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Tems‘ ’Free Mind’ Completes Near-Record Climb to No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart

The new champ takes the second-most amount of weeks to reach the summit in the chart's 30-year history.

Slow and steady wins the race for Tems, whose “Free Mind” reaches No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. The single tops the tally, rising 2-1, dated Nov. 12 in its 33rd week on the list, the second-longest climb to the summit in the chart’s 30-year history.

“Mind” rolls to its coronation with 19.2 million in audience in the week ending Nov. 6, according to Luminate.


As “Mind” reigns for the first time in its 33rd week on the list, it shuffles the leaderboard for the longest wait for a song to reach No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay list. “Mind” is now second in that count, behind only the 35-week journey for R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love,” which completed its trek in December 2003. Among women, Tems takes the mark from Rihanna’s “Needed Me” and its 25-week travel to the top.

Here’s an updated look at the songs with the most weeks needed to reach No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay:

Weeks to No. 1, Song Title, Artist, Date Reached No. 1

  • 35, “Step in the Name of Love,” R. Kelly, Dec. 6, 2003
  • 33, “Free Mind,” Tems, Nov. 12, 2022
  • 31, “You,” Lloyd featuring Lil Wayne, Feb. 17, 2007
  • 29, “I Wanna Know,” Joe, April 1, 2000
  • 29, “Snap Yo Fingers,” Lil Jon featuring E-40 & Sean Paul of The YoungbloodZ, July 29, 2006
  • 29, “There Goes My Baby,” Usher, Aug. 14, 2010
  • 25, “Needed Me,” Rihanna

“Free Mind,” from Tems’ 2020 EP For Broken Ears, debuted on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charted dated April 2, amid the Nigerian singer-songwriter’s increasing prominence in the U.S. In 2021, she featured on a pair of top 40 hits on the all-genre multi-metric Billboard Hot 100 – Wizkid’s “Essence,” which earned a boost after a Justin Bieber remix helped the song reach No. 9 that August, and on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy cut “Fountains,” which reached No. 26.

Her profile kept progressing thanks to a supporting turn alongside Drake on Future’s “Wait for U,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in April 2022. As fans turned to more of her catalog, “Free Mind” emerged as a favorite, sparking its official radio promotion to R&B/hip-hop and rhythmic formats. On Rhythmic Airplay, the song reached a No. 10 peak last month and slides 12-19 on the newest list.