This feature was originally published on April 1, 2013.
Rappers can have platinum albums, clothing lines, stock in sports teams, and expensive jewelry, but rarely do hip-hop artists score a No. 1 hit on the almighty Billboard Hot 100 chart. To put things into perspective: Megastar Jay-Z has one No. 1 record—and didn't come until the tail-end of his career, with "Empire State of Mind."
Captivating an entire nation of 300 million citizens is more daunting than many assume, and often times when rappers do score massive hits, they're still kept out of the No. 1 spot by a record with just a bit more mainstream appeal. Of the hundreds of songs to top the pop charts, only 61 can claim hip-hop as their genre, and even that distinction is occasionally skewed.
Over the past five years, artists like LMFAO, Flo Rida, and Pitbull have blurred the lines of acceptability, but when it comes to topping the Hot 100, we'll take what we can get. At the end of the day, these guys are rapping. What we can't count are No. 1 records like Blondie's "Rapture," which, despite its historical significance, does not feature rapping as its core vocal element.
With those ramifications in mind, here's a look at Every No. 1 Rap Song in Hot 100 History. You might learn something about the reality of America's musical climate in the process.