Coi Leray’s ‘Players’ Deconstructed: Hits Honoring the ’80s Are on the Rise
Hit Songs Deconstructed analyzes the compositional traits of Leray's first Hot 100 top 10.
As previously reported, Coi Leray lands her first Billboard Hot 100 top 10, as “Players” jumps to No. 9 on the April 1-dated chart.
Here’s a look at the sonic and lyrical elements that have helped the song surge, as well as a notable trend that “Players” furthers among recent hip-hop hits.
Overt Retro 1980s Influence
Over the past decade, hip-hop songs with an overt retro 1980s influence have been few and far between, with only three making it into the Hot 100’s top 10 from 2013 to 2021:
- Eminem’s “Berzerk” (No. 3 peak, 2013)
- Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles,” featuring Gucci Mane (No. 1 for seven weeks, 2016-17)
- Post Malone’s “Congratulations,” featuring Quavo (No. 8, 2017)
In contrast, over just the past year, three overt retro ’80s-driven songs have hit the Hot 100’s top 10:
- Latto’s “Big Energy” (No. 3, April 2022)
- Nicki Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl” (No. 1, one week, August 2022)
- Coi Leray’s “Players” (No. 9, to-date, April 2023)
Honoring the Past
Notably, all three such Hot 100 top 10s over the past year revisit, and reinvent, classic hits from the early ’80s:
- “Big Energy”: samples Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” (a No. 31 Hot 100 hit in 1982)
- “Super Freaky Girl”: samples Rick James’ “Super Freak” (No. 16, 1981)
- “Players”: samples Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message” (No. 62, 1982)
The above three originals also hit Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1981-82.
What’s Common, and Uncommon, Among Current Hits
Digging deeper into these three most recent ’80s-influenced hip-hop hits, they share the following key commonalities, which are in line with newer hip-hop top 10s on the Hot 100:
- The songs feature a combination of sung and rapped vocals.
- They possess two verses and three choruses each.
- All have their choruses preceding the first verse, a quality more popular in hip-hop than in pop.
In addition, the songs also share qualities that are less common in hip-hop, helping distinguish them while still fitting in among other hits. In addition to their ’80s sample-driven melodies:
- They feature solo female lead vocals.
- All feature a pre-chorus, which is uncommon among hip-hop top 10s.
‘Girls Is Players, Too’
Further, “Players” further stands out for its female empowerment lyrical theme, which is highly uncommon among recent Hot 100 top 10s.
David and Yael Penn are the co-founders of Hit Songs Deconstructed, which provides compositional analytics for top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits. In 2022, Hit Songs Deconstructed and fellow song analysis platform MyPart partnered to launch ChartCipher, a new platform analyzing hit songs, as defined by Billboard‘s charts.