June 2018 was a month of new #1’s on the charts. Yet the new releases were overshadowed by the murder of rapper XXXTentaction, which occurred on June 18th.
Billboard #1s | June 2018
See all the Billboard charts at http://www.billboard.com/charts/
Billboard Hot 100
6/2, 6/9, 6/23: “Nice For What” (Drake)
6/16: “Psycho” (Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign)
6/30: “Sad” (XXXTentaction)
6/2: Love Yourself: Tear (BTS)
6/9: Shawn Mendes (Shawn Mendes)
6/16: Ye (Kanye West)
6/23: Come Tomorrow (Dave Matthews Band)
6/30: Youngblood (5 Seconds Of Summer)
Billboard Artist 100
6/9: Shawn Mendes
6/16: Kanye West
6/23: Dave Matthews Band
June 2018: The Playlist
The Billboard charts had an extra week in the month of June, and each week featured a different #1 album. On the Hot 100, Drake’s “Nice For What” spent the month dropping from and coming back to the top slot. Mid-month, Post Malone got his second Hot 100 #1 with “Psycho” ft. Ty Dolla $ign, as he continued riding the success of his second studio album Beerbongs & Bentleys. However, the annual competition for song of the summer was interrupted by the shocking news of the murder of rapper XXXTentaction, who was profiled by Scoreboard last September and in April. In the aftermath, XXXTentaction’s hit “Sad” took #1 on the Hot 100 and, for the second time, XXXTentaction took #1 on the Artist 100. By topping the Hot 100, XXXTentaction became the first lead artist since The Notorious B.I.G. to achieve a posthumous Hot 100 #1.
“Psycho” is making Post Malone a contender to become Billboard’s #1 artist of the year
R.I.P. Jahseh Onfroy a.k.a. XXXTentaction (1998-2018)
South Florida’s Jahseh Onfroy first made the Billboard Hot 100 at age 19 with “Look At Me!,” which peaked at #34. Sixteen months after his first hit, the rapper was murdered in an attempted robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Local police has arrested one suspect in the case and issued warrants for two more suspects.
During his brief career, XXXTentaction pushed boundaries both musically and with his extracurriculars. Both “Sad” and “Everybody Dies In The Nightmares” demonstrated Onfroy’s ability to depart hip-hop to alternative R&B and this genre-bending allowed XXXTentaction to distinguish himself from other members of XXL‘s 2017 freshman class. However, Onfroy’s numerous arrests and charges, including aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, followed him as his songs climbed the charts. In May 2018 Spotify penalized Onfroy for violating the company’s “hateful conduct” policy, removing his music from playlists (while also removing content by R. Kelly). However, by June 1st Spotify reversed the policy calling it “too vague.” Onfroy’s murder transcended the Spotify controversy and posed a stark reminder of life’s fragility. The 20-year-old Onfroy was just getting started, coming to terms with his depression and history of violence. Even the music video for “Sad” was not yet launched on the day of the murder. It premiered ten days later, you can watch XXX’s final clip below.
Pop Chart Toppers: Shawn Mendes, 5 Seconds Of Summer, and BTS
The boy band formula was industrialized by the late entrepreneur and convicted felon Lou Perelman, who put together The Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, LFO, and O-Town before all of them sued him for misrepresentation and fraud. Yet the success of Justin Bieber and One Direction this decade confirms that boy bands and teen idols still equal chart gold.
This month two bands and one solo performer took #1 on the Billboard 200 from this category. The solo act is Canadian heartthrob Shawn Mendes who has now earned three #1 albums on the Billboard 200 before the age of 20. His latest, the self-titled Shawn Mendes, brings more of the same catchy, innocent pop that made Mendes Billboard’s #9 artist of 2017. Lead single “In My Blood” presents a more forceful @shawnmendes taking on his anxieties and insisting that giving up is NOT in his blood. The R&B-flavored “Lost In Japan” has Mendes flirting; on the track he suggests that he can fly over to Japan to join his boo. But the biggest statement on the album is “Youth” ft. Khalid, which was written in response to the terrorist attack outside an Ariana Grande in Manchester, England, but was repurposed by Mendes and Khalid at the Billboard Awards as a response to this year’s high school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. The singers invited the Stoneman Douglas High School show choir to perform with them at the Awards for the night’s most powerful moment.
