Tag Archives: Janet Jackson

“Right” On Time: A Sample Of 1993 Hits

A "Walk" down memory lane.

A “Walk” down memory lane.

New in the CHR/Pop top 40 this week is the song “Be Right There” by producers Diplo and Sleepy Tom, the first charting song for the latter performer out of British Columbia and yet another hot hit for the former, originally from Mississippi. The release is a big hit in big markets, and it seems to have survived the annual freeze well, as it’s still holding onto a triple digit bullet. It’s also a notable streaming success, with 42 million plays on Spotify and several more million on YouTube. However, this new entry is also a part of an interesting historical occurrence, one that’s been gaining a lot of steam since the start of the decade.

If you’re a pop music buff, especially when it comes to the 90’s, you know that “Right” samples the biggest hit on the pop radio list for the girl group Jade“Don’t Walk Away” was the second song for Joi Marshall, Tonya Kelly and Di Reed to become a top 40 hit (following “I Wanna Love You”, which went to #11 in September 1992) and it was a smash, spending 20 weeks on the chart, two of those weeks at #6 in late March and early April 1993. Keep in mind, this was during a time before the plays-per-week era, and the total it achieved (along with “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors) hadn’t been reached since the 70’s.

Though their name was lost in the many forgotten female groups that scored during the early part of the decade (Yes, I’m looking at you Boy Krazy, Sweet Sensation and The Cover Girls, etc.), they suddenly find themselves back in the spotlight with that great song. It got me thinking about other singles to hit the CHR/Pop chart that also sampled singles that peaked in 1993, and I’m happy to report that I’ve found at least six more singles from that year that have endured in other songs. Most of them are still on the airwaves in their original form, if only for a mix show or syndicated weekend program. Let’s see how many you remember!

(Radio & Records statistics are provided for all songs prior to the summer of 2006, while Mediabase 24/7 peaks and weeks are provided after that date.)

DR. DRE featuring SNOOP DOGG, “Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang” (#24 – March/April, 12 weeks)
sampled in 2001/2’s “Livin’ It Up” by Ja Rule featuring Case (#8 – January, 19 weeks)
sampled in 2007’s “This Is Why I’m Hot” by MIMS (#11 – April, 18 weeks)

It’s a G-funk classic, and though it was a bigger hit on the Hot 100, this did its “Thang” on a fairly conservative panel for the time.

HADDAWAY, “What Is Love?” (#5 – October, 15 weeks)
sampled in 2010’s “No Love” by Eminem featuring Lil Wayne (#20 – December, 12 weeks)

The act from Trinidad and Tobago managed to score one additional hit on the pop chart in 1994 with “Life”, which peaked at #12.

JANET JACKSON, “Again” (#1 – October/November, 15 weeks)
sampled in 2010’s “Solo” by Iyaz (#17 – May, 13 weeks)

The janet. era was huge, launching six songs into the pop top ten. Jackson made a big return in 2015 with the album Unbreakable.

ROBIN S, “Show Me Love” (#3 – July, 14 weeks)
sampled in 2011’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home” by Jason Derulo (#10 – June/July, 14 weeks)
sampled in 2014’s “Show Me” by Kid Ink featuring Chris Brown (#19 – March, 18 weeks)

“Love” remains one of the quintessential house records of that era. A second single, “Love For Love”, went to #38 for two frames.

SWV, “Right Here (Human Nature)” (#3 – September/October, 15 weeks)
sampled in 2011’s “She Ain’t You” by Chris Brown (#17 – August, 13 weeks)

This remains the trio’s last top ten single to date on the pop survey, but they’re currently on Urban AC radio with “Ain’t No Man”.

ZAPP & ROGER, “Slow And Easy” (#37 – December, 4 weeks)
sampled in 2000’s “Big Pimpin'” by Jay-Z featuring UGK (#32 – September, 12 weeks)

They had plenty of R&B hits, but this was their only crossover entry, and a minor one at that. It’s a cut from All The Greatest Hits.

