Pop music is an unpredictable beast. A year and a half ago, Tekashi 6ix9ine was a rap pariah who was looking at a possible life imprisonment. Today, 6ix9ine isn’t just a free man. He’s also got the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard reports that “Trollz,” 6ix9ine’s recent collaboration with Nicki Minaj, is the #1 song on this week’s chart. It’s 6ix9ine’s first #1, which means he has more chart-toppers than Bob Dylan, James Brown, and Bruce Springsteen combined.
“Trollz” came out a week and a half ago, and it’s 6ix9ine’s second single since he was released from prison in April. Last month, his comeback single “Gooba” debuted at #3, and 6ix9ine made a big stink about it. 6ix9ine claimed that Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, whose “Stuck With U” was that week’s #1 single, had bought the top spot on the charts. (Grande was not happy about this.)
“Trollz,” like “Gooba,” is a simple, propulsive track with an extremely colorful video that 6ix9ine shot at home while under home confinement. (In both videos, he shows off the tracking bracelet on his ankle.) Both are powered by the sensationalistic fact of their mere existence, and Nicki’s presence on “Trollz” adds additional frisson to the whole thing. Shortly after the single’s release, Nicki defended her decision to work with 6ix9ine, while 6ix9ine went after her ex Meek Mill.
“Trollz” is the second hit collaboration between Nicki and 6ix9ine; their previous single “Fefe” peaked at #3 two years ago. And now “Trollz” is also Nicki’s second #1 hit. Last month, Nicki scored her first-ever #1 when she jumped on Doja Cat’s “Say So” remix. For many years, a whole subplot in Nicki’s career was her inability to land a #1 single, despite coming close several times. Now, in less than a month, Nicki has topped the big chart twice. Both times, she’s done it by jumping on tracks with colorful, rambunctious, deeply problematic young viral rappers. We should probably expect her to do a whole lot more of that in the near future.
Over this spring and summer, we’ve been seeing a whole lot of turnover at #1 — mostly thanks to many, many noisy superstar collaborations that debut at #1. “Trollz,” the latest in that trend, displaces DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar,” which had been #1 for two weeks previously.