Wizkid returns to the Billboard Hot 100 after a two-year absence, and for the first time as the sole lead artist, as “Essence,” featuring Tems, debuts at No. 82 on the chart dated July 17. The Afrobeats/R&B-styled single, released in October, cracks the chart thanks to steady advances in radio airplay and streaming.
“Essence” gives the 30-year-old star, who hails from Nigeria, his third Hot 100 appearance. His breakthrough came as a guest artist on Drake’s “One Dance” (also featuring singer Kyla), which reigned at No. 1 for 10 weeks in 2016. He returned alongside Beyoncé and Saint JHN on “Brown Skin Girl” (featuring Blue Ivy Carter), which peaked at No. 76 in August 2019.
“I feel blessed to make music that touches people,” Wizkid tells Billboard in an emailed statement. “Big shoutout to all the fans and good music lovers everywhere.”
Featured vocalist Tems achieves her first Hot 100 hit with “Essence,” which the 26-year-old singer-songwriter calls “a huge honor” in a statement, adding, “I’m blessed to have Wiz, and I’m extremely grateful to God and all the supporters worldwide. This is a moment I don’t take for granted.”
“Essence” clocked 5.5 million U.S. streams in the week ending July 8, according to MRC Data, up 49% from the prior week and easily its best one-week result yet. The gain prompts the track’s No. 9 debut on the R&B Streaming Songs chart.
In tandem with the streaming surge, R&B and hip-hop radio stations have latched onto the song in recent weeks. “Essence” improves 34-29 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, which ranks the most-played songs on monitored R&B/hip-hop stations nationwide. In the latest tracking week, which ended July 11, the single picked up a 43% increase in plays.
If the track climbs to No. 23 or higher on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, it would give Wizkid his second-highest peak on the chart, surpassing the No. 24 high of “Come Closer,” featuring Drake, in 2017, and behind only his four-week reign via “One Dance” the previous year. Beyond its emergence at mainstream radio, “Essence” is attracting attention at the rhythmic and adult R&B radio sectors.
“Essence” appears on Wizkid’s Made in Lagos, which debuted at No. 2 on the World Albums chart last November. As the song grows, the set rebounds 7-4 in its 35th week on the list, its highest placement since its runner-up arrival.