(Listen to our 93 From ’93 playlist on Spotify, including all the big pop hits from that year in music!)

For more from the days of Sleepless In SeattleSeinfeld and Sam Goody, follow the blog by using the tab below and check out the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on Twitter, Facebook and more.

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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of October 2, 2015

Don't sleeep on this one.

Don’t sleeep on this one.

This week’s New Music Friday leads our rhythm nation into one of the cool comeback stories of the year, with a handful of other new sets trying to take control from Miss Jackson (if they’re nasty.) Here’s a look at the week’s new album and single releases:

  • JANET JACKSON — Unbreakable (iTunes)
    • It’s been all work and “No Sleeep” for the legendary performer as she continues her World Tour through the end of November before a break until the start of the year. Meanwhile, her first studio album in seven years is in stores. It features the aforementioned “Sleeep”, a #1 on the Urban AC chart, while second single “BURNITUP!” (with Missy Elliott) was recently serviced to radio. Look for it to be one of next week’s top debuts.
  • TAMAR BRAXTON — Calling All Lovers (iTunes)
    • With her role on the daytime talk show The Real and her new single gaining at radio called “Catfish”, Braxton has a good presence in the media today. Back in 2013, her Love And War album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, and though her opening frame may not be as large this time, she could potentially find herself in the top five again.
  • AVICII — Stories (iTunes)
    • It’s been a rough time for this DJ/producer at radio here over the past year or so, with two singles pulled at the last minute, another single that stalled beneath the top 40 and a current one (“For A Better Day”) that’s doing very little outside of overnight spins. Perhaps his latest studio album will perform slightly better.
  • SEVENDUST — Kill The Flaw (iTunes)
    • This Atlanta group has been on the rock scene since the mid-90’s, and their latest effort is their first studio set since the spring of 2013. Single “Thank You” is in the top 20 on the Active Rock chart. Since 2003, they’ve had a string of top 20 debuts (six studio albums in a row.) Will this be the seventh to do so?
  • More albums out this week: Clutch‘s Psychic Warfare (iTunes), Collective Soul‘s See What You Started By Continuing (iTunes), Dave East‘s Hate Me Now (iTunes), Eagles Of Death Metal‘s Zipper Down (iTunes), Falls‘s Omaha (iTunes), For Today‘s Wake (iTunes), Joe Bonamassa‘s Live At Radio City Music Hall (iTunes), Matt Nathanson‘s Show Me Your Fangs (iTunes), Paul McCartney‘s reissues of Pipes Of Peace (iTunes) and Tug Of War (iTunes), Queensryche‘s Condition Human (iTunes), Rudimental‘s We The Generation (iTunes), The Winery Dogs‘s Hot Streak (iTunes), Trivium‘s Silence In The Snow (iTunes)
  • More EPs out this week:

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Carter & Cash”, Tor Miller (iTunes)
  • “Me & The Rhythm”, Selena Gomez (iTunes)
  • “Player”, Tinashe (iTunes)
  • “Something To Believe In”, A Silent Film (iTunes)
  • “Testarossa Music”, ZHU (iTunes)
  • “Victorious”, Panic! At The Disco (iTunes)
  • “Wake Up”, The Vamps (iTunes)

Next Friday, our preview will include new albums from R. City, Selena Gomez, The Game and more. See you then!

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: August 5, 2001

Going "Up" the chart.

Going “Up” the chart.

