As Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” returns to No. 1 this week on the Billboard Hot 100 and the rest of the top 10 remains largely static, two relative chart newcomers continue their climb up the chart’s top tier, with 24kGoldn’s iann dior-featuring “Mood” advancing 8-6.
The collab between the two alt-rappers has taken off on streaming services — sticking at its No. 3 peak on Billboard’s Streaming Songs listing this week, in large part thanks to its explosive virality on TikTok. The track is just the second Hot 100 hit for 24kGoldn, who previously graced the Hot 100 with his No. 93-peaking “Valentino” in late 2019, and the very first for iann dior.
Why has the song been able to catch such fire? And what artist could have the next rap/rock hybrid smash? Billboard staffers answer these questions and more below.
1. 24kGoldn and iann dior’s collab has now climbed up to No. 6 on the Hot 100, despite being the first entry for either rapper in the chart’s top half. What’s your current mood at their “Mood” success?
Rania Aniftos: I’m feeling “refreshed,” because I really enjoy seeing newer artists make their way up a chart that sometimes sees the same rotation of stars in the top 10.
Josh Glicksman: The mood is chill. Seems to me like the greater the number of new names that we can get into the upper echelon of the Hot 100, the better. Stale top 10s get boring quickly, and especially with summer beginning to cool off — despite what the sunflower-filled, pastel-colored music video for the track may indicate — let’s get some fresh material for those breezy fall temps. The more, the merrier!
Carl Lamarre: Happy. I love seeing the young cats shine. To see 24 and iann craft a top ten single early on in both of their careers — especially Goldn, who previously netted two surefire hits with “Valentino” and “City of Angels” — shows their tremendous upside as an artist. Since his entry into the game, he’s valued versatility and not making the same single twice. The USC dropout is off to a great start in his budding career with his latest feat.
Jason Lipshutz: Easy-breezy. There have been a few songs released this year that have threatened to enter the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart thanks to a bulletproof hook that’s particularly ripe for TikTok usage. But while Surfaces’ “Sunday Best,” Powfu & Beabadoobee’s “Death Bed” and BENEE’s “Supalonely” all came up a little short, “Mood” has met the moment — and could climb even higher, thanks to production that doesn’t sound out of place on pop, hip-hop and alt-rock playlists. I fully expect “Mood” to linger around as the weather turns ice-cold.
Andrew Unterberger: Pleased. It’d probably be naive to refer to any TikTok-bumped smash as “organic” at this point, but the excitement around “Mood” does feel genuine, largely because the song is just so much fun, and because the chemistry between its costars feels so natural. It’s a worthy top 10 hit, for sure.
2. What would you say is the biggest reason for “Mood” catching on the way it has? Is it just TikTok, or is something more to it?
Rania Aniftos: TikTok definitely helps, since it’s always on my For You Page, and then promptly fastens itself into my head for the rest of the day. You also can’t deny how catchy that song is. I may or may not be singing it to myself right now…
Josh Glicksman: Sure, it’s easy to look at the more than 1.1 million videos on TikTok that have used “Mood” as backing music and group the track into the “TikTok hit” category. And while that’s not an entirely unfair designation, it’s important to note that it’s not the first Big Hit™ for either artist. 24kGoldn scored big last fall with “Valentino” — which served as his first Hot 100 entry, peaking at No. 92 — and iann dior reached No. 3 on Hot Rock & Alternative Songs in May with his Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker-assisted “Sick and Tired.” TikTok can’t be ignored, but both of these two already had buzz.
Carl Lamarre: It’s just a feel-good record to me, especially when everything with the pandemic is so glum and dubious. I think it fits the esthetic of a late-summer bop, with a catchy hook and, of course, TikTok ingredients. It’s important to note, 24 is a TikTok savant and has used that platform as a vehicle to his success. He already has a whopping 2.8 million fans on the app. That’s more than five times his IG followers.
Jason Lipshutz: The chorus of “Mood” possesses the type of assonance that lets a listener gleefully mumble along while only sort of knowing the words — “Why you always in a mood? / Something something something brand new, something something tell you what to do!” Because of that, “Mood” sounds instantly familiar, as if you just need one cursory listen to anticipate its biggest movements. And that’s just when it comes to listening to the track on the radio or on a streaming platforms — imagine how effective that chorus is when isolated and repeated in endless TikTok clips!
Andrew Unterberger: Not to be too “Guitars are back!” but man, that riff. Simple, sweet, addictive. If indeed guitar sales have exploded during the pandemic, there’s probably many thousands of annoyed parents across the country right now sick of it hearing being endlessly practiced in their basements by their kids the past few months.
3. Which of the two artists, 24kGoldn or iann dior, do you think is more likely to launch off “Mood” into a sustainable career as a hitmaker?
Rania Aniftos: It’s a tight race, but I’m going to give 24kGoldn the gold star. “Valentino” and “City of Angels” are already anchored in Gen-Z culture, so he’s clearly in touch with what younger people want to hear and I can see him growing into an artist with steady hits and successful tours — whenever those happen again.
