The first year of the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart has come to a wrap, and it proved to be an eventful 2014. Across genres as diverse as pop, hip-hop and country, many emerging artists crossed into mainstream notability and racked up honors including top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and Grammy nominations. Let’s review some of the highlights from the 2014 chart.
Hip-hop was the most discussed genre of music on Twitter in 2014, and it dominated many of the year-end lists. One of the year’s largest crazes, the Shmurda Dance, helped Bobby Shmurda lock up the top real-time Emerging Artists spot for days. The rapper logged the most instances at No. 1 in 2014 (the number of times his songs climbed to No. 1), clocking in a whopping 837. Thanks to the dance’s massive popularity, his track “Hot Boy” peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 the week of Nov. 22.
Despite his third-place showing in instances, K Camp outperformed all artists in another major category: most No. 1s. The Atlanta rapper sent five songs (“Cut Her Off”, “Money Baby”, “Turn Up for a Check”, “Slum Anthem” and “Truth”) to No. 1 on Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists this year. After K Camp, it’s a four-way tie among Audio Push, Ransom, Run the Jewels and Tink, all of whom nabbed three No. 1s in 2014.
Several of those artists also rank high on the year-end tally for most entries. Rome Fortune led all acts with 19 appearances, followed by Audio Push, TGT and Troy Ave, each with 15 charted tracks. A familiar name, K Camp, places fifth in the final rankings with 14 visits to the chart.
As mentioned, many of the chart’s most successful artists scored triumphs on other Billboard charts:
- Hozier reaped big rewards with “Take Me to Church” and his self-titled debut album (and a few mentions on Twitter and Instagram from Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.) Hozier debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in October, and “Church” rose to the runner-up slot on the Hot 100 in December.
- Clean Bandit snatched a top 10 hit, as well, as “Rather Be” rose to No. 10 on the Hot 100 in October. The track, which features Jess Glynne, ruled Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for three weeks in November.
- Maddie & Tae took “Girl in a Country Song” to the top of Country Airplay in December. The track reigned on Emerging Artists in September.
- O.T. Genasis has cooked up a No. 7 peak on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with “Coco.” The Busta Rhymes protégé topped the Emerging Artists chart with the track in November.
- British sensation FKA Twigs powered her debut album, LP1, to No. 1 on Top Dance/Electronic Albums in September.
- “Tuesday” became America’s favorite day of the week as I Love Makonnen’s hit song crept to No. 12 on the Hot 100. The Drake collaboration also charged to No. 2 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 1 on the Rhythmic Songs radio airplay chart.
In addition to their impressive chart accomplishments, many acts scooped up critical awards and attention, often in the company of some of music’s top superstars:
- Hozier’s “Church” scored a Grammy Award nomination for song of the year, pitting the Irish singer-songwriter against songs by Meghan Trainor, Sia, Taylor Swift and Sam Smith.
- Two stars on the Emerging Artists chart received nods in the best rap/sung collaboration category: I Love Makonnen, for his work with Drake on “Tuesday,” and BJ the Chicago Kid, who’s featured on Schoolboy Q’s “Studio.”
- Another double-whammy for Emerging Artists occurs in the best dance recording category. Clean Bandit nabbed a nomination for “Rather Be”, while Zhu received a nomination for “Faded,” which reached No. 3 on the Emerging Artists chart in December.
- James Bay won the 2015 Brits Critics’ Choice prize, an award for artists due to release their debut albums the following year. Bay’s EP Hold Back the River launched two No. 2 hits on Emerging Artists, “Let It Go” and the title track. The singer-songwriter joins an elite list of prize winners including Adele, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sande and Smith.