It is time for yet another trip back into the archives on Adam’s Top 40 Flashback! Every Saturday, the day before my latest top 40 goes up for the week, I’ll be featuring a past countdown straight from chart files of Adam’s Top 40. They’re all here — the hit songs, the songs that flopped, and the songs that may be a little embarrassing to reflect on. Alright, let’s get a move on back to the first days of August and take a look at my favorite songs from this week in 2001…

Debuts:
39. CAKE, “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”

38. GORILLAZ, “Clint Eastwood”
35. EDEN’S CRUSH, “Love This Way”
31. *NSYNC, “Gone”

Biggest Mover:
SAMANTHA MUMBA, “Don’t Need You To (Tell Me I’m Pretty)” (35-26) (nine spots)

10. SUGAR RAY, “When It’s Over” (down 4)
Album: Sugar Ray (2001, Lava/Atlantic Records)
Peak: #3

09. USHER, “U Remind Me” (down 1)
Album: 8701 (2001, LaFace/Arista Records)
Peak: #8

08. DESTINY’S CHILD, “Bootylicious” (down 1)
Album: Survivor (2001, Columbia Records)
Peak: #1 for three weeks

07. BLINK 182, “The Rock Show” (up 3)
Album: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001, MCA Records)
Peak: #7

06. JANET JACKSON, “Someone To Call My Lover” (down 3)
Album: All For You (2001, Virgin Records)
Peak: #2 for two weeks

05. JENNIFER LOPEZ, “I’m Real” (up 4)
Album: J. Lo (2001, Epic Records)
Peak: #2 for three weeks

04. LFO, “Every Other Time” (down 2)
Album: Life Is Good (2001, J Records)
Peak: #2

03. THE WISEGUYS, “Start The Commotion” (up 2)
Album: Zoolander: Music From The Motion Picture (2001, Mammoth/Hollywood Records)
Peak: #1 for two weeks

02. BLU CANTRELL, “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” (up 2)
Album: So Blu (2001, Arista Records)
Peak: #2 for two weeks

01. SMASH MOUTH, “I’m A Believer” (steady, third week)
Album: Shrek: Music From The Motion Picture (2001, DreamWorks/Interscope Records)
Peak: #1 for four weeks

Check back next Saturday for another Adam’s Top 40 Flashback countdown and don’t forget to follow the blog by using the tab below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab at the top of the page.

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A Deeper Love: The House For House This Summer

Those great grooves out of Europe keep coming this summer as house music, aided by sampled compositions, continue to dominate the surveys. Credit it under as many sub-categories as you wish: deep house, electro house, handbag house, etc.: it’s whatever gets people onto the floor and swaying to the beat. Here are two more releases to check out, and they keep it “deep”, to the point that both are out the same week. How deep is their love? I really need to learn and so do you too. Here we are then:

It's always darkest before the Dawn.

It’s always darkest before the Dawn.

FERRECK DAWN & REDONDO – “Love Too Deep”
Label: 3 Beat/Spinnin’ / Release Date: August 11

Sometimes, it’s all about collaboration, and this one’s certainly got many layers to it. Holland-based producer Dawn mixes it up with the Netherlands duo on this single, sampling both Keyshia Cole‘s “Shoulda Let You Go” and an absolute dance classic, “Show Me Love” from Robin S. “Deep” may have been pushed back two weeks from in its initial July 28 date, but the hot track is already in the top 100 on Shazam in the U.K. and is looking forward to a lofty debut on the charts once it’s released in August. Some may say that it comes to soon after SecondCity‘s “I Wanna Feel”; less than two months ago, the song went onto the Singles Chart at #1 and was heavily based around a loop of Toni Braxton‘s “You’re Makin’ Me High”. However, this very much stands on its own, and the reaction thus far from both tagging and streaming of the music video is extremely encouraging. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it just debuted on my personal chart this week. Be on the lookout for it.

He's got U.

He’s got U.

JAX JONES – “Go Deep”
Label: Blasé Boys Club / Release Date: August 11

If you’re familiar with Duke Dumont, then you probably know who Jones is. Earlier this year, he served as the featured guest and producer on a former U.K. #1 tune, “I Got U”. It also topped the U.S. based Hot Dance/Club Play chart in June. The vocalist on that and “Deep” is Kelli-Leigh Henry-Davila; she also performed the female lead on the aforementioned “I Wanna Feel” and provides background vocals on a track on Iggy Azalea‘s The New Classic. She’s certainly getting lots of attention, and when it comes to this latest release, I hope that momentum keeps on building. Sampling a piece of the 1998 single by Janet Jackson, also titled “Go Deep”, Jones’s single is a nice and chilled-out summer cut that’s ready for some serious action on the radio and in the clubs… at least in Europe. Given the familiarity of the names, this should start to lift off sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, you can catch Jones enjoying the sun and playing the occasional set over in Ibiza.

