SZA’s ‘SOS’ Sinks The Competition While ‘Kill Bill’ Is Top Song on Year-End R&B/Hip-Hop Charts

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In hindsight, when SZA signaled the release of her SOS album, it was less a distress signal and more a warning shot – go up against this blockbuster, and you’re the one in trouble.


Such it is that SZA caps a dominant year with top honors on the 2023 Billboard year-end R&B/hip-hop recaps, including her first No. 1 finish on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists ranking. With her victory as the genre’s top performer during the chart year (as measured by activity weekly charts dated Nov. 19, 2022 – Oct. 21, 2023), SZA ends an eight-year run of male acts atop the list, becoming the first woman to take the annual crown since Beyoncé in 2014.

Record-breaking achievements on both the genre’s primary albums and songs charts power SZA’s triumph. While the five-year anticipation for her sophomore full-length album, SOS, was always likely to garner big results, the set evolved from instant hit to full-on powerhouse. Its 22-week run at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart demolished several records, including the longest-running champ by a female artist and the most weeks atop the chart for any project since 1990. Thanks to that historic performance, SOS docks at No. 1 on the 2023 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums review.

In addition to top artist and top album honors, SZA completes the hat-trick with the No. 1 year-end title on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, “Kill Bill.” The fan-favorite SOS track joined the history books, breaking the record for the song with the most weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with an unprecedented 21-week siege. With gold medals for herself, SOS and “Kill Bill,” SZA becomes the first act to top all three major year-end R&B/hip-hop rankings since Drake in 2018. The top artist that year, he also walked off with the No. 1 album, Scorpion, and No. 1 song, “God’s Plan.”

Explore All of Billboard’s 2023 Year-End Charts

While “Kill Bill” lead the way, SZA scored additional SOS hits with hits such as “Snooze” and “Shirt,” which nab the No. 4 and No. 16 spots on the year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Thanks to her co-writing credits on those and all other SOS tunes, SZA also earns the No. 1 rank on the year’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songwriters list.

Behind SZA, Drake closes 2023 as the year’s No. 2 act on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists chart. The superstar was the two-time defending champ and had ruled the ranking for a record seven total years. Despite the slip to second place in the overall standings, he heads the recap for the year’s Top Male R&B/Hip-Hop Artists for a third consecutive year.

Much of the 6 God’s activity stems from Her Loss, his 2022 collaborative album with 21 Savage, that comes in at No. 2 on the year’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums rankings. The set’s biggest single, “Rich Flex,” finishes at No. 5 on the annual Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs survey, spurred by a four-week command of the weekly chart in November – December 2022. In addition to Her Loss, Drake’s station as one of the top streaming artists is on display on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums list, with four LPs in the chart’s top 20 (Her Loss – No. 2, Certified Lover Boy – No. 9, take Care – No. 18, Scorpion – No. 19), double the amount of any other act.

Behind SOS and Her Loss, Metro Boomin’s Heroes & Villains takes third place on the 2023 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums standing. The album marked the super producer’s third (of four) straight No. 1 projects on the weekly chart and launched the smash single “Creepin’” with The Weeknd and 21 Savage. The tune, an updated remake of sorts of Mario Winans’ 2004 hit, “I Don’t Wanna Know,” with P. Diddy and Enya, debuted at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and spent its first 34 weeks on the chart in the top 10. Thanks to that longevity, the tune wins the No. 2 spot on the year’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs leaderboard. Furthermore, with the runaway “Creepin’” success and more charted hits from Heroes & Villains, Metro Boomin takes the prize for the No. 1 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Producer. It gives the hitmaker his first year-end title, having previously finished as high as No. 2 in 2017.

In addition to the previously named champs, here’s a further look at some of Billboard’s key 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop No. 1s:

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist: SZA

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist – Female: SZA

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist – Male: Drake

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist – New: Ice Spice

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Label: Republic Records

Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album: SOS – SZA

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: “Kill Bill” – SZA

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Writer: SZA

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Producer: Metro Boomin

R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Song: “Free Mind” – Tems

R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales: “Cuff It” – Beyoncé

R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs: “Kill Bill” – SZA

Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay: “Under the Influence” – Chris Brown

Adult R&B Airplay: “Free Mind” – Tems

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts from Nov. 19, 2022, through Oct. 21, 2023. Rankings for Luminate-based recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology detail, and the November-October time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Luminate.

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