(May 5, 2020). Actually, it’s the top eleven albums, and it was inevitable.
Three years ago, the combined music genre of R&B and hip-hop finally overtook rock as the most consumed form of music in the United States.
Actually, hip-hop would’ve been No. 1 even without including R&B’s contribution, but since Billboard and Nielsen Music tend to report their stats in a combined fashion, so will we.
Now, three years later, hip-hop’s continued dominance pays off in a way that no one would’ve imagined some 34 years ago when the first album by a hip-hop artist reached the top ten: nine of this week’s top ten albums are by hip-hop artists.
The lone exception is The Weeknd’s After Hours, which Billboard classifies as R&B (it lands at No. 4 after having spent a month at No. 1 earlier this spring).
The rap entries are:
No. 1: 38 Baby 2 – YoungBoy Never Broke Again
No. 2: Blame it on Baby – DaBaby
No. 3: Eternal Atake – Lil Uzi Vert
No. 5: My Turn – Lil Baby
No. 6: Hollywood’s Bleeding – Post Malone
No. 7: YHLQMDLG – Bad Bunny
No. 8: Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial – Roddy Ricch
No. 9: Astroworld – Travis Scott
No. 10: Suga – Megan Thee Stallion
And for good measure, the No. 11 album of the week is also hip-hop: Pray 4 Love by Rod Wave.
More hip-hop album history: All the hip-hop albums that have topped the Billboard 200 from March 1987 to the present.
There’ve been other times in history when the singles chart has experienced this kind of domination: first for a couple weeks in January 1993 and most recently in 2004 when several weeks saw the entire top ten inhabited by R&B or hip-hop songs. That was also the year (2004) that every No. 1 single on the Hot 100 came from the combined genre.
But it’s the first time ever that R&B and hip-hop have dominated Billboard’s main album chart – the Billboard 200 – to this extent, where the top eleven entries are all by hip-hop or R&B acts.
The highest-ranked non-R&B/Hip-Hop entry is the year-old album by Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, at No. 12 (we’re assuming here that you haven’t already kicked Post Malone out of the hip-hop genre).
Other notables about this week’s Billboard 200 chart:
Twenty-seven of this week’s top 30 albums are by solo artists. The only three exceptions are the Frozen IIsoundtrack, by various artists at No. 20, and two rock albums by groups: Dance Gavin Dance’s Afterburner, at No. 14, and Queen’s Greatest Hits at No. 30.
The DGD and Queen albums are also the only two rock albums in the entire top 30, and with both albums moving into that territory this week, it marks an increase from last week when there were zero rock entries in the top 30 (unless, of course, you consider Harry Styles a rock artist…his latest album, appropriately titled Fine Line, straddles the line between pop and rock and ranked in both weeks’ top-30 lists). The remaining 28 (or 27) albums are distributed between pop, R&B/Hip-Hop and country music.
And finally, there are three babies in this week’s top five: the new No. 1 album is titled 38 Baby 2, by YoungBoy Never Broke Again, while albums by DaBaby and Lil Baby rank at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively.
The concurrent top-5 placement of those three albums, plus the fact that 38 Baby 2 replaces Blame It On Baby at the top, make this a banner week for these “infants” of rap.
YoungBoy not only replaces DaBaby at the top, but he joins him in getting his second career No. 1 album in less than seven months. DaBaby’s Kirk topped the list in October, and YoungBoy’s Al YoungBoy 2 did the same two weeks later.
Next week should see yet another battle at the top as Drake’s new Dark Lane Demo Tapes is on track to become his tenth No. 1 album with between 230-255K units consumed after its release last Friday. That would move him into a tie with Eminem for second place among rappers behind Jay-Z, who has 14.
If Dark Lane does top next week’s chart (dated May 16), it would be the eighth No. 1 album in the hip-hop genre so far in 2020, making this year the fastest to reach that many. Drake’s only real challenge on next week’s chart is country star Kenny Chesney’s latest, Here and Now, which will début in the top two and break up hip-hop’s current monopoly.
And the hip-hop era continues…
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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