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1 TRENDING TOPIC: COLUMBIA X 3

Presenting a brand-new HITS feature you never asked for, which focuses on a single key development in the biz. As usual, we apologize in advance.

It’s worth noting, as the majors continue to locate and break hit records in the new ecosystem, that Ron Perry’s Columbia has broken three acts. What do we mean by “broken?” The answer isn’t entirely quantitative; it’s also qualitative, our sense that the perception of the act is bigger than any single project.

The first was Lil Nas X, who came out of nowhere with the biggest record on earth, “Old Town Road” (now the most-certified record in history, per the RIAA). Next came a second hit, “Panini,” along with a slew of Grammy noms (and two wins) for “Road.” EP 7 is now nearing 2.4m. This year, Lil Nas came roaring back with the personal, provocative “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” which flew to #1 at Spotify U.S. and the Top 10 at Apple Music and earned a billion YouTube views; it’s now at 541k in song activity. The song and controversial video found the artist revealing more of himself, clearly inspiring many in the LGBTQ+ community. We get the feeling Lil Nas is just getting started.

Similarly, the initial breakout of Polo G has turned into consistent success and that rare young rapper who can toggle easily between street tracks and melodic, radio-friendly singles. His debut set, Die a Legend, instantly established him as both album artist and storyteller. Much fanfare then greeted 2020 album The Goat (now at 1.3m+), which hit #2 on our chart; that set gave heft and context to the Chicago rapper’s powerful personal story. His latest, “RAPSTAR,” has usurped the #1 position at Spotify U.S. from “MONTERO,” and the cut debuted at #3 worldwide; it also sits at #1 on Apple Music and is a strong contender for #1 in song activity this week. Meanwhile, Rod Wave's "Richer," on which he's featured, is #3. Thanks to social-media saturation (he boasts 7.2m Instagram followers) and TikTok, “RAPSTAR” got a big launch that underscored how Polo G's profile has grown.

Aussie rapper/singer/songwriter and Juice WRLD protégé The Kid LAROI is just 17 but has already scored with a mixtape and album (F*UCK LOVE, which lingers in the Top 20 and is now at 867k in activity) and multiple tracks, including “So Done” (189m Spotify U.S. streams), “Go” f/Juice WRLD (228m Spot U.S.) and current streamer “Without You” (351m). Meanwhile, he’s getting a huge look as a feature on Justin Bieber’s “Unstable” (from the latter’s giant new set, Justice). Like late mentor Juice or Post Malone, LAROI is steeped in hip-hop but tailor-made for pop success.

We are convinced that these three artists will continue to make big noise; stay tuned.

Next 1: Doja Cat.

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