Once those two go head-to-head in a month’s time, which one will end up on top? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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More Than Words: Song Titles That Stretch (Longer And Longer)

Boy, is that long.

Boy, is that long.

The comeback of indie rockers Fall Out Boy has also issued in a return of those long song titles with the unnecessary subtitles that were popular about five or so years ago. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”, their newest single, has nine words in its main title along with a three word subtitle, totaling 12 words. However, it’s not the longest top-40 song title of all-time. In fact, two other songs by the band are on this list, which just shows how much they like the idea. Here’s a look at some of the rest of those pop hits that pack on the wordage: nine or more in the main title or twelve or more total.

(Information is provided by the Billboard Hot 100 prior to the fall of 1973 and Radio & Records/Mediabase through 2013. The list is composed of individual song titles, so double a-sided releases with two separate songs credited as opposed to a medley of them are not counted.)

There’s at least a dozen examples of top-40 singles with nine words in their main title. They range from 1965’s “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens (#15) to 1988’s “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” by Elton John (#2) to 2001’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” by U2 (#30). Two such singles went to #1: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1973 and “When The Going Get Tough, The Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean from 1986.

Here’s where the numbers start shrinking. Only four songs have gone top-40 with ten words in their main title. In 1976, ABBA went to #17 with “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”. Twenty years later, Bryan Adams rose to #20 with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”. The last two examples charted within less than six months of each other. From 2006, Fall Out Boy hit with “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”” (#32) and then Panic! At The Disco got to #35 with “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage”. I bet you thought that was a mouthful.

Going up to eleven words, we have two titles. The first, in 1968, was the last top ten hit for vocal group The Lettermen: the medley of “Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, originally by Little Anthony & the Imperials and Frankie Valli, respectively. It rose to #7, tying for their best peak position of all-time. In the summer of 1996, the only big song for the Primitive Radio Gods found itself at that same peak. It was called “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”.

After Meat Loaf‘s grand comeback in 1993 with “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, the singer went to #20 the next year with an emotional song, “Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, which stands at 12 words total. Only one other top-40 hit made it there, but with the help of a subtitle like Fall Out Boy‘s newest release. That was “Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)” by Janet Jackson in collaboration with Missy Elliott, Carly Simon, and P. Diddy on some remixed versions. It stalled out at #22 towards the end of 2001.

Ray Stevens is best known for big #1 hits like comedy record “The Streak” (1974) and the more Country-tinged “Everything Is Beautiful” (1970), but back in 1961, he garnered his very first hit with novelty single “Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills”, at 13 words in length. It peaked at #35.

The Bellamy Brothers had a #1 smash on the pop survey in 1976 with “Let Your Love Flow”. Their second and last top-40 crossover single was 1979’s “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me”, which clocks in at 14 words. It spent two weeks at #39 on the Hot 100 (Radio & Records only published a top 30 at that point) and also went to #1 on the Country chart.

In 1985, the duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates were coming off another big era in Big Bam Boom, which landed them a one-off concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City. It was recorded into a full-length live album, and one-half of their opening medley was edited into a single that climbed to #24. The full title? “A Night at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do The Things You Do/My Girl”, sixteen words in length. After that, the terrific twosome never released a single more than five words long.

Beating them by one word is the last spot on this list by Fall Out Boy with a song they released in 2007, again, extended by an itsy bitsy subtitle. “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)” peaked at #25, and could’ve been at the top of this list, peaking at 17 words, 14 in the main title. Alas, it only comes in second.

