Top Billboard hits of 2019

Written by:
December 12, 2019
Kevin Winter // Getty Images

Top Billboard hits of 2019

The old saying “music soothes the savage beast” isn’t too far from the truth. Music comforts us and brings people from all walks of life together, floods our brains with the neurotransmitter dopamine to influence feelings of pleasure, brings back memories, and inspires creativity. In short, music gives meaning to our lives on many levels.

Traditionally, the trajectory of a musical artist started by forming a band and moved on to live performances, cutting an album, and hoping for a hit by getting singles played on the radio. Today’s music goes beyond conventional modes of success. Many of the songs that make their way to the charts start on streaming services like SoundCloud or sharing apps like TikTok. Modern artists don’t limit themselves in the ways they get their music out there, and as a result, we have a wider assortment of musical choices than ever before. And no matter how they choose to put their music out to the general public, few milestones are as significant as a track making it onto Billboard Charts, one of music’s most iconic and well-known rating systems.

Billboard magazine, which began in 1894, published its first song sales chart in 1940. Since then, the charts have grown to include the Billboard Hot 100 for singles, Billboard 200 for albums, various charts for specific musical genres, the Artist 100 for individual artists, and charts that track songs on streaming services, radio, and digital.

Billboard uses a hybrid formula made up of Nielsen Music sales data, radio data, and streaming data to rank the tracks. Using that data, Stacker has compiled a comprehensive list of Billboard’s top hit songs of 2019 (data released Dec. 5, 2019). To be considered, tracks had to make it to the charts between Nov. 24, 2018, and Nov. 16, 2019. Any data from before or after this time frame was not included in the forthcoming standings, demonstrating a discrepancy between these rankings and other compilations from Nielsen Music.

From country to pop to rap, these artists have made and continue to make their mark on the charts, which remains one of the most prestigious musical ranking systems in the country. Keep reading to see if any of your favorite songs made it to the top 50 Billboard hits of 2019.

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#50. 'Beautiful People' by Ed Sheeran featuring Khalid

The third single released from Ed Sheeran’s 2019 album “No. 6 Collaborations Project,” “Beautiful People” peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sheeran teamed up with Khalid for the song, and the album also featured artists such as Justin Bieber, Cardi B, and Chance the Rapper.

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#49. 'Mo Bamba' by Sheck Wes

Sheck Wes is said to have recorded his hit single “Mo Bamba” in just 20 minutes, uploading it to the streaming service SoundCloud, where it gained a huge fan base and eventually made its way to Billboard’s Hot 100. Just 16 years old when he made the track, Wes named the song after NBA star Mohammed Bamba, who grew up with him. The song’s popularity netted Wes a deal with Interscope Records, and it appeared on the soundtrack of the movie “The First Purge.”

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#48. 'Lucid Dreams' by Juice WRLD

Another SoundCloud release, “Lucid Dreams” debuted at #74 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and eventually made its way into the top 10. Singer Juice WRLD, otherwise known as Jarad Higgins, said he wrote the song as a way to deal with relationship issues he was having at the time. The singer and rapper went on to release the album “Death Race for Love” in 2019.

Juice WRLD went into cardiac arrest Dec. 8, 2019, following convulsions at a private hangar at Chicago's Midway Airport. His death occurred while federal agents and police officers searched luggage belonging to the artist and his entourage for drugs and guns. Authorities found three guns and 70 pounds of marijuana in their search. Juice WRLD's girlfriend told authorities that he abused drugs, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.

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#47. 'Thotiana' by Blueface

Debuting on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #75 and peaking at #8, rapper Johnathan Porter, who goes by the name Blueface, quickly rose to fame after releasing his song “Thotiana” on SoundCloud. Blueface has also recorded songs with artists such as Drake, The Game, and French Montana.

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#46. 'Beautiful Crazy' by Luke Combs

Country singer Luke Combs had a breakout hit with “Beautiful Crazy,” which debuted at #6 on the Hot 100 and quickly hit #1 on all five of Billboard’s country charts. Combs was also the first country artist to have his first five released singles all hit #1 on Billboard's Country Airplay Chart. He won New Artist of the Year at the 2018 Country Music Association Awards and was nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Male Artist of the Year in 2019.

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#45. 'Pop Out' by Polo G featuring Lil Tjay

A collaboration between rappers Polo G and Lil Tjay, “Pop Out” debuted at #95 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and rose to #9. The single achieved platinum status in 2019, with more than 1 million units sold.

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#44. 'Mia' by Bad Bunny featuring Drake

Sung entirely in Spanish, “Mia,” which means “mine,” might sound like a dance groove, but it’s a romantic love song about a guy and his girl. Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaetón singer Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martinez, collaborated with hip-hop heavy-hitter Drake for this single, which debuted on the Hot 100 at #5.

