This Week’s Number One: “The Box” by Roddy Ricch (#1 for nine weeks)
I’m convinced Roddy Ricch is trying to torpedo my column. For five weeks now, I have had to find new things to say about “The Box.” I even compared it to coronavirus (before the virus hit home). But evidently I am the only one getting tired of the song, because it has now spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Conventional wisdom would say that Ricch’s run should be coming to an end. But I’ve been saying that for weeks now, and I am clearly very wrong. Check back in next week, when it most likely will still reign.
Elsewhere in the Top Ten:
- Last week I set about a personal crusade, which involved listening to then-#5 “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa on repeat for it to climb up the charts. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s now at #3, which I will take full credit for. Here’s to another week of blasting it on repeat.
- There are probably five or so people in the world who I would unquestionably switch lives with, and Lady Gaga is one of them. “Stupid Love,” which debuted this week at #5, brings Gaga back into dance-pop after a decade of jazz, country and Oscar gold. Welcome back Ms. Germanotta. I eagerly await Chromatica and some more stupid-catchy jams.
- After a strong debut at #4 last week, “ON” by BTS has slid 64 spots down the chart to #68. The good news for the Korean boy band is that Map of the Soul: 7 only fell two spots on the Billboard 200 Album charts. (The album charts are far more diverse than the Hot 100, with the Top Ten including a #1 for Lil Baby and appearances from Bad Bunny, James Taylor and Five Finger Death Punch, which is probably the only time you’ll hear those artists in the same sentence ever.)
[Read more: Nicole Byer delights crowd of eager fans at SEE Comedy Show]
This Week in Number Ones: “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith (#1 for three weeks, March 1998)
Gather round, kids, and let me tell you the story of Will Smith’s rap career.
It starts when a Fresh Prince teamed up with a Jazzy DJ, and tried to make a name for themselves in West Philadelphia. It’s strange to think that music was Smith’s first career concern, but before The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince released three albums and had hits such as “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Even during the show’s run, the duo got to #4 on the Hot 100 with the the jam “Summertime.”
After ditching Jeff, starring in Independence Day and marrying Jada Pinkett, Smith had enough cache to start his solo career. Enter “Gettin Jiggy Wit It,” a title that feels even more ridiculous to type than it does to say out loud. For all its silliness, the song is the perfect vehicle for someone as mythically charismatic as Smith.
Behind a superbly funky Sister Sledge sample, Smith gets in solid lines about sitting courtside for the Lakers and getting called “The Greatest” by Muhammad Ali. He also mentions getting a house for his mom and not lighting cigars because he just likes the look of them, firmly establishing Smith’s perfectly calibrated PG-13 persona.
At the turn of the Willennium, it became more fashionable to diss Smith and his rap career. Still, that didn’t stop him from releasing two more albums, one of which included “Wild Wild West.” As a movie, Wild Wild West isn’t even fun bad, but the song sure is. “Wild Wild West” was Smith’s second, and final, #1 before he descended into woeful obscurity.
Just kidding! Will Smith has never stopped being famous, even if he has stopped making good movies. Like all successful people, Smith has a YouTube channel, a Tik Tok, and he’s worth roughly half a gazillion dollars. Smith’s music career may have ended after 2005’s Lost and Found, but Smith still has enough Big Willie Style to last him until the end of time.
Billboard Hot 100: March 14, 2020
- “The Box” — Roddy Ricch
- “Life is Good” — Future ft. Drake
- “Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
- “Circles” — Post Malone
- “Stupid Love” — Lady Gaga
- “Roxanne” — Arizona Zervas
- “Blinding Lights” — The Weeknd
- “Dance Monkey” — Tones And I
- “Memories” — Maroon 5
- “Intentions” — Justin Bieber ft. Quavo
Billboard Hot 100: March 14, 1998
- “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” — Will Smith
- “My Heart Will Go On” — Celine Dion
- “Nice & Slow” — Usher
- “No, No, No” — Destiny’s Child
- “Truly Madly Deeply” — Savage Garden
- “Swing My Way” — K.P. & Envyi
- “Together Again” — Janet Jackson
- “What You Want” — Mase ft. Total
- “Gone Till November” — Wyclef Jean
- “How Do I Live” — LeAnn Rimes