Chart Watch: ‘Black Beatles’ Zooms to #1 Thanks to Mannequin Challenge

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Swae Lee (L) and Slim Jimmy of Rae Sremmurd perform onstage during FYF Fest 2016 at Los Angeles Sports Arena on August 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for FYF)
Swae Lee (L) and Slim Jimmy of Rae Sremmurd perform onstage during FYF Fest 2016 at Los Angeles Sports Arena on August 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for FYF)

Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane) leaps from #9 to #1 on the Hot 100, displacing the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey), which spent the past 12 weeks on top. The new #1 has gotten a huge boost from its usage in videos related to the viral Mannequin Challenge — including one by a former Beatle. Paul McCartney posted a video to his Twitter account on Nov. 10 with the text, “Love those Black Beatles #MannequinChallenge.”


In this viral craze, people remain frozen in place while being filmed. The Mannequin Challenge originated in an Oct. 26 tweet showing students at a high school in Jacksonville, Fla., in mannequin poses. While that clip didn’t feature music, “Black Beatles” has been used in a multitude of subsequent clips. Adele, Young Thug, and the former members of Destiny’s Child are among the music stars that have joined in on the fun. Rae Sremmurd staged their own version of the challenge in concert Nov. 3.

We’ve seen an increase in viral hit singles in the past several years. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” logged seven weeks at #2 in the fall of 2012. Despite its ubiquity, the song wasn’t able to dislodge Maroon 5’s “One More Night” from the #1 spot. That prompted Billboard to adjust its formula for the Hot 100, giving streaming more weight. In March 2013, Baauer’s viral smash “Harlem Shake” debuted at #1 and spent five weeks on top, interrupting the run of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” (featuring Wanz).

“Black Beatles” is the second #1 hit in a little more than five years which namechecks British rock royalty in its title. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera hit #1 in September 2011. (The Beatles had 20 #1 singles between 1964 and 1970. Jagger led the Rolling Stones to eight #1 hits between 1965 and 1978.)

This is by far Rae Sremmurd’s biggest hit. The duo’s previous highest-charting hit was “No Type,” which peaked at #16 in 2014. The brother duo (Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown, 21, and Aaquil “Slim Jxmmi” Brown, 22) hail from Tupelo, Miss., which is also the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

This week’s #9 to #1 jump is the biggest for a single climbing to #1 since Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) vaulted from #53 to #1 in June 2015.

“Closer” dips to #2 in its 15th week. This marks the first time that two different duos have had back-to-back #1 hits since December 1984, when Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “Out of Touch” displaced Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” It’s the second time in the past two months that duos have held down the top two spots. This happened two months ago when “Closer” was #1 and twenty one pilots’ “Heathens” was #2.

“Black Beatles” also leaps from #16 to #1 on Top Digital Songs, ending a record-tying 13-week run on top by “Closer.” “Black Beatles” sold 144K copies this week, the highest tally by any song in the past seven weeks.

“Black Beatles” is just getting started at radio. It ranks #44 on this week’s Radio Songs chart. Billboard‘s Gary Trust notes that’s the worst showing by a song that was #1 on that week’s Hot 100 since February, when Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” wasn’t even listed on the Radio Songs chart. It entered the Hot 100 at #1 that week with nearly all its chart points from sales and streaming.

“Black Beatles” also jumps from #4 to #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, dethroning the Weeknd’s “Starboy” (featuring Daft Punk).

Top Songs

The next three songs on the chart each drop one notch this week. The Weeknd’s “Starboy” (featuring Daft Punk) dips from #2 to #3 in its eighth week. twenty one pilots’ “Heathens” dips from #3 to #4 in its 21st week. DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You” (featuring Justin Bieber) dips from #4 to #5 in its 14th week.

Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” rebounds from #7 to #6 its fifth week. The lyric, “Guess who’s back again,” echoes this key line from Eminem’s 2002 hit “Without Me”: “Guess who’s back/Back again…”

Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” (featuring Nicki Minaj) dips from #6 to #7 in its 11th week.