Josh Glicksman: I think it establishes the true hitmaking potential for both, but I’ll take 24kGoldn if for no other reason than the chorus. It’s easily digestible, and it’s sonically light enough to make you come back for additional helpings. Particularly during a time period when providing short bursts of repeatable, dance-ready music is at a premium, I wouldn’t be surprised if the hook in “Mood” has earned 24kGoldn an audition for a guest role on a single from a more established veteran in the industry.
Carl Lamarre: I’m going to give some love to iann dior. His 2020 album I’m Gone was criminally underrated and confirmed his potential as a hitmaker. “Paradise” and “Pretty Girls” are gleaming examples of why he’s the next rap-rock hybrid to take over. Also, his song “Prospect” with Lil Baby is catching steam too. Don’t sleep on Mr. dior.
Jason Lipshutz: Both artists have a bright future, and iann dior deserves a special shout-out for the delightfully emo lyric “We play games of love to avoid the depression.” Yet 24kGoldn delivers that hook so confidently that one can’t help to hope he’s got a dozen more just like it in his back pocket. At the very least, every 24kGoldn concert (when such things exist again) will have at least one euphoric sing-along moving forward.
Andrew Unterberger: I think 24kGoldn probably has the higher ceiling, but I’d say “Prospect” might give iann dior the edge to getting to megahit No. 2 first. That song really only might need a tiny spark to ignite in a big way.
4. More and more hits these days are blending hip-hop and alt-rock until there’s no real discernible point where one ends and the other begins. Which artist currently creating this kind of rap-rock hybrid do you think will have the next song to follow “Mood” to the top 10?
Rania Aniftos: Machine Gun Kelly’s been diving into the genre-bending pool lately, so I think he’s got a pretty good shot. “My Ex’s Best Friend” (a bop, BTW) made its way up to No. 68, and I could see a top 10 for him in the future.
Josh Glicksman: After just missing his first career top 10 hit earlier this year with “Hot Girl Bummer,” I’ll put my chips on blackbear landing one sooner rather than later. He has a little more experience than plenty of his counterparts — he’ll turn 30 years old in November — and he’s quietly paved a lane for himself as a reliable feature in recent months (Machine Gun Kelly’s “My Ex’s Best Friend,” Charlie Puth’s “Hard on Yourself”). Even if it comes on someone else’s song, it may only be a matter of time before it happens.
Carl Lamarre: I think Machine Gun Kelly finally found his lane! Him recruiting Travis Barker to executive produce his fifth studio album Tickets to My Downfall is already proving to be inspired. He notched a VMA win for the best alternative video for “bloody valentine,” and his blackbear-assisted jam “my ex’s best friend” is equally scorching. I think if he stays in that lane, he’ll be a leading candidate to usher in the new rap/rock movement.
Jason Lipshutz: I’m all in on jxdn’s “So What!”: the Travis Barker protege made a pop-punk song that has a trap beat breakdown before it hits the 30-second mark, which is exactly how a Blink-182 single would function had the band launched in 2020. Jaden Hossler is charismatic enough to carry this song into crossover territory.
Andrew Unterberger: I’ll go left-field here and say the other Jaden. Not a rap-rocker in strict terms by any means — he’s resisted labels of all kinds for most of his life in the limelight — Jaden Smith has always felt just one song away from expanding his cult fandom into true musical superstardom, and I feel like the time could be right for his alt-trap crossover moment pretty shortly. Just take “Summertime in Paris” and turn up the energy a little and the world will be powerless to resist.
5. What percent chance would you currently say “Mood” has at going to No. 1 on the Hot 100?
Rania Aniftos: 20 percent, because I don’t think it will beat out hits like “WAP,” “Dynamite” “Rockstar,” “Blinding Lights” or “Laugh Now Cry Later”—but I also never say never.
Josh Glicksman: It really depends on the promotional strategy from here. If the team is just going to let it ride from here and see what happens, I’d say pretty slim odds of cracking the top slot. That said, if there’s a star-studded remix in the works, that would at least give it a shot of getting over the hump, I’d imagine. It’d still be by no means a sure thing, but it would at least be more likely to put it into the conversation.
Carl Lamarre: 40% “Rockstar” and “Blinding Lights” are destined to slip, allowing Goldn to top into the top three and eventually oust “WAP” for that elusive No. 1 slot.
Jason Lipshutz: I give it a 25 percent chance. While I feel confident that “Mood” will climb higher than its current No. 6 peak, besting “WAP” and “Dynamite” at the top of the Hot 100 seems like a dicey proposition, at least right now. Those two smashes have been trading weeks at No. 1 while still being very much in the zeitgeist, and as such, “Mood” has an uphill battle to the top spot.
Andrew Unterberger: I’d say it’s close to 50/50, but a well-curated remix could certainly help tip the balances there. Post Malone would be the easy choice for a special guest, but here’s hoping they go more of an “Old Town Road” route and get a Tom DeLonge or Billie Joe Armstrong — hell, maybe one or both Maddon brothers — instead.