Chart Watch: A Tribe Called Quest Set a Hip-Hop Record, Leonard Cohen Re-Enters the Charts

(Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Phife Dawg and Q-TIp of the hip hop group ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ pose for a portrait session in July 1991 in New York. Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

A Tribe Called Quest set a new record for the longest span of #1 albums by a hip-hop artist — a little more than 20 years. The trio’s We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service enters the Billboard 200 at #1. The group first topped the chart in August 1996 with Beats, Rhymes and Life. The old record was held by Beastie Boys, whose #1 albums spanned more than 17 years (from Licensed to Ill in March 1987 to To the Five Boroughs in July 2004).

Four other hip-hop acts have #1 albums spanning 10 years or more. They are: Nas (a little more than 16 years, from It Was Written in July 1996 to Life Is Good in August 2012); Jay Z (nearly 15 years, from Vol 2…Hard Knock Life in October 1998 to Magna Carta Holy Grail in August 2013); Eminem (13-½ years, from The Marshall Mathers LP in June 2000 to The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in December 2013); and Kanye West (nearly 11 years, from Late Registration in September 2005 to The Life of Pablo in April 2016).

We Got It From Here… is A Tribe Called Quest’s first studio album in more than 18 years (!). The group didn’t release a studio album during George W. Bush’s entire presidency, and barely got one out before Barack Obama left office. That, my friends, is taking it slow.

This is the group’s fourth studio album in a row to reach the top 10. It’s the group’s final album with Phife Dawg, who died on March 22 due to complications related to diabetes. It is billed as the group’s final album.

We Got It From Here … received an 89 score at Metacritic.com. That’s one of the five highest scores by any album so far in 2016. The group, a Gen X favorite, appeared on Saturday Night Live on Nov. 12.

Top Songs

Five versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” are listed on this week’s Top Digital Songs chart. Cohen died on Nov. 7. Cohen’s original version, from 1984, re-enters at #12. Pentatonix’s version from their current Christmas album jumps from #27 to #19. Jeff Buckley’s 1994 version re-enters at #29. Rufus Wainwright’s 2001 version (which was featured on the Shrek soundtrack album) re-enters at #80. k.d. lang’s live version (from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver) re-enters at #160.


Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane) tops the Hot 100 for the second week in its 10th week on the chart. Duos have now held the #1 spot for 14 consecutive weeks. That matches the record set in 1996 when Los Del Rio was #1 for 14 weeks in a row with “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix).” Of course, that Spanish twosome achieved the feat all by themselves. The Chainsmokers and Rae Sremmurd combined to equal the feat.

“Black Beatles” had 54.1 million U.S. streams this week, more than any song since Adele’s “Hello” logged 61.6 million streams in its first week a year ago. “Black Beatles” sold 154K copies this week, the highest tally any song has posted in eight weeks.

The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) holds at #2 in its 16th week. The song logged 12 weeks at #1.

The Weeknd’s “Starboy” (featuring Daft Punk) holds at #3 in its ninth week. The song spent five weeks at #2.

Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” (featuring Nicki Minaj) jumps from #7 to #4 in its 12th week. It’s the only song in this week’s top 10 that moved up the chart. It’s Grande’s fourth top five hit; Minaj’s seventh. It’s the second top five hit on which the two stars have collaborated, following “Bang Bang” (which also credited Jessie J). That smash reached #3 two years ago. Grande and Minaj are the second pair of female solo stars who have collaborated on two top five hits. The first pair was Ciara and Missy Elliott (“1, 2 Step” and “Lose Control,” both in 2005). You’ll note that both of these pairs include a hip-hop artist. That’s not surprising, since many pop records these days feature a hip-hopper to give them extra edge and urban appeal.

twenty one pilots’ “Heathens” dips from #4 to #5 in its 22nd week. The song spent four weeks at #2.

Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” holds at #6 its sixth week.

DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You” (featuring Justin Bieber) drops from #5 to #7 in its 15th week. The song reached #4.

The final three songs in the top 10 remain in the same positions as last week. “Juju on That Beat (TZ Anthem)” by Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall holds at #8 in its eighth week. D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” (featuring Lil Yachty) holds at #9 in its 23rd week. Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) holds at #10 in its sixth week.

Alessia Cara lands her second top 20 hit as “Scars to Your Beautiful” jumps from #22 to #17 in its 12th week. “Here” reached #5 in February.

Rihanna’s “Needed Me” tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week.

