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The Year in R&B/Hip-Hop Charts: Drake Is Top Artist for Record Fifth Year

Drake adds yet another record to his Billboard resume as he leads the 2018 year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists ranking for an unprecedented fifth time.

Drake adds yet another record to his Billboard résumé, as he leads the 2018 year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists ranking for an unprecedented fifth time. The superstar extends his title defense to a fourth consecutive year (having led the list in 2015, 2016 and 2017), in addition to his first coronation in 2012. With five year-end finishes, Drake overtakes the record he shared with R. Kelly, who led the list on four occasions: 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance during the charts dated Dec. 2, 2017, to Nov. 17, 2018. Data registered before or after a title’s chart run is not considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-to-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music.

This time, Drake traces his massive year to Scorpion, which ends the year as the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album. The set, which posted five weeks on the corresponding Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart No. 1 during the 2018 chart year (Dec. 2, 2017 through Nov. 17, 2018), is Drake’s fourth time at the helm of the annual ranking. He previously was top of the class in 2012 with Take Care, 2015 with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and 2016 with Views.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2018 Year-End Charts

And yes, the 6 God completes the holy trinity by also claiming the year’s No. 1 title on the 2018 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs recap with “God’s Plan.” The single debuted at No. 1 on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs ranking in February and clocked 11 consecutive weeks at the summit, tied for the longest reign of any track this year with fellow Scorpion cut “In My Feelings.”

“Plan” duplicates its top-dog status on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 recap, Drake’s first time in the winner’s circle.

In addition to his aforementioned triple crown, Drake likewise posts another hat trick as the No. 1 artist on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales and R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs charts.

New ‘WRLD’ Order: Meanwhile, Juice WRLD snags the Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist honor thanks to an impressive set of singles and hit album. The rookie first broke during the summer with a pair of streaming-friendly tracks: “All Girls Are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams.” While the former peaked at No. 20 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and spent 20 weeks on the chart, the latter combined its consistently high streams with a late surge in airplay to reach No. 1 on the list for two weeks in October.


Fans quickly proved the now 20-year-old Chicago native was no two-hit wonder. His debut studio set, Goodbye & Good Riddance, opened at No. 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spent its first 22 weeks inside the chart’s top 10.

In addition to his own set, the artist (born Jared Higgins) earned an impressive co-sign in his rookie season by collaborating with Future on the joint album, Future & Juice WRLD Present…WRLD on Drugs, which debuted at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in November.

Ella Mai Takes Radio Prize: Though Drake is the year’s top artist on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, 2018’s top song belongs to Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up.” In an era of incessant instant viral hits, this song took the scenic route, taking more than a year to bloom from a languishing R&B cut to a record-breaking radio hit.


Mai originally uploaded “Boo’d” in February 2017 alongside her Ready EP. Reception began to grow, though, after the British singer-songwriter opened several dates for Kehlani’s SweetSexySavage Tour and radio airplay began slowly but steadily improving. The uptick hit its stride in the spring of 2018, and strong reception from both adult and mainstream audiences helped the song scale the summit of the weekly R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart in June.

Though the march to No. 1 was slow, the reward was rich. “Boo’d” held onto the rank for 16 straight weeks, an unparalleled feat for any song by a woman and the second-best showing of any title in the chart’s 25-year history. By topping the chart for nearly one-third of a year, “Boo’d” not only lays secures its status as the 2018 champ, but Mai’s debut single also earns a place among the biggest R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay hits of all time.

Beyond its radio feat, “Boo’d” also wraps 2018 as the top track on the R&B Streaming Songs and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay charts. Plus, its 13-week standing at No. 1 on Hot R&B Songs helps Mai claim the honor of the year’s top Hot R&B Songs artist.

Billboard Year in Music 2018