(May 31, 2020). These days, reporting that an album by a hip-hop artist has topped the Billboard album charts is like reporting that the current White House occupant has found something new to blame on his predecessor. It happens so often that it’s not even news anymore.
But this week’s new No. 1 occupant on the Billboard 200 does it in top-notch fashion – with a roster of features that reads like a Who’s Who in Hip-Hop in 2020. The new No. 1 album contains features from four artists whose latest albums are No. 1s themselves…with all of them having done it in the past ten months.
Atlanta rapper Gunna released his second solo album Wunna – whose title is both a play on the artist’s name and an acronym for Wealthy Unapologetic Nigga Naturally Authentic – on Friday, May 22. It registered over 100,000 album equivalent units during its first week to takeover the No. 1 slot on the new chart (dated June 6), thereby replacing last week’s No. 1 by Future and becoming the tenth No. 1 album by a hip-hop artist overall in a year that isn’t even halfway over.
The most No. 1 albums by hip-hop artists in a single year is 18, achieved in 2018. At the current rate, 2020 is on pace to have 23 or 24 hip-hop toppers by December 31.
But it’s the A-listers Gunna chose to feature on Wunna that makes this No. 1 album unique – if not unprecedented (we’d have to research that, of course).
The 49-minute, 18-track set contains guest appearances from Young Thug, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, and Travis Scott. All four of those artists have hit No. 1 in the past ten months with their own latest releases.
Young Thug, a mentor and boss with whom Gunna has collaborated frequently, started the charge with his last album So Much Fun, which topped the chart last August. He collaborated with Gunna on two Wunna tracks: ”DOLLAZ ON MY HEAD” and “FAR.”
Roddy Ricch was next as his Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial – this year’s unexpected front-runner for top album of 2020 – reached No. 1 last December and remained there well into the new year. On Wunna, he features on “COOLER THAN A BITCH.”
Travis Scott’s last two solo efforts have topped the list, as did his latest collaborative effort – a project he curated with JackBoys, which was given that name as its title. JackBoys became the first new No. 1 album of 2020 back in January. Scott collaborated with Gunna on Wunna’s “TOP FLOOR.”
And finally, Lil Baby completed the square as his most recent album, My Turn, topped the Billboard 200 in March. He contributes to the first chorus and adds a verse on the new album’s “BLINDFOLD.”
Now if only Canada’s Nav – a go-to collaborator with Gunna (and Travis Scott) in the recent past who hit No. 1 just two weeks ago with Good Intentions – had been included on Wunna…
The only guest artist on Wunna without a No. 1 album of his own is rapper Nechie, whose only full album, SSN: Southside Nechi (The Full Story), failed to even chart when it was released in July 2019. So should he even be counted against Gunna’s accomplishment of having all No. 1 collaborators?
If so, that’s the only qualifier in an otherwise stunning chart statistic for hip-hop’s latest crowning moment and the artist who achieves it, ATL’s own Gunna.
Not bad for an artist’s first No. 1.
Congrats to Gunna – and all the other No. 1 stunnas – on Wunna!
DJRob is an African-American freelance blogger from Chicago 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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