As The Weeknd reclaims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 (dated April 25) with “Blinding Lights,” following a one-week interruption by Drake’s “Toosie Slide,” singularly billed acts continue a notable run atop the chart.
No duets or songs with features have led for 34 consecutive weeks, dating to the start of Lizzo’s seven-week command with “Truth Hurts” on the Sept. 7, 2019-dated survey.
The streak, which also encompasses No. 1s by Travis Scott, Lewis Capaldi, Selena Gomez, Post Malone, Mariah Carey and Roddy Ricch, is the longest since a 38-week stretch (also including Carey) from Sept. 13, 1997, through May 30, 1998.
(While now rarer, such runs were commonplace from the Hot 100’s inception through the mid-’90s. The longest streak of soloists or groups without any co-leads or features topping the tally began with the inaugural chart, dated Aug. 4, 1958, and ran through April 8, 1967: 453 consecutive weeks, or nearly nine years; Nancy and Frank Sinatra then went and spoiled it all with “Somethin’ Stupid.”)
Beyond No. 1, 76% of all Hot 100 top 10s in the past 34 weeks belong to solo-credited acts. In the prior 34 frames, only 50% did.
Further, 28 of the last 31 songs to enter the top 10 have been fully solo efforts, a haul of 90% dating to the beginning of November.
Timing factors into the current trend atop the Hot 100, as, for instance, Future’s “Life Is Good,” featuring Drake, peaked at No. 2 for eight weeks.
Also contributing: Five holiday hits returned to the top 10 starting in December, including four recorded in the 1950s-’60s, long before the amount of hit collaborations swelled.
Still, a clear shift has emerged, driven most heavily by hip-hop hits. In line with all-genre numbers, hip-hop’s share of Hot 100 top 10s has remained largely constant (55% in the most recent 34 weeks vs. 50% in the prior 34 frames), but solo efforts in the genre have grown to 70% from 50%.
Highlighting the surge, Lil Uzi Vert has notched four unaccompanied top 10s since December; The Weeknd, before “Blinding Lights,” led solo with “Heartless” for a week in December; and Roddy Ricch’s “The Box” ruled for 11 frames beginning in January.
Breaking down recent hip-hop hits by gender, Lizzo, thanks to “Truth Hurts” and subsequent No. 3 smash “Good as Hell,” has played a prominent part in the rise of single billings throughout the chart’s upper reaches, as has another female rapper-singer: Doja Cat earns her first top five Hot 100 hit on the latest list, as “Say So,” on RCA Records, jumps from No. 8 to No. 5.
RCA co-president Joe Riccitelli notes that the label’s A&R team isn’t necessarily scaling back on features, and cites the versatility of many current hip-hop acts as partly responsible for any downturn in co-leads or features. “It’s on a song-by-song basis,” he says. “But, from singing to rapping to producing, these artists are multi-talented.”