If you remember the charts in the early 1980’s, then you’ll probably know this song, or at least the components of it. Sometimes it was just referred to as “Medley” or “Beatles Medley” for the sake of convenience, but on the record itself and on the charts, every single song included was listed out in full. So, the longest title in terms of words to make the top 40 is (deep breath in) “Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want To Know A Secret?/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going To Lose That Girl /Stars On 45”, a whopping forty-one words for the Dutch studio group Stars On 45. It went to #3 in airplay and #1 on the Hot 100 for a week. They charted a handful of times with other medleys on Billboard after that colossal single, but all of them had reduced titles like “More Stars” or “Stars on 45 III: In Tribute To Stevie Wonder”.

Well, that was a whole lot of words, but something tells me I’ve forgotten one or two, so I need you help. Can you think of any other hit singles that managed a length of at least nine words? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel.

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Voices Carry: Screaming and Shouting Up The Survey

Would you hold it against her?

Would you hold it against her?

Pipe down! Better yet, pipe into this. This week on the Hot 100, the collaboration between will.i.am and Britney Spears, “Scream & Shout”, rises to #6. It’s the first main-credited solo top ten hit for the leader of the Black Eyed Peas and twelfth for Spears. Question is, which word has appeared in the top ten more times before? “Scream” or “Shout”? You may be yelling at the top of your lungs when you find out. I would save your voice, however. Here they are:

THE SCREAMERS
MICHAEL & JANET JACKSON – “Scream” (#5, 1995)
One of the most hotly anticipated singles of the decade went in with a roar but bowed out pretty quickly despite two big names and a $7 million music video, which has influenced a number of other videos over the years. The song debuted on the radio during the third full week of May, with a CD single release just a week afterwards, combining in a huge #5 debut on the Hot 100 on the chart dated June 17. However, the airplay suddenly stopped building less than a month after it debuted and the single sales, though strong for a few weeks, started dropping by the end of July. The hype was just too big and it couldn’t sustain it. Both artists would hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100 after this single before Michael passed away in 2009. Janet’s last hit on a genre-specific chart was as recent as 2010.

USHER – “Scream” (#9, 2012)
This singer’s latest album, Looking 4 Myself, was one of his more polarizing to date in that it took him into a more dance and electronic direction, which alienated a lot of his Urban audience despite a few hits at the format. This was his only major mainstream hit from the album, which got to #6 on CHR radio and #9 on the Hot 100. 2013 marks the 20-year mark for Usher on the national charts, and I’m sure he’ll be around with some more big singles for years to come. (This is the most recent occurrence of the word “scream” appearing on the charts.)

THE SHOUTERS
JOEY DEE & THE STARLITERS – “Shout (Part One)” (#6, 1962)
Several months earlier, the band had a big debut #1 hit in “Peppermint Twist”, knocking out Chubby Checker‘s rereleased version of “The Twist”. This was followed by the similar “Hey, Let’s Twist”, which only got to #20. By that point, the countdown was all twisted out with a twister of songs by Billy Joe & The Checkmates, Gary U.S. Bonds, Sam Cooke and more. So, the band went in a different direction, recording this live version of the old Isley Brothers tune and shouting their way to a peak of #6. The band would continue to hit the Hot 100 through 1963.

ERNIE MARESCA – “Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)” (#6, 1962)
Though he only charted with one solo song, Maresca was very successful as a songwriter, co-writing/writing two big hits for Dion in 1961, “Runaround Sue” (#1) and “The Wanderer” (#2). He was also part of the band The Regents, who did the original version of “Barbara Ann” in 1961 (#13) before the Beach Boys made it into a top seller four years later. Maresca’s song peaked within two weeks of Dee’s; in fact, for the week of May 4, both songs were in the top ten! Dee & The Starliters fell from 6-10, while Maresca soared from 16-8. Now that’s something to shout about. He continued to write and sing until the end of the decade.

