Drake takes over as the top artist in the U.S., rocketing 21-1 for his first week atop the Billboard Artist 100 chart. The catalyst: the lofty, and sudden, launch of his album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Impressively, he’s the first rapper to rule the Artist 100 ranking.
The Artist 100 is the first weekly survey dedicated to measuring artist activity across Billboard‘s most influential charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, Top Album Sales and the Social 50. The Artist 100 blends data measuring album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.
Drake vaults to No. 1 on the Artist 100 with an 850 percent surge inactivity. (He’d previously risen as high as No. 13, and never below No. 33, while appearing on the chart each week dating to its inception last July.) The start of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is largely responsible for his surge, as the surprise set starts atop the Top Album Sales chart with 495,000 copies sold in the week ending Feb. 15, according to Nielsen Music. As previously reported, Drake released the new set unexpectedly late Thursday, Feb. 12. Album sales account for 73 percent of his Artist 100 points.
While Drake is the first rapper to lead the Artist 100, he’s also just the third R&B/hip-hop act (of 13 total leaders so far) to reign. He joins Trey Songz, who topped the first list (July 19), and Chris Brown (Oct. 4).
Below Drake’s coronation on the Artist 100, Taylor Swift descends 1-2 after logging a record 16 weeks at the summit. Ed Sheeran (2-3), Sam Smith (3-4) and Maroon 5 (4-5) also each drop a spot in the top five.
Also notably, Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s new music-biz serial Empire, enters the Artist 100 at No. 76. All his points on the chart stem from digital song sales, led by single “Keep Your Money,” which (credited to Empire Cast featuring Jussie Smollett) becomes the series cast’s first entry on the Hot 100, where it debuts at No. 99. With 27,000 downloads sold, the track, co-written and -produced by Timbaland, also rises 34-32 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, marking the cast’s best rank among four charted titles on the tally.
(Fun fact: Smollett, 31, had a role, as a preteen, in the 1992 hit film The Mighty Ducks.)