Top Albums

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker rebounds from #48 to #7 in its fourth week. The album debuted at #10 three weeks ago, shortly before Cohen’s death. Cohen has a second album in this week’s top 20: The Essential Leonard Cohen, first released in 2002, re-enters the chart at #13.

Garth Brooks’s new 10-CD set, The Ultimate Collection, sold 100K copies in its first week, a healthy number considering the material has been repackaged so many times. Hits magazine, a music industry trade journal, lists it at #2 on its new album chart, just behind the A Tribe Called Quest album. I expected it to also debut at #2 on the Billboard 200, but it’s nowhere to be found on that chart.

The collection was sold exclusively through Target. Such “exclusives” used to be ineligible to chart. (In fact, that rule kept an earlier Brooks boxed set, 2005’s The Limited Series, a Walmart exclusive, from charting.) But exclusives have been eligible to chart for years.

So what gives? It turns out the Brooks collection was kept off the chart because it was too good of a deal for the consumer. The set is available for $29.99, which comes out to $2.99 a disc. Keith Caulfield, Billboard’s co-director of charts, explains: “The set is ineligible to chart on Nielsen and Billboard’s charts, as its price falls below the minimum required price to chart ($3.49 for a single disc, or $3.49 times the amount of discs in a multi-disc boxed set, in the title’s first four weeks of release).”

The collection consists of nine discs of (mostly) previously released material. The 10th disc is an early copy of Brooks’s supcoming album, Gunslinger (which is due Nov. 25).

This is Brooks’s fourth boxed set. It follows The Limited Series, a six-CD set which debuted at #1 in 1998; the aforementioned Walmart exclusive with the same title, a five-CD set; and Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences, a six-CD, two-DVD set which debuted at #1 in 2013.

There is some good news for Brooks on this week’s charts: Christmas Together, Brooks’s collabo with his wife, country and TV star Trisha Yearwood, debuts at #11. This isn’t the first time top country stars have collaborated on a hit Christmas album. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton had the top Christmas album of 1984 with Once Upon a Christmas (which peaked at #31).

Christmas Together enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Kenny Chesney’s Cosmic Hallelujah. It’s Brooks’ 15th #1 country album; Yearwood’s fourth. It’s the third Christmas album to reach #1 on the country chart. The first two were Brooks’ 1999 album Garth Brooks & The Magic of Christmas and the Robertsons’ 2013 album Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas.

Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas jumps from #4 to #2 in its fourth week. This is its highest ranking to date. The group’s 2014 album That’s Christmas to Me (which also reached #2) rebounds from #36 to #18 in its 27th week on the chart. It’s #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the second straight week.

The Trolls soundtrack holds at #3 in its eighth week. The album is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week.

Rae Sremmurd’s SremmLife 2 moves up from #5 to #4 in its 14th week. The album has surged on the popularity of its third single, “Black Beatles,” which tops the Hot 100 for the second straight week.

Drake’s Views jumps from #8 to #5 in its 29th week. This is the album’s 27th week in the top five. It logged 13 weeks at #1.

Hamilton jumps from #9 to #6 in its 60th week. The Broadway cast album peaked at #3 in the wake of the Tony Awards.

The Chainsmokers’ five-song EP, Collage, drops from #5 to #8 in its second week. (So current best-sellers range from 10-disc boxed sets to five-song EPs.)

Sting lands his 15th top 10 album as 57th & 9th debuts at #9. That tally includes four albums that he recorded as a member of the Police.

The Suicide Squad soundtrack rebounds from #12 to #10 in its 15th week. The album spent two weeks at #1.

Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not for Sale plummets from #1 to #43 in its second week. That’s the biggest tumble from the #1 spot since separate mono and stereo album charts were merged into one comprehensive chart in 1963. Bon Jovi’s album takes the dubious distinction from Incubus’s Light Grenades, which dove from #1 to #37 in its second week in December 2006. Why the steep fall for Bon Jovi? Last week’s tally was (artificially) boosted by a concert ticket/album sale promotion. Without a similar boost this week, the album took a steep dive, even steeper than most second-week dives. This is the second time a Bon Jovi album has tumbled from #1 to outside the top 10. The Circle dove from #1 to #19 in November 2009 (for a similar reason).

Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Alicia Keys’s Here drops from #2 to #20. Now 60 drops from #7 to #12. Kenny Chesney’s Cosmic Hallelujah drops from #10 to #30.

Coming attractions: Look for Metallica’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct to debut at #1 next week. Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic and Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings will open at #2 and #3, respectively.