TEARS FOR FEARS – “Shout” (#1, 1985)
This English duo was just coming off a #1 hit with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, so expectations were high for their American followup, and it did not disappoint. “Shout” hit #1 in eight countries, including the United States, and launched parent album Songs From The Big Chair into the top spot on the Albums Chart. The group had two other top-5 hits following this, and a handful of top-40 entries, their last one being “Break It Down Again” in 1993.

(We’ve had some shouters on the air and selling big since then. The most recent top-40 appearance of it was in a rereleased version of “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles in 1986. It hit #23 after it was featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Shaggy also scored a CHR radio entry in 2000 with “Dance & Shout”, which sampled “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” by The Jacksons. It went as high as #22 on that format chart and just missed the Hot 100.)

So, there you have it. There have been two other “Scream” titles and three other “Shout” titles besides “Scream & Shout” to make the top ten. It’s a pretty close race. Will the screamers eventually topple the shouters? Will a combination of two in “Scream & Shout” prove to be a #1 record in the next few weeks? Anything can happen in the chart game. For more music information, don’t raise your voice, just follow the blog and follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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That’s A Rap: The Obligatory (But Disposable) Rent-A-Rapper Break

You've gotta hand it to 'em.

You’ve gotta hand it to ’em.

You may try to hide from it, but it’s all over the radio. Rap music. The golden age of it may be long gone, but it won’t go away. So, how did the art of spitting a rhyme go from legendary to lackluster? One major reason in today’s music is the mainstream radio rule of the obligatory rent-a-rapper break. You’re listening to a harmless pop song, and then you hear some gruff voice out of nowhere take over, and then it’s back to the original song. Looking for street cred? Rent a rapper. Breaking America? Rent a rapper. Even if your song is perfection, it’s not going to be a hit unless you have a rapper. Why did it have to come to this predictable pattern? Let’s take a look back at how it developed.

The first rap break in a mainstream song was done by Debbie Harry in 1981’s “Rapture” by her group Blondie, toasting about men from Mars and eating cars, etc. As R&B music became more commonly accepted at radio in the mid-80’s, rap breaks appeared again on records like Chaka Khan‘s “I Feel For You”, featuring Grandmaster Melli Mel. By 1986, a movement began in which rappers interpolated other records into their own while they would freestyle over the beat. Run-D.M.C. and Aersomith scored a top-5 hit out of 1986’s “Walk This Way”, and rap trio the Fat Boys managed two top-20 hits, 1987’s “Wipe Out” (chorus by the Beach Boys, what an odd pairing) and 1988’s “The Twist”, featuring the original singer, Chubby Checker. This is when the disposable rap began, at least on the CHR format.

In 1990, two songs went to #1 that included rap breaks, but neither were issued with a rap-free edit. In February, Paula Abdul‘s “Opposites Attract” hit the top with a remixed version featuring two raps credited to the animated MC Skat Kat (vocals by Romany Malco and Derrick Stevens). Then, in July, Hawaiian-born balladeer Glenn Medeiros managed to push an uptempo number to #1, “She Ain’t Worth It”, featuring a rap by Bobby Brown. The latter example seems like a more obvious case of the record label really wanting a hit, but Brown was hot at the time, so, the song took off. Other songs that year that had an optional break for radio include “Alright” by Janet Jackson (added rap by Heavy D) and “Groove Is In The Heart” by Deee-Lite (album version featured a rap by Q-Tip.)

By 1992, the Jacksons struck again. “Jam” by Michael and “The Best Things In Life Are Free” by Janet and Luther Vandross were generally heard with their added rappers on them; Heavy D for the former and Bell Biv Devoe for the latter. (“Best” did have a rap-free edit, however.) With the fall of the CHR format beginning around this time, guest rappers also began to fall out of fashion as mainstream radio turned to alternative rock to balance out the airwaves.

