This week Scoreboard spotlights G-Eazy and the epic Grammy face-off between Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated January 20, 2018
See the full chart at http://www.billboard.com/charts/artist-100
|Billboard Artist Top 10||Name||Billboard 200 Album Rank||Billboard Hot 100 Singles||Highest Charting Single|
|1||Ed Sheeran||2||4||1: Perfect (Remix)|
|2||Imagine Dragons||12||2||6: Thunder|
|3||Cardi B||–||6||3: Finesse (Remix)|
|4||Bruno Mars||4||2||3: Finesse (Remix)|
|5||Post Malone||5||3||4: Rockstar|
|6||Kendrick Lamar||8||2||13: Love|
|7||Taylor Swift||6||2||36: End Game|
|8||Sam Smith||10||1||8: Too Good At Goodbyes|
|10||Halsey||26||2||7: Bad At Love|
This week there are no changes on top of the major Billboard charts, but there’s action beneath #1. Soundtrack to The Greatest Showman is #1 on the Billboard 200 for the second week in a row, you can read Scoreboard’s take on it here. Moving up to #3 on that chart is G-Eazy with The Beautiful & Damned, which is featured in this week’s Scoreboard spotlight. Ed Sheeran, Billboard’s #1 Artist of 2017, continues his dominance on the Artist 100 in 2018, staying at #1 for the third week in a row (he totaled only five weeks at #1 in 2017). His “Perfect (Remix)” ft. Beyoncé remains at #1 on the Hot 100 for the sixth week in a row, but faces new competition. Specifically, the biggest challenger to take #1 is another remix, this one by Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B. “Finesse (Remix)” surges to #3 on the Hot 100, helped by its In Living Color-inspired video. Check Scoreboard next week to see if @brunomars and @iamcardib can take over #1.
Cardi B is aiming for that #1 spot on Bruno Mars’s “Finesse (Remix)”
Oakland’s Gerald Gillum, a.k.a. G-Eazy, was Billboard’s #23 Artist of 2016 and came back to the Artist Top 40 in December 2017 on the strength of singles from his fourth studio album The Beautiful & Damned. Despite his chart success, @g_eazy is not usually top-of-mind when it comes to rising stars of hip-hop. His biggest hit before the new album was “Me, Myself & I” ft. Bebe Rexha that reached a peak of #7 on the Hot 100. Yet the song was a bigger staple on pop radio than in hip-hop circles and became a star vehicle for Rexha. Following the success of “Me, Myself & I” G-Eazy was recruited to accompany other female singers, from the obscure (Grace‘s “You Don’t Know Me“) to the legendary (Britney Spears‘s “Make Me“). If you thought that @g_eazy would stop with the duets on the new album, you would be mistaken. The album’s second single is “Him & I” feat. Halsey. It sits at #16 on this week’s Hot 100 and proves that the “Me, Myself & I” formula is still paying off dividends. The major distinction between “Him & I” and previous G-Eazy collaborations is that he and Halsey have been dating since August 2017 and that at least provides some authenticity to the story of the “2017 Bonnie & Clyde.”
For listeners looking for something besides “Him & I,” The Beautiful & Damned offers 19 more tracks that show Eazy’s versatility. The album’s biggest hit is first single “No Limit” that pays tribute to the Master P rap conglomerate and brings along heavy-hitter collaborators A$AP Rocky and Cardi B (the remix also features French Montana, Juicy J, and Belly). The high-energy single has been out since September and has steadily climbed the Hot 100 (this week it is at #5 after peaking at #4). Other album highlights include Charlie Puth guest singing a hook about struggling to stay sober, Eazy writing a letter to his younger self on “Eazy,” and an anti-Donald Trump verse on “Love Is Gone.” @g_eazy is one of many rappers who got political in 2017. Although the most media attention was generated by Eminem‘s anti-Trump tirade “Like Home” ft. Alicia Keys, it’s Eazy who is ahead of Eminem on the charts right now. While his is still not a household name, The Beautiful & Damned is getting @g_eazy closer to recognition as one of hip-hop’s emerging stars.
G-Eazy got to make out with girlfriend Halsey on “Saturday Night Live” a week ago
Grammys Preview: Jay-Z vs Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year
Hip-hop as a genre has always been concerned with who’s winning on the Scoreboard, but when it comes to the Grammys the last time a hip-hop album won album of the year was 14 years ago. Back in 2004 OutKast took the biggest prize home for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Since then Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Kendrick Lamar were nominated but failed to win the biggest Grammy of all. Jay-Z, the elder statement of rap, has never been nominated for Album of the Year until now, although he won one Rap Album award for 1999’s Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life. His 4:44 is pitted against Lamar’s DAMN., the year’s best-selling hip-hop album. Lamar also has one Rap Album award for 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly, which lost Album of the Year two years ago to Taylor Swift‘s juggernaut 1989. Nonetheless, DAMN. is the favorite to win this year according to most sports books. Check out Scoreboard’s feature on Lamar’s DAMN. here.
So will it be Lamar’s moment next Sunday, January 28, in New York? Don’t be too sure as the Grammys frequently use Album of the Year as a “lifetime achivement” award. Since OutKast took the trophy home, Album of the Year winners have included Ray Charles (who won posthumously in 2005), Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Herbie Hancock, and Beck. Jay-Z’s accomplishments certainly fit the criteria. 4:44 also happens to be a challenging, mature, and distinctive hip-hop album. When it first came out, Scoreboard was surprised at its confessional nature. 4:44 followed Beyoncé’s Lemonade and confirmed that Jay-Z has not been faithful to his superstar wife. Yet he and Bey persevered. The question for Grammy voters is whether the Jay/Bey saga overstayed its welcome or whether the end product that is 4:44 deserves music’s highest award. Tune in to the Grammys to find out!
Jay-Z and Blue Ivy feature prominently on @beyoncé Instagram