Shawn Mendes had a #1 album and an apparel launch in June
The Australian group 5 Seconds Of Summer like to refer to themselves as a rock band, though they had to fire up their teenage fan base to ensure that their third album Youngblood debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. The band hasn’t evolved much in trying to rock a little harder than One Direction, but “Want You Back” and “Youngblood” are both proficient works of pop that are less cringeworthy than 5SOS’s earlier top 40 hits “She Looks So Perfect” and “She’s Kinda Hot.”
However, the biggest boy band story of the month is BTS achieving the first K-Pop #1 in the history of the Billboard 200 with Love Yourself: Tear. The seven-member group has been building up its American fanbase through YouTube since BTS’s founding in 2013. In 2017 BTS finished as Billboard’s #10 artist of the year and its EP Love Yourself: Her entered the Billboard 200 at #7 last fall. Love Yourself: Tear is sung mostly in Korean, but if you strip away the vocals, the music is turbocharged pop and EDM. Single “Fake Love” has no connection to Drake’s hit of the same name, but it brings unapologetic K-Pop energy that took it to #10 on the Hot 100. Check it out below:
New Albums From Kanye West and The Carters
Of all hip-hop stars, Kanye West has been the most reliable generator of controversy, which has ranged from his neverending feud with Taylor Swift to his defense of Bill Cosby against sexual assault accusations. This year Yeezy was back in the headlines after going off the rails about slavery during a TMZ interview. One explanation for his erratic behavior has been Ye’s self-medicated treatment of bipolar disorder. On his new #1 album Ye, West alludes to his affliction on the cover, which states “I hate being / Bi-polar / It’s awesome.” The album became West’s eighth #1 album, although at 24 minutes and with most lyrics written by other artists it’s the low point of Yeezy’s career.
West worked on a few other GOOD Music albums while recording Ye in Wyoming, including Pusha T‘s third studio album Daytona, Nas‘s twelfth studio album Nasir, and a collaboration album with Kid Cudi called Kids See Ghosts. @kidcudi has been a musical partner of West’s since 808s & Heartbreak and on Kids See Ghosts Cudi creates a short sequel. Unlike on Ye, West is subdued while Cudi haunts every track like the standout “Reborn,” which recalls the West/Kudi highs of 2008-09.
The release of Kids See Ghosts led to Kid Cudi’s third Instagram post since start of 2017
As if the Kanye production machine was not enough, in mid-June came Everything Is Love, a surprise album by power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, credited to The Carters. Despite numerous joint singles and tours, the Carters never released a studio album together and Everything Is Love ties up loose ends left behind by Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Jay-Z’s 4:44. Having aired their dirty laundry in public, “Apes**t” is a victory lap for the couple and “Boss” continues the bragging. The Carters get reflective on the back end of the album, with grown Beyoncé owning “Friends” and the couple signing off on “Lovehappy,” where Yoncé sings “the ups and downs are worth it.” Initial rollout of Everything Is Love through Tidal slowed the album’s momentum on the Billboard 200, where it became the runner-up to 5 Seconds Of Summer, but given The Carters’ stellar careers even not having a number one is still worth it.
The Carters teach an art history lesson in the “Apes**t” music video
Other June Chart Movers
In last month’s Scoreboard I wrote about how pop music is ceding ground to hip-hop and in June, Shawn Mendes notwithstanding, the trend continued as Maroon 5 involved Cardi B on “Girls Like You (Remix)” and the track quickly rose to #4 on the Hot 100. On the other hand, Christina Aguilera released Liberation, her first album in six years and it thudded; the album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 and generated no Hot 100 hits, demonstrating the struggle established artists face after years out of the spotlight. Unlike Aguilera, Dave Matthews Band had a strong comeback when new release Come Tomorrow took #1, helped by a tour ticket/album bundle. Yet after the initial sale, Come Tomorrow fell to #25, showing that even a reliable touring group like DMB has challenges sustaining on the charts.
June also greeted two hip-hop newcomers to the top 10 of the Hot 100. Atlanta rapper Lil Baby made it to #6 with “Yes Indeed” ft. Drake. Even though Drake is with Cash Money Records whose founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams was once known as Baby, Lil Baby has no relation to either Williams or Cash Money. At 23, he’s also not a baby, having completed two years in prison on drug charges. Then there is 19-year-old crooner from Chicago Juice WRLD, who channels The Weeknd and Kid Cudi on “All Girls Are The Same” and takes over a Sting sample on “Lucid Dreams,” which has climbed to #4 on the Hot 100. Check out the breakout hit by @juicewrld999 below and check Scoreboard next month to see if he can take #1.