For the last half of the decade, rap breaks came and went, but most remixed singles were heard in their original album versions at CHR. The driving force behind these was superstar Mariah Carey, known more for ballads than R&B material. By 1995, that was changed with the release of “Fantasy”, released with a new version featuring rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard. It went to #1. The following year, “Always Be My Baby” got a remix on behalf of producer Jermaine Dupri, which included rapper Da Brat, hitting #2. The results were more mixed for 1999’s “Heartbreaker”, where the album version featured Jay-Z (an edit without him was issued.) A separate remix also featured Da Brat and Missy Elliott. Though it hit #1 on the Hot 100, it missed the top 20 at CHR radio, continuing a downward spiral for the singer at the format.

Other than Carey, songs like 1996’s “No Diggity” by BLACKstreet featuring Dr. Dre and 1998’s “No, No, No (Part 2)” by Destiny’s Child featuring Wyclef Jean became minor CHR crossovers, but much bigger hits on the Hot 100. The only rock band to experiment with the concept during this time period and succeed was Sugar Ray, who featured reggae singer/rapper Super Fly on their 1997 #1 hit, “Fly”. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that something seemed to click between rap and the teen audience.

It took a boy band out of Canada to reignite the disposable rap for popular radio. “Faded”, the debut hit for trio soulDecision, featured an optional rap break by rapper Thrust. It climbed to #6 on pop radio in October, signaling a new era in boy bandemonium: the rap remix. The Backstreet Boys did it with “The Call”, remixed by The Neptunes in 2001. It didn’t exactly help the song. However, a remix of *NSYNC‘s “Girlfriend” with a rap by Nelly did go top 5 in 2002. By that summer, boy bands were largely off the airwaves save for a few acts, both groups and members gone solo. For example, Justin Timberlake‘s first solo single, “Like I Love You”, which featured a rap break by The Clipse, went top 5 in late 2002.

Once the boy bands got going, the females followed. In 2001, pop group Dream had their second single, “This Is Me”, remixed with added raps by P. Diddy and Kain. The collaborative #1 remake of “Lady Marmalade” with singers Christina Aguilera, Mya and Pink featured a rap break from Lil’ Kim, who was often edited out. Aguilera would use rapper Redman on her 2002 single “Dirrty”. Competitor Britney Spears added Pharell to a remix of her 2002 single, “Boys”. Both were low charters, though the Spears record did worse. One of the more important figures of this era was Jennifer Lopez, who scored two #1 singles in a row with remixes featuring rapper Ja Rule that were played over the album version: 2001’s “I’m Real” and 2002’s “Ain’t It Funny”. Lopez’s next three releases to the format all included rappers. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Other artists to add raps during this period included Joe, Lenny Kravitz and No Doubt, who had two singles: 2002’s “Hey Baby”, featuring Bounty Killer and “Underneath It All”, featuring Lady Saw.

Things slowed down with CHR radio in crisis again, though some singers like Beyoncé and Ciara continually delivered hits with featured rappers between 2003 and 2006. The former scored #1 singles with 2003’s “Baby Boy”, featuring Sean Paul and 2006’s “Check On It”, featuring Slimm Thugg. The latter took “1, 2 Step”, featuring Missy Elliott, to the top in 2005. Lopez’s overuse of the technique proved to be her downfall in 2005; both singles from Rebirth underperformed. Teen singers got in on the action as well to mixed results. JoJo‘s 2004 single, “Baby It’s You”, added a rap by Bow Wow and went top ten. Jesse McCartney‘s 2005 single, “She’s No You”, awkwardly remixed with Fabolous, barely went top 30. Frankie J, The Pussycat Dolls and Usher also saw big hits during this period that included guest raps. Some bands, like Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray, desperately tried to get another hit by featuring rappers at this time, but both flopped. Something tells me you don’t remember 2003’s “You Are My Number One” (with Ranking Roger) and “Mr. Bartender (It’s So Easy)” (with ProHoeZak), respectively.

