It’s the end of an era: Drake is no longer reigning over the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time since 2009. For the past eight years the rapper and OVO label head has made history for the longest-running streak, logging 431 consecutive weeks of appearances on the chart, whether it be with his own songs or his features. To put that into perspective, anyone born on or around May 23, 2009, has lived their entire lives in a world where Drake was on the Billboard Hot 100, which is mind boggling.
Early Aubrey Graham fans will remember that Drake’s first entry into the Billboard Hot 100 was with “Best I Ever Had,” Drake’s first breakthrough track from the then-mixtape So Far Gone, which was then released as a proper EP three months later. The song was later released on his 2010 debut album Thank Me Later, helping to extend its shelf life even further. Fittingly, the song samples Lil Wayne, who not only mentored Drake but set the Billboard Hot 100 record that Drake later demolished. (Lil Wayne once had his own 326 consecutive week run on the chart.)
As unparalleled as Drake’s streak is, it’s not necessarily surprising. As one of the most prolific artists of his generation, Drake has treated his fans to a steady stream of music over much of the last decade. In eight years, he’s released four studio albums, which may as well be eight including his four mixtapes. He’s appeared on countless other chart-toppers, namely those belonging to Rihanna like “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” Obviously, his work ethic has paid off.
Outside of Lil Wayne, other artists who’ve somewhat approached Drake’s level of Billboard Hot 100 reign include Rihanna, who’s spent 216 consecutive weeks on the chart. Nicki Minaj has the fourth spot and is followed by Chris Brown, Jay-Z, Nelly and Kenny Chesney. Then after those comes Destiny’s Child, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift. One thing that may differentiate Drake from those artists though is that just a handful of months after releasing More Life, his fans are already wondering when he’s due for his next release. Luckily, it’s that kind of pressure that makes him thrive.
“I love pressure!,” he told W back in 2015. “I’m always thinking, How do I top what I’ve done? How do I make this thing stronger? I ask myself, ‘Why does Adele’s album go diamond, and how do I do that? How do I create art that makes minds stretch further?’ I want to give many, many people many, many moments before I’m gone. That’s truly the art of what I do. It’s the only goal.” He’s more than on his way there.
Drake’s “Hotline Bling” Gets Reimagined by 13 Celebrities: