

“Rude Boy” is the 11th such song to top the Hot 100, at least one of which has led the chart in each decade since its 1958 inception:

Title, Artist, Year
“Lonely Boy,” Paul Anka, 1959
“Soldier Boy,” the Shirelles, 1962
“My Boyfriend’s Back,” the Angels, 1963
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” John Denver, 1975
“Rhinestone Cowboy,” Glen Campbell, 1975
“Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” Deniece Williams, 1984
“Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix),” Los Del Rio, 1996
“The Boy Is Mine,” Brandy & Monica, 1998
“Baby Boy,” Beyonce featuring Sean Paul, 2003
“Crank That (Soulja Boy),” Soulja Boy Tell’em, 2007
“Rude Boy,” Rihanna, 2010

Rihanna’s gender, however, maintains a comfortable lead in No. 1 representation. 21 songs sporting “girl” in their titles have led the Hot 100.

RAP UP: The “Battle of the Sexes” spills over to the Billboard 200, where Ludacris launches at No. 1, earning his fourth No. 1.

Billboard 200 chart manager Keith Caulfield notes that fewer rap albums are topping the tally of late, as “Battle of the Sexes” is the first such set to reach No. 1 in nearly six months. The genre last reigned when Jay-Z‘s “The Blueprint 3” spent its second of two weeks atop the chart dated Oct. 3, 2009.

In 2009, four rap albums led the Billboard 200, with Eminem’s “Relapse,” Rick Ross’ “Deeper Than Rap” and Fabolous’ “Loso’s Way” equaling Jay-Z’s peak. Last year marked the fewest rap No. 1s since 1994, when three rap efforts crowned the chart: the soundtrack to “Murder Was Tha Case,” Beastie Boys’ “Ill Communication” and Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle.”

The high-water mark for the most rap No. 1s in a year remains 2004, when 12 ascended to the apex. Seven led in 2005, nine in 2006, seven in 2007 and six in 2008.

(Caulfield also astutely points out that Ludacris brings sexy back to the Billboard 200 penthouse. “Battle of the Sexes” is just the second No. 1 album to feature the word “sex” in its title. In 2006, Justin Timberlake led with “FutureSex/LoveSounds” – which was dislodged from the summit by Ludacris’ prior No. 1, “Release Therapy”).

MORE RAP UP: Timbaland celebrates a pair of new No. 1s, as “Say Something,” featuring Drake, strolls 2-1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Rap Songs.

The song is the first leader for Timbaland as a performer on both tallies. His previous best peak on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs was a No. 4 showing for “Up Jumps the Boogie” with former partner Magoo in 1997. On Rap Songs, Timbaland had previously topped out at a high point of No. 9 as a guest, with Eve, on “Ryde or Die, Chick” by the Lox in 2000.

With the double domination for “Say Something,” Drake earns his third No. 1 on each chart.

LEGENDARY: Late Latin superstar Selena appears in the top 10 of Latin Albums for the first time since January 2003 with the new retrospective “La Leyenda.”

Bowing at No. 8, the collection ups Selena’s total of top 10 albums on the list to 13, padding her lead among women. Olga Tanon ranks second with 10 top 10s.

March 31 marks the 15th anniversary of Selena’s tragic passing, and “La Leyenda” serves as a stirring tribute. The box set version of the release contains booklets featuring messages from the singer’s family, friends, and countless fans worldwide.

CLASSICAL ROCK: System of a Down rocker Serj Tankian shows up on the unlikeliest of charts this week.

“Elect the Dead Symphony” arrives at No. 2 on Classical Albums. The live set, featuring covers of tracks from Tankian’s solo debut, “Elect the Dead,” which reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in 2007, was recorded with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tankian isn’t the only rock artist to segue to classical music in recent years. Since 2006, Sting has sent three sets onto Classical Albums, including two No 1s: “Dowland: Songs From the Labyrinth,” with Edin Karamazov, and the seasonal “If on a Winter’s Night…”

CHART BEAT BITS: As this season of “American Idol” reduces its field of contestants to 11, last year’s champ achieves a first on the Pop Songs chart. Rising 11-10 with “Live Like We’re Dying,” Kris Allen becomes the show’s first male winner to enter the tally’s top 10. He joins previous champs Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks in reaching the chart’s top tier. (Current contestant Didi Benami likely introduced many to the melodic “Play With Fire” Tuesday. As a B-side to the No. 9-peaking “The Last Time,” the Rolling Stones’ original peaked at No. 96 on the Hot 100 in 1965 …)

Michael Buble notches his first top 10 on a U.S. Billboard radio airplay chart other than Adult Contemporary, as “Haven’t Met You Yet” advances 11-10 on Adult Pop Songs. The track, which the “American Idol” finalists performed as a group last Thursday (March 11), has spent three weeks atop Adult Contemporary, where Buble has charted six top 10s, including three No. 1s …

Two hip-hop forefathers debut on Dance/Club Play Songs. Bob Sinclair claims Hot Shot Debut honors at No. 45 with “Lala Song,” which features Wonder Mike and Master Gee. Along with Big Bank Hank, the pair comprises the legendary Sugarhill Gang, the trio that scored the Hot 100’s first top 40 rap hit, “Rapper’s Delight,” in 1980. Wonder Mike and Master Gee end a quarter-century Billboard chart absence; Sugarhill Gang’s “Livin’ in the Fast Lane” reached No. 78 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 1984 …

As noted in Chart Beat last week, fewer Best Original Song Oscar winners have reached the Hot 100 in recent years. This year’s honoree, however, gets closer. Continued sales gains following the 82nd annual Academy Awards (March 7) send Ryan Bingham‘s “The Weary Kind” onto its first Billboard charts. The theme from “Crazy Heart” debuts on Heatseekers Songs at No. 15 and the Hot 100’s Bubbling Under chart at No. 16 …

“Telephone” chords: On Monday, Billboard reported that Lady Gaga and Beyonce have tied Mariah Carey for most No. 1s in the 17-year history of the Pop Songs chart, where “Telephone” rises 2-1. On the Hot 100, the track climbs 11-9, upping the artists’ top 10 totals to six and 14, respectively. The song is the third “Telephone” title to reach the Hot 100’s top 10. Electric Light Orchestra‘s “Telephone Line” peaked at No. 7 in 1977, and (spelling aside) Sheena Easton‘s “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)” rose to No. 9 in 1983.