Two weeks ago, the late DMX landed five songs on the Billboard Global 200 and one on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, marking the first rap songs released before 2010 to hit either survey.
When it rains, it pours. After it took seven months from the charts’ launch for classic hip-hop to impact the global charts, three rap songs from the same era debut on the latest, May 8-dated lists: Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” featuring L.V., from 1995, and Eminem’s “Without Me” (2002) enter the Global Excl. U.S. chart at Nos. 185 and 193, respectively, while the latter’s “Lose Yourself” (2002) lands on the Global 200 at No. 174.
While DMX’s chart entries surged in sales and streams following his passing, these three debuts by Coolio and Eminem inch onto the surveys after bubbling under for months. “Gangsta’s Paradise” is up 4% in both sales and streams (to 8.5 million) outside the U.S. in the week ending April 29, while “Without Me” climbs 1% in streams (8.1 million) and dipping by 5% in international sales, according to MRC Data.
“Lose Yourself,” while also having earned steady streams and sales in prior weeks, got an extra new boost. The song was discounted to 69 cents on iTunes as part of a Soundtrack Hits spotlight accompanying the April 25 Academy Awards. Having won the best original song Oscar in 2003, the 8 Mile track sold 8,000 downloads worldwide, up 390% from the previous week, while remaining relatively steady in streams, down 2% to 7.1 million. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” the lone other Oscar winner on this week’s Global 200, also benefited from the iTunes sale, up 124% in worldwide downloads.
Largely because of this special discount tied to the America-centric Academy Awards, “Lose Yourself” debuts on the Global 200 but not the Global Excl. U.S. chart; 92% of its sales are in the U.S., compared to the week’s average of 55%. Conversely, “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Without Me” launch on the Global Excl. U.S. chart but not the Global 200, earning 77% and 74% of their worldwide streams from outside the U.S., respectively, approximating the week’s average of 75%.
These sturdy international totals contrast with what we have seen for hip-hop songs on the global charts, as contemporary hits by Cardi B, Drake and many others have significantly over-indexed in the U.S. week after week. This week, eight of the 10 songs with the highest share of U.S. streams are R&B/hip-hop.
The more balanced international lean for Coolio and Eminem may indicate that older, broadly recognizable rap songs can behave more like classic pop and rock hits, while modern Gen Z-friendly hip-hop continues to overperform domestically.
An iconic hook doesn’t hurt either. “Gangsta’s Paradise” interpolates the evergreen chorus of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise,” while “Without Me” sees Eminem slip into a reliably comic sing-songy tone for its central refrain. This pattern continues throughout a handful of Eminem’s other top-streaming songs, separating his more pop-friendly hits from his more hip-hop-centric songs. The similarly hooky “The Real Slim Shady” and “Love the Way You Lie,” featuring pop-R&B-dance(hall) star Rihanna, boast high non-U.S. streaming shares, while “Godzilla,” featuring Juice WRLD, and “‘Till I Collapse,” featuring Nate Dogg, score higher U.S. shares, closer to the average performance for contemporary rap songs on the global charts.