How Shaboozey’s Slow-Burn Hybrid of Hip-Hop and Country Became the Biggest Song in America: NPR

Shaboozey will perform at the 2024 BET Awards in Los Angeles in June 2024.

Shaboozey will perform at the 2024 BET Awards in Los Angeles in June 2024.

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Country rapper and singer Shaboozey now has plenty of reasons to celebrate, after Beyoncé featured him as a guest artist on two tracks on her album Cowboy driver Earlier this year, he used that influence to thrust himself into the spotlight. And now, he’s become a pioneer as a black country artist, carving out his career on his own terms.

Top Numbers

After months of dormant popularity and already an upscaling Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart, Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” has finally reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making the Virginia singer the first black male artist to reach the top spot on both charts. (The only other black artist to do so is fellow singer Beyoncé, who accomplished the feat earlier this year with her song “Texas Hold ‘Em.”)

Since its April release, “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” has quietly but steadily climbed the Top 10 to reach this peak. In Shaboozey’s rise to success, it’s hard not to place his experiences as a black country artist of Nigerian descent alongside those of underrated black country artists of other generations, like the late Charley Pride and Linda Martell. Shaboozey’s breakthrough came when Beyoncé featured him on the songs “Sweet* Honey* Buckiin” and “Spaghettii” — the latter also featuring Martell.

While Pride’s record label made a point of sending his music to radio stations without any promotional photos of him in 1966, Shaboozey’s video trailer for his album Where I’m going is not where I’ve been takes aim squarely at the gatekeepers of country music. (As Shaboozey told NPR All together in May: “Music has to change and evolve into other things,” adding: “When you see my name and you see me, you’re like — you’re a little confused.”

The rest of the top five on the charts will no doubt be familiar to chart fans, with last week’s top song — Post Malone’s “I Had Some Help,” featuring Morgan Wallen — at No. 2, Kendrick Lamar’s “Not Like Us” at No. 3, Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” at No. 4 and Tommy Richman’s “Million Dollar Baby” at No. 5. All of these songs have spent time at or near the top of the charts. Billboard Is called For 100 months — think of this graph as a heat wave with no end in sight.

The only newcomer to the top 10 is Chappell Roan’s “Good Luck, Babe!”, which has finally reached the upper regions of the charts. Billboard Hot 100. It’s now at number 10, after spending 13 weeks on the chart — perhaps another slow-burn success in the making?

Top Albums

In case anyone still had any doubts about Taylor Swift’s chart supremacy The Tormented Poets Departmentthe lifespan speaks for itself. Now in its 11th week at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, Tortured poets has equaled two other Swift albums (1989 And Fearless) for her longest-running albums at number 1.

Meanwhile, Megan Thee Stallion’s latest album, Meganecomes in at number three on the charts, while Chappell Roan’s The Rise and Fall of a Midwestern Princess has moved up a notch from last week to fifth place. Morgan Wallen’s own chart fixture, One thing at a time (in his 70th week on the Billboard 200) remained at number 2, and Billie Eilish’s Hit me hard and soft remains at No. 4. That means female artists have claimed four of the top five album spots, which is still rare enough to be a notable feat. The last time so many female artists reached those heights was more than a year ago, as Billboard notes.

A little further on is Beyoncé’s Cowboy driver returns to the top ten — up from 50th last week to 10th — thanks to the release this week of a deluxe vinyl edition. (Everyone playing the “variant” game these days… even Bey.)

Worth nothing

Here is a Billboard graph with a particularly awkward name: the Billboard Worldwide, excl. US. Founded only four years ago, it tracks the popularity of songs in 200 territories worldwide, excluding the US, based on online sales and streaming.

Given the global homogeneity of the music industry in 2024, this chart looks pretty similar to its American and British counterparts (Sabrina Carpenter, Billie Eilish, Hozier et al.). Every now and then, though, songs and artists emerge that remind us that there’s still room for more diverse tastes, even within the aesthetic confines of popular music.

An example of this is the success this week of solo artist LISA, who debuted at number 1 on this chart this week with her song “Rockstar”.

LISA (whose stage name requires all capital letters) is a Thai-born rapper and singer who rose to fame as a member of the South Korean girl group BLACKPINK (again, all capital letters). Yet she’s clearly less well-known among American music fans: this week, “Rockstar” only peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100, which measures sales, streams and radio airplay in the US

But her visibility to American audiences may be on the rise: It’s just been announced that LISA will make her first major U.S. solo appearance at New York’s Global Citizen Festival in September, joining a headliner lineup that also includes Post Malone and Doja Cat. Such an appearance won’t guarantee her mainstream success in the U.S., but it’s still a testament to her importance abroad.

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