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New Around the World: Drake’s Dance Turn Makes ‘Honestly, Nevermind’ an International Success

The new album's sonic segue from his typical hip-hop resulted in a greater share of listening outside the U.S. than he scored with last year's 'Certified Lover Boy.'

Drake dominates with his 11th No. 1s on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard Hot 100, as Honestly, Nevermind and its closing track, “Jimmy Cooks,” featuring 21 Savage, bound in atop the U.S.-based charts (dated July 2), respectively. Further, the Canadian superstar crowns the Billboard Artist 100, marking his record-extending 16th week topping all three premier charts simultaneously.

Even further, Drake debuts all 13 chart-eligible songs from Honestly, Nevermind on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts. Again, “Jimmy Cooks” leads his haul, at Nos. 3 and 12, respectively, stretching to “Down Hill,” at Nos. 55 and 158.


Those two songs, and every other new Drake arrival, rank considerably higher on the Global 200, where domestic streams and sales are included, than on the Global Excl. U.S. ranking, where stateside data is removed from the equation.

Songs from Honestly, Nevermind combined for 400 million streams worldwide in the week ending June 23, according to Luminate, with 59% of those clicks from the U.S. That domestic majority is in stark contrast – more than double – to the 27% average in the U.S. among all other songs on this week’s global tallies. (The only song with a higher share of stateside streams than any Honestly, Nevermind tracks on this week’s charts is “Wait for U” by Future featuring Tems and, yep, Drake.)

As Billboard reported in June, North American rap acts universally struggle, at least relative to their home-country success, to export internationally, in large part due to language and cultural barriers for the primarily American-grown, English-language genre.

The catch this week is that Honestly, Nevermind is not a rap album.

Drake’s decade-plus discography spans pop, R&B and hip-hop, but has centered on rapping, exemplified by his record 25 No. 1s on Billboard‘s Hot Rap Songs chart and 12 No. 1s on Billboard‘s Top Rap Albums survey. His sum of chart-topping rap songs includes “Jimmy Cooks,” but that song is an outlier among Honestly, Nevermind‘s tracklist, one of just two of the album’s cuts to qualify for Hot Rap Songs (with the other, “Sticky,” new at No. 4).

Much of the album blends house and Afrobeats, fueling Drake’s first appearance on Billboard‘s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart, where Honestly, Nevermind arrives at No. 1, concurrent with 10 debuts from the LP on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

The album’s focus on melody and diverse production has notably prompted a warmer welcome overseas than Drake’s previous lyric-heavy rap efforts. Last September, songs from Drake’s album Certified Lover Boy infused the Hot 100, occupying a weekly record nine of the top 10 spots in the set’s debut week.

And while all 21 of that trademark hip-hop album’s tracks debuted on both global charts, only 32% of its streams were from outside the U.S. in the release’s debut week. That’s compared to, as noted above, 41% for the songs from Honestly, Nevermind. So, while Drake’s name-brand recognition as one of the world’s biggest rappers results in his newest album overperforming in the U.S. as compared to beyond, his newly expanded sonic footprint helped lead to a more balanced global audience for his latest music.