Scoreboard has a busy April with Cardi B and Drake dominating the charts, and Kendrick Lamar winning a Pulitzer Prize.
Billboard #1s | April 2018
See all the Billboard charts at http://www.billboard.com/charts/
Billboard Hot 100
4/7, 4/14: “God’s Plan” (Drake)
4/21, 4/28: “Nice For What” (Drake)
4/7: Boarding House Reach (Jack White)
4/14: My Dear Melancholy (EP) (Weeknd)
4/21: Invasion Of Privacy (Cardi B)
4/28: Rearview Town (Jason Aldean)
Billboard Artist 100
4/7: Jack White
4/21: Cardi B
4/28: Jason Aldean
April 2018: The Playlist
April 2018 was an eventful month of music. It was the month of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and in 2018 Beyoncé dazzled with a set featuring a marching band inspired by America’s historically Black colleges.
While Queen Bey dominated Coachella a year after she was originally scheduled to headline (in 2017 she was pregnant with twins Sir and Rumi), the Billboard charts stayed busy with four #1 albums in four weeks and consistent Drake dominance on the Hot 100.
Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams also joined Beyoncé at Coachella for some Destiny’s Child magic
Cardi B Takes Over
Cardi B’s rise to chart dominance was one of the biggest music stories of 2017, especially when her “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” knocked off Taylor Swift from #1 on the Hot 100 and led to an explosion of hot takes on the internet. This April, the former stripper and reality star finally delivered her debut album Invasion Of Privacy, the month’s biggest new album, which earned @iamcardib her first #1s on the Billboard 200 and the Artist 100.
Invasion Of Privacy brings the Bodak Yellow attitude and then some. “Bartier Cardi,” the follow up to “Bodak Yellow,” proved the Cardi was not a one-hit fluke, and her partnership with 21 Savage presaged bigger features on the debut album. On “Drip,” she is joined by Migos, the Atlanta rap group that includes Cardi’s fiancée Offset. “Won MVP, and I’m still a rookie,” @iamcardi raps on that track, asserting her chart dominance. Besides taking #1, the month brought the announcement of Cardi B’s pregnancy, which she revealed on Saturday Night Live on April 7.
Cardi’s success had hip-hop taking note, and that included Nicki Minaj, whose own breakthrough in 2010-11 created a playbook for Cardi B’s arrival. Last fall, Migos featured Minaj and Cardi B on “Motorsport,” on which both took on the haters in a collegial performance. Yet in April Minaj released “Chun Li,” a comeback single that already made the top 10 of the Hot 100 and included a subtle dig at Cardi B’s feature on Bruno Mars’s remix to “Finesse.” The line, “how many coulda did it with finesse / now everybody like ‘She really is the best’ / you play checkers / couldn’t beat me playing chess” is among Minaj’s assertions that she is still the queen rap and is ready to battle @iamcardib. Just a thought from Scoreboard…why can’t we have two dominant female rappers share the spotlight?
Cardi B got to perform at the Latin Billboard awards with Puerto Rican singer Ozuna
A Winning Month for Drake…and Lauryn Hill
On the subject of female rappers, April 2018 was a great month for Lauryn Hill, whose only studio album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill turns 20 years this year. The album’s third track “Ex-Factor” made it to #21 on the Hot 100 back in 1999 and became an R&B radio staple. Cardi B sampled the song on Invasion Of Privacy ballad “Be Careful,” which peaked at #11 on the Hot 100.
The success of “Be Careful” could have made April relevant enough for Ms. Hill, but a week after “Be Careful” came out Drake dropped “Nice For What,” the first single of off @champagnepapi’s upcoming album Scorpion that also sampled “Ex-Factor.” At that point, @champagnepapi achieved 11 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 with “God’s Plan,” but “Nice For What” dethroned “God’s Plan” from the pinnacle, giving @champagnepapi 14 weeks at #1 (and counting) on the Hot 100 with back-to-back singles. While that is impressive, @champagnepapi still has 12 weeks to go to match the all-time Hot 100 record at #1 set in 2009 by the Black Eyed Peas (Will.i.am and company achieved that remarkable feat with back-to-back #1s “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling”).
