Nicki Minaj becomes first solo female rapper since Lauryn Hill to debut atop Billboard Hot 100

Nicki Minaj has become the first solo female rapper to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill almost a quarter of a century ago.

Nicki Minaj

Her latest single, ‘Super Freaky Girl’, was streamed 21.1 million times last week, received 4.6 million radio airplay impressions and sold 89,000 digital downloads – the latter record giving it the highest sales week for any song in 2022.

Its achievement makes it the first hip-hop song by a solo female artist (without accompaniment) to debut at number one since Lauryn Hill’s 1998 hit ‘Doo Woop (That Thing)’. It’s also the first number one in the Hot 100 by a female lead this year.

It’s come at an opportune time for the rapper, who headlined Wireless earlier this year and has now released 121 singles in the last 12 years. She is also set to receive the the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at this weekend’s MTV Awards, which she’ll also co-host and perform at.

Nicki Minaj

‘Super Freaky Girl’ is Minaj’s third number one single since ‘Say So’ with Nicki Minaj and ‘TROLLZ’ with 6ix9ine. It’s also become something of a viral hit in TikTok – which will go some way into feeding into its chart popularity, as people then listen or purchase the track on other platforms.

The track is notable for sampling Rick James’ 1981 hit ‘Super Freak’ – a funk classic that’s been sampled more than 30 times by artists from Jay-Z to Gucci Mane. Nicki Minaj’s success with it, however, has made it the first track using the sample has reached number one.

The original Rick James track only managed to reach 16 in the charts, whilst MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’, another classic, which was based on the instrumental, quite remarkably only reached number eight in the charts.

Minaj’s new use of it was produced by Dr. Luke, the New York songwriter and producer who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Kesha. Dr. Luke (real name, Lukasz Gottwald) has denied all charges and his lawyers have won several stages of the ongoing court battle, although many artists still refuse to work with him.

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