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#43. 'ME!' by Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie

Taylor Swift can’t seem to lose, and her single “ME!” featuring Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! at the Disco, slid into the Hot 100 at #100 within three days of its release, then jumped to #2 during its second week. The song also broke records with YouTube, Vevo, and Amazon Music as the most-viewed and most-requested song in a single day.

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#42. 'A Lot' by 21 Savage

Born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, rapper 21 Savage’s hit single, “A Lot,” which features artist J. Cole, peaked at #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The album on which the song premieres, “I Am > I Was,” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album charts, while his first album, “Issa Album,” debuted at #2.

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#41. 'Look Back At It' by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie

Peaking at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and enjoying 30+ weeks on the charts, the song “Look Back At It” was written and performed by American artist Da Boogie Wit da Hoodie otherwise known as Julius Dubose. Dubose’s single “Drowning,” which featured artist Kodak Black, was also a hit on the charts, and his album “Hoodie SZN” was his first number one album on the Billboard 200.

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#40. 'Panini' by Lil Nas X

Artist Lil Nas X, legally known as Montero Lamar Hill, got his start with the song “Old Town Road,” which he released via the video-sharing app TikTok and quickly went viral. “Panini” is Hill’s second single, released from his debut EP, “7.” It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Rolling Stone Top 100.

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#39. 'You Need To Calm Down' by Taylor Swift

Swift’s second release from her 2019 album, “Lover,” “You Need to Calm Down” debuted on the Hot 100 at #2. This marked her 79th appearance on the charts and put her in the top 10 for solo artists with the most Billboard placements. It also pushed her up to second place for female artists with the most Hot 100 hits.

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#38. 'Money' by Cardi B

In her first solo release since April 2018, Cardi B released “Money” last October, which peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The New York rapper performed the hit at the Grammy Awards in February, and the song—in which she talks about her wealth and motherhood—birthed a wildly popular music video.

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#37. 'Please Me' by Cardi B & Bruno Mars

Released in February 2019, “Please Me” is Cardi B and Bruno Mars’ second collaboration. The R&B song peaked at #3 (#1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) and is an overt reference to sex on the heels of Valentine’s Day.

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#36. 'Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored' by Ariana Grande

Produced in part by hitmaker Max Martin, “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” is off Ariana Grande’s fifth studio album, “thank u, next,” and reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The message is simple; Grande meets someone at a party and wants him as her own.

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#35. 'Speechless' by Dan + Shay

Country duo Dan + Shay’s “Speechless” tells of a groom’s nonverbal reaction to his bride at their wedding (“‘Cause watching you is all that I can do”). Their first song to reach #1 on the Billboard Country charts, it resonated enough on the airwaves to be performed live at the CMA Awards.

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#34. 'Money In The Grave' by Drake featuring Rick Ross

Toronto superfan Drake had one thing left to do following the Raptors’ first NBA title in 2019: release new music. Assisted by Rick Ross, the Canadian rapper contemplates selfishly being buried with his earnings so others can’t capitalize on his success. The message was clear, and the song reached #1 on the Rhythmic charts.

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#33. 'Youngblood' by 5 Seconds Of Summer

On the title track of 5 Seconds of Summer’s third album, the Australian pop band sings about the pros and cons of relationships—or, literally, about the “give and take” and “push and pull.” The rockers from Down Under reached #1 on Adult Top 40 in America, and their hit was certified 10 times Platinum in their home country.

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#32. 'Better Now' by Post Malone

“Better Now” is Post Malone’s final single from his sophomore studio album, Beerbongs & Bentleys. The trap song, which reached the 78th spot on Rolling Stone’s US 100 list, first on the US Mainstream Top 40, and third on the US Billboard Hot 100, is about a conversation with a former lover at the end of a relationship.

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#31. 'ZEZE' by Kodak Black featuring Travis Scott & Offset

“Zeze” is a single from Kodiak Black, produced just three weeks after being released from jail on multiple charges. The single is a collaboration between Black and fellow rappers Offset and Travis Scott. The song topped Billboard’s US Rhythmic and US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100.

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#30. 'Goodbyes' by Post Malone featuring Young Thug

It is common for Syracuse, New York-born signer Post Malone to sing about relationships and break-ups. “Goodbyes” is no different. A song about moving on after a breakup, “Goodbyes” hit number one on Billboard’s US Rhythmic list and Rolling Stone 100 list.

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#29. 'If I Can't Have You' by Shawn Mendes

A song about an obsession with an ex, fans are convinced that the song “If I Can’t Have You” is about Shawn Mendes’ relationship with Camila Cabello, although it can also be about the now-married Hailey Baldwin. The song hit the top spot on Billboard’s US Adult Top 40 list.

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#28. 'Ran$om' by Lil Tecca

“Ran$om” is Lil Tecca’s first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Topping off at #4 on the list, the teenager’s sophomore single effort also hit number one on the Billboard US Rhythmic list.

