Late rapper Pop Smoke vaults from No. 73 to No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart (dated July 18) to become the top musical act in the U.S. for the first time, as his debut full-length Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon launches at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
The album starts with 251,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, marking the sixth-largest week of 2020 so far. Pop Smoke is the fourth hip-hop artist to notch a posthumous No. 1 set, after The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac and XXXTentacion.
Plus, all 19 tracks on the LP land on the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart. “For the Night,” featuring Lil Baby and DaBaby, leads at No. 6, followed by “The Woo,” featuring 50 Cent and Roddy Ricch, at No. 11.
Pop Smoke is the sixth artist to lead the Artist 100 posthumously, dating to the chart’s July 2014 inception, following Juice WRLD in December 2019, XXXTentacion (June 2018), Tom Petty (October 2017), Prince (May 2016) and David Bowie (January 2016). Linkin Park also led in August 2017 after frontman Chester Bennington’s death.
Pop Smoke (real name: Bashar Barakah Jackson, from Brooklyn) died, at age 20, on Feb. 19 at his Hollywood Hills home of a gunshot wound after suspects with masks entered the residence. On July 9, five people were arrested in connection with his murder.
Among other Artist 100 chart moves, Willie Nelson re-enters at No. 22 on the strength of his new album First Rose of Spring, which opens at No. 1 on Americana/Folk Albums and No. 5 on Top Country Albums with 12,000 units. On the latter list, he becomes the first act with top 10s in seven distinct decades. Nelson reached a No. 18 high on the Artist 100 in 2017, powered by his album God’s Problem Child.
The Artist 100 measures artist activity across key metrics of music consumption, blending album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.