“Juju on That Beat (TZ Anthem)” by Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall holds at #8 in its seventh week.

D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” (featuring Lil Yachty) drops from #5 to #9 in its 22nd week.

Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) rebounds from #11 to #10 in its fifth week. The song has climbed as high as #9.

Drake’s “Fake Love” drops out of the top 10 this week.

Top Albums

Bon Jovi land their sixth #1 album as This House Is Not for Sale enters the Billboard 200 in the top spot. This gives the New Jersey-based group a more than 30-year span of #1 albums. The band first topped the chart in October 1986 with Slippery When Wet.

Only four other groups in chart history have had #1 albums spanning 30 years. The Beatles’ #1 albums span nearly 37 years (Feb. 15, 1964 to Feb. 3, 2001). Led Zeppelin’s span 33 and a half years (Dec. 27, 1969 to June 14, 2003). The Eagles’ span 32 years and four months (July 26, 1975 to Nov. 17, 2007). Santana’s span just a shade over 32 years (Oct. 24, 1970 to Nov. 9, 2002).

But if we confine the discussion to studio albums, Bon Jovi move up the ladder. Bon Jovi are one of just three groups to have #1 studio albums spanning 30 years. They follow the Eagles and Santana. (Led Zeppelin’s #1 studio albums span a little less than 10 years. The Beatles’ span less than seven years.)

This is Bon Jovi’s fourth’s studio album in a row to reach #1. It’s the band’s 13th top 10 album.

Alicia Keys lands her seventh top five album as Here debuts at #2. All six of Keys’s studio albums have debuted at #1 or #2.

The Trolls soundtrack vaults from #39 to #3 in its seventh week, in the wake of the film’s U.S. opening. It’s the third-highest-charting soundtrack so far this year. It trails Suicide Squad, which spent two weeks at #1, and Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain, which re-entered the chart at #2 following Prince’s death in April. The Trolls soundtrack features Justin Timberlake’s former #1 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling!.” Trolls enters the Top Soundtracks chart at #1, displacing Suicide Squad, which spent the past 13 weeks on top.

Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas rebounds from #6 to #4 in its third week. The album debuted at #3 two weeks ago. Will A Pentatonix Christmas become the first Christmas album to reach #1 since Michael Bublé’s Christmas in 2011? Stay tuned.

Rae Sremmurd land their second top five album in a row as SremmLife 2 rebounds from #21 to #5 in its 13th week. This improves upon the album’s previous peak of #7. The album has obviously surged on the popularity of “Black Beatles.”

The Chainsmokers’ five-song EP, Collage, debuts at #6. The duo’s smash single “Closer” (featuring Halsey) logged 12 weeks at #1.

Now 60 debuts at #7. It’s the 59th consecutive numbered Now volume to debut in the top 10.

Drake’s Views dips from #7 to #8 in its 28th week. The album spent its first 26 weeks in the top five. It logged 13 weeks at #1.

Hamilton holds at #9 in its 59th week. The Broadway cast album peaked at #3 in the wake of the Tony Awards.

Kenny Chesney’s Cosmic Hallelujah drops from #2 to #10 in its second week. Last week, the album lost a very tight race with Young Jeezy’s Trap or Die 3 for the #1 spot. It’s probably not much consolation for Chesney, but he won the Week 2 battle with Jeezy’s album. (See following paragraph.)

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Jeezy’s Trap or Die 3 drops from #1 to #14. Meek Mill’s mixtape DC4 drops from #3 to #13. Avenged Sevenfold’s The Stage drops from #4 to #19. Lady Gaga’s Joanne drops from #5 to #11. Suicide Squad drops from #8 to #12. Michael Bublé’s Nobody but Me dives from #10 to #34.

Coming attractions: Look for A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service to debut at #1 next week. Also headed for solid debuts: Sting’s 57th & 9th, Ronnie Dunn’s Tattooed Heart and Leslie Odom Jr.’s Simply Christmas.