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#27. 'Someone You Loved' by Lewis Capaldi

A nominee for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year, “Someone You Loved” is Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi’s third single. Written about his ex, the song took ten months to complete the melodies, in part due to the emotional weight of the material. Capaldi told MTV that the song took on a greater embrace of the sense of loss than just heartbreak.

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#26. 'Drip Too Hard' by Lil Baby & Gunna

Drip Too Hard” is off Lil Baby and Gunna’s collaborative 13-track album, “Drip Harder.” The track peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Various artists have offered varying explanations of what “drip” means in hip-hop; Gunna explained that “drip” refers to fashion, specifically the clothes you wear. The term was used more than 2,000 times in hip-hop dropped in 2018—a 195% climb from 2017, thanks in part to “Drip too Hard” and Cardi B’s “Drip.”

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#25. 'Middle Child' by J. Cole

A snapback against those he felt was disrespecting him—fans and friends alike—J. Cole’s “Middle Child” is a highly personal single. The song’s name came from J. Cole’s belief that he is located somewhere between the old and new generations of hip hop. The single topped Billboard’s US Rhythmic list and took second place on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

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#24. 'Suge' by DaBaby

A nod to Death Row Record founder Suge Knight, Charlotte rapper DaBaby’s “Suge” surged to #7 on the Hot 100. Eventually nominated for two rap Grammys, the song is an undeniable hit, and its accompanying video has nearly 190 million views.

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#23. 'Sweet But Psycho' by Ava Max

American singer Ava Max’s “Sweet but Psycho” is autobiographically both about self-perception and accepted qualities in a relationship. The hit reached #1 in 22 countries and peaked at #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

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#22. 'Girls Like You' by Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

The popular Maroon 5 love song, “Girls Like You,” was remixed with a verse from rapper Cardi B, giving it a second life. The pop smash reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 by September 2018 and won Top Hot 100 Song at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

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#21. 'No Guidance' by Chris Brown featuring Drake

Drake and Chris Brown reconciled their bottle-throwing tension with the release of “No Guidance” in June 2019. The melodic rap/sung hit finds the two discussing a girl who needs no guidance since she’s “got it.” It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

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#20. 'Better' by Khalid

“Better” reached the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart in January 2019 following 10 weeks as #2. The track was released on the “Suncity” EP in 2018 and the 2019 LP “Free Spirit,” which stood for 12 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s weekly chart.

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#19. 'Shallow' by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

“Shallow” took the top spot on Billboard charts on March 4, 2019. The milestone represented Bradley Cooper’s first #1—and Lady Gaga’s first #1 in eight years (since “Born This Way” in 2011). The song’s meteoric rise was directly linked to the 91st Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 24, when Gaga and Cooper performed the song live and the track took home an Oscar for Best Original Song.

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#18. 'Going Bad' by Meek Mill featuring Drake

“Going Bad” peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at #6 on December 15, 2018, and spent 37 weeks on the chart. The track’s significance stems from an ongoing feud between the artists stretching back to July 2015 when Meek threw barbs at Drake via Twitter for, among other things, allegedly not writing his own raps. Much back and forth and several years later, Drake brought Meek onstage in September 2018. “Going Bad” was soon to follow.

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#17. 'Eastside' by Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid

“Eastside,” a song about falling in love, is a combined effort from Benny Blanco, an award-winning record producer, songwriter, and musician, and singers Halsey and Khalid. The song, which peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #9 in January 2019, spent 52 weeks on the charts.

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#16. 'I Don't Care' by Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber

The track is about someone feeling anxious at a party and wanting to leave before their significant other makes the event more tolerable. The Ed Sheeran-Justin Bieber song reached #1 on the Pop Songs Airplay Chart in July 2019. It was Sheeran’s fourth Pop Songs #1.

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#15. 'Senorita' by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello

“Senorita” represents Shawn Mendes’ first #1 track and his second effort with Camila Cabello. The suggestive song chronicles an undefined, confusing relationship in which one partner wishes to be less attached. Cabello and Mendes denied rumors of a romance between them as far back as 2016 before finally coming clean about their coupledom in the summer of 2019.

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#14. 'Dancing With A Stranger' by Sam Smith & Normani

“Dancing With a Stranger” hit #1 on Billboard’s May 18, 2019, Radio Songs airplay chart. Sam Smith and Normani performed the song together live for the first time at 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball 2019 on Dec. 1.

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#13. 'Truth Hurts' by Lizzo

Lizzo’s 2017 “Truth Hurts” broke a new glass ceiling in music history in 2019 when it became the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 #1 by a solo woman rapper. The song—about moving on from an unfulfilling relationship—was re-released in 2019 as a radio single and as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” album.

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#12. 'thank u, next' by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s name-dropping track “thank u, next” about finding fulfillment in herself dropped 30 minutes before an airing of “Saturday Night Live” in which her ex-fiance, Pete Davidson (who is mentioned by name in the song), referenced his relationship with Grande. Grande took to Twitter with a since-deleted tweet. “thank u, next” was Grande’s fourth Billboard 200 #1.

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