‘WAP’ is a verified rainmaker.
The delightfully raunchy hip hop single by rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion racked up 93 million streams in the United States in the week after its release on August 7 — the most ever recorded for an opening seven-day period, according to Nielsen Music, and more than enough for the song to enter Billboard’s Hot 100 at No 1.
With a title initialism too explicit to unfurl here, ‘WAP’ bested the previous first-week streaming record-holder, Ariana Grande’s 2019 ‘7 Rings,’ by about 8 million streams; its total is the 18th highest for any song in any week, Billboard pointed out, on a list topped by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Old Town Road,’ which drew 143 million streams in a single week in April 2019.
On Twitter last week, Cardi said that if the song debuted at No 1, she would “die for a couple seconds and come back to life.”
Cardi B’s fourth No 1 single and Megan Thee Stallion’s second, ‘WAP’ was powered in part by a splashy music video featuring cameos by Normani, Rosalia and Kylie Jenner, the last of whom was criticised by some for siphoning attention for merely sauntering down a hallway. (The video also came in for condemnation by ‘Tiger King’ star Carole Baskin, who took issue with the appearance of several exotic big cats.)
Asked about taking part in such an elaborate production during a pandemic, Cardi told the British magazine i-D that the team responsible for the video spent $100,000 (Dh367,298) on COVID-19 tests.
Yet ‘WAP’ — further scorned by conservative politicians and commentators including Ben Shapiro and California congressional candidate James P. Bradley — wasn’t just a streaming success. With 125,000 downloads, the song also notched the biggest sales week for any song since Taylor Swift’s ‘Me!’ in May 2019.
Cardi and Megan’s collaboration is the fourth female duet to top the Hot 100 in 2020, following Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Say So,’ Megan and Beyonce’s ‘Savage’ and Lady Gaga and Grande’s ‘Rain on Me.’