Notwithstanding the marathon required to tie the all-time Black Eyed Peas record, Drake has made it look easy in 2018 as his singles continue conquering the charts and denying Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha a chance to take #1. With Scorpion on the horizon there is possibility of Drake achieving three back-to-back #1s on the Hot 100. Stay tuned to Scoreboard to see if @champagnepapi can achieve that…and to see if anybody else samples “Ex-Factor” on the Hot 100 in 2018.
Drake has a new logo for his album coming in June
The Weeknd Has a Surprise Release and Kendrick Lamar Wins a Pulitzer Prize
Drake was not the only artist from the 6 topping the charts this month, as The Weeknd dropped surprise EP My Dear Melancholy, which qualified just above Billboard’s length minimums to top the Billboard 200. The EP largely eschews the Daft Punk pop of “Starboy” and instead returns to the brooding R&B that defined the start of Abel Tesfaye’s career. The biggest single off of My Dear Melancholy is “Call Out My Name,” which was NOT used in a Fifty Shades Of Grey film, but carries the air of a sequel to 2015’s “Earned It.”
The Weeknd’s surprise release took #1 the same week that Atlanta rapper Rich The Kid released his solo debut The World Is Yours, which finished at #2. Despite not landing a #1 album, @richthekid had a good month, with his “Plug Walk” taking #13 on the Hot 100. The song links trap life to space and the music video pays tribute to television show Breaking Bad. @richthekid will be a rapper to watch all year.
Rich The Kid is all about stacks of cash on social media
Right before “Plug Walk” climbed to the top 20, @richthekid released “New Freezer” ft. Kendrick Lamar. The track, a celebration of purchasing new jewelry, rose up to #41 on the Hot 100 and was one of Lamar’s seven appearances on the Hot 100 dated March 3. Yet despite Lamar’s success on the charts and with Black Panther: The Album, the biggest surprise in store for him was a Pulitzer Prize for Music that he won on April 16. Although the Pulitzer has been loosening its music criteria over the last two decades, Lamar nonetheless became the first hip-hop artist, and the first non-jazz non-classical artist to win the Prize.
The Pulitzer was specifically awarded to Lamar for 2017’s DAMN. that Scoreboard covered extensively last year. DAMN. lost Album of the Year at the Grammys to Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic, and while it is hard to fault Mars’s throwback dance-pop, the Pulitzer committee clearly found DAMN. more significant and used highly laudatory language in awarding the prize, calling the album “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” Scoreboard could not have said it better.
These kicks just won a Pulitzer
In other news: Jack White and Jason Aldean Have #1 albums
Elsewhere on the charts both Jack White and Jason Aldean had new albums go to #1. For White, Boarding House Reach became his third solo #1 album and continued White’s eclectic blues evolution that began with The White Stripes two decades ago. To experience White’s relentless energy, check out the frantic “Over And Over And Over.” As for Aldean, Rearview Town became his fourth consecutive #1 on the Billboard 200, but whether he likes it or not, Aldean will always be associated with the tragic massacre at Las Vegas’s Route 91 festival last fall, which happened during Aldean’s set. While @jasonaldean has noted that none of the tracks on the new album address Las Vegas directly, somberness still penetrates the record, including the Rearview Town title.
Jason Aldean and family have been supporting the Nashville Predators in the NHL playoffs
When it comes to singles, Imagine Dragons are competing to be the biggest rock act of 2018 after taking #2 (behind Coldplay) in 2017. “Whatever It Takes,” the band’s third single off of Evolve climbed to #20 in April, making the band three for three in reaching the top 20 of the Hot 100. While Imagine Dragons have used regular channels to climb the charts, Michigan-born singer Bazzi (government name: Andrew Bazzi) made it up to #11 on the Hot 100 with “Mine” thanks to a Snapchat filter “you so precious when you smile.” The use of the pop ballad on social media has given Bazzi a spot on Camila Cabello‘s summer tour, demonstrating that social media success still pays off in 2018. Check out the non-meme music video below and check Scoreboard at the start of June to see who took #1 on the charts in May!