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Rihanna’s ‘Work’ Pays Off With No. 1 Debut on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart

In the last 18 years, only two songs have blasted onto Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 1, and Rihanna claims both.

In the last 18 years, only two songs have blasted onto Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 1, and Rihanna claims both.

The singer earns her fifth No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (chart dated Feb. 13) with the arrival of her new single “Work,” featuring Drake, who scores his 14th topper on the tally.  The song is from Rihanna’s new album Anti, and surges onto the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 9.

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“Work” is driven by its hefty sales and airplay. It enters R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs at No. 1 with 126,000 downloads sold (in less than two full days of tracking following its Jan. 27 arrival), according to Nielsen Music, and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay at No. 15 (marking her highest career debut) with 13 million in audience at the format.

Rihanna’s No. 1s on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Title, Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1
“Take a Bow,” one, Aug. 30,2008
“Diamonds,” 14, Oct. 20, 2012
“The Monster” (Eminem featuring Rihanna), 13, Nov. 16, 2013
“FourFiveSeconds” (Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney), seven, Feb. 21, 2015
“Work” (featuring Drake), one to date, Feb. 13, 2016

Prior to “Work,” Rihanna started atop Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in late 2013 as featured on Eminem’s “The Monster,” which went on to spend 13 weeks in the lead. No other song has entered at the top since the Jan. 24, 1998-dated chart, when Usher’s “Nice & Slow” donned the crown from the start (and stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks). (Notably, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs segued from an almost-all-airplay-based methodology to one encompassing airplay, sales and streaming in October 2012, subsequently helping songs that launch with hefty sales and/or streams make splashier debuts than before.)

The No. 1 bow for “Work” on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs marks Rihanna’s best as a lead act of her now 38 total charted hits. She made her debut with “Pon de Replay” in 2005.

DRAKE’S DOMINATION: Meanwhile, Drake earns his first No. 1 arrival of his whopping 120 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs entries. (In the chart’s history, which dates to 1958 as an all-encompassing genre ranking, only Lil Wayne, with 143, and Jay Z, with 128, have made more visits.) Drake previously began as high as No. 5 with 2013’s “Hold On, I’m Coming Home” (featuring Majid Jordan), which became his 11th No. 1.

“Work” is Drake’s ninth Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs No. 1 as a featured act, to go along with his five toppers as a lead. Most recently, his unaccompanied “Hotline Bling” piloted the chart for 11 weeks (through the Jan. 23 tally), tying his best reign; as featured on DJ Khaled’s “I’m on One” (with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne), he first spent 11 weeks on top in 2011.

Drake first ruled Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with “Best I Ever Had,” his first track to reach the chart, which logged a seven-week lead in 2009.