Rap breaks began to pick up again in mid-2006 just because so many were suddenly going to #1, thanks in part to the second coming of Timbaland. From May until October, four songs dominated that all had a featured rapper/production artist: “Hips Don’t Lie”, by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean, “Promiscuous”, by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland, “Buttons”, by The Pussycat Dolls featuring Snoop Dogg and “SexyBack”, by Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland. Timberlake would also hit #1 later in the year with “My Love”, featuring T.I., for four weeks. This continued in 2007 with hit singles by Fergie and Rihanna. In fact, the former artist’s ballad, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, was reissued in a very unnecessary remix with reggae and rap artist Sean Kingston, which pretty much set the standard for most of the cash-in remixes going forward. This means we’re getting to the point where everybody needed a rap break to get airplay.

By 2008, not only were R&B singers like Ray J and Usher using the trick, but pop acts like Natasha Bedingfield (“Love Like This” with Kingston) and yes, even the Jonas Brothers, were including rappers on songs. Remember “Burnin’ Up”? Well, this continued in force, and then the labels decided that in order for us to suffer more, they would be exporting their already successful British singers into the United States with specially crafted “We need an American rapper on this” remixes. Thus, Jay Sean‘s 2009 single “Down” went to #1 with Lil Wayne tacked on, and Taio Cruz went to #1 in 2010 with “Break Your Heart” featuring Ludacris.

As for the American acts, don’t think they weren’t left out of this. Katy Perry went to #1 several weeks after that with “California Gurls”, featuring a rap by Snoop Dogg, and Usher took “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” to #2 with a rap by Pitbull. Perry’s label noticeably issued digital remixes of many of her songs with added guest rappers in an attempt to secure a record amount of consecutive #1 singles for her. “E.T.”, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, and “The One That Got Away” featured Kanye West, Missy Elliott and B.o.B., respectively. The former two went to #1; the last stalled at #3.

Now, Enrique Iglesias, still living off the royalties of “Hero” and his mole, heard these songs one day and I’m sure went “Oye! There’s my comeback hit!” Thus, it was that “I Like It”, featuring Pitbull and “Tonight” with another phoned-in rap by Ludacris both became big hits in 2010 and 2011. (All of Iglesias’s singles since those two have featured rappers, one other with Pitbull.) For some reason, this inspired Justin Bieber to call up his grandfather Luda and ask him for a rap and you could just see the dollar signs shining in his eyes, so Ludacris again was featured on Bieber’s 2011 hit, “Baby”.

Now, every good comeback deserves another one, so the formerly washed-up Jennifer Lopez, then a judge on American Idol, returned with 2011’s “On The Floor” with a familiar face, Pitbull. Three of her next four singles featured rappers, the biggest one being 2012’s “Dance Again”, again with Pitbull. Last year, pop/rock bands began to try again with rapped portions. Maroon 5‘s “Payphone”, with a break by Wiz Khalifa, went to #1. Additionally, “I Like It Like That”, by Hot Chelle Rae and featuring the New Boyz, made the top 20.

So, you’re probably wondering where we are at this point with current singles that utilize a guest rapper. Here’s everything in the current CHR top 50:
#04: Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj“Beauty And A Beat” (no rap-free edit)
#12: Alicia Keys (featuring Nicki Minaj) – “Girl On Fire” (album version without rap)
#22: The Script featuring will.i.am“Hall Of Fame” (international edit without will.i.am)
#23: Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z“Suit & Tie” (rap-free edit issued)
#29: Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida“Troublemaker” (international edit without Flo Rida)
#46: Skylar Grey featuring Eminem“C’mon Let Me Ride” (no rap-free edit)

Additionally, one song just below the top 50 features Flo Rida on it: “Say You’re Just A Friend” by Austin Mahone. No rap-free edit is available on that one… yet.

So, as you can see, as much as we may desire them to get off the radio, the overexposed guest rapper who already a dozen hits on his or her own isn’t leaving anytime soon. The concept will always be floated around as a way to get a hit, even if it means selling out for the sake of it. Although it may go out of style for a few years, it always seems to come back around and picks up momentum in no time with the same names on every song. I usually prefer a rap-free version of a song, but that’s just me and my more pop/rock-driven tastes. If you have an opinion on this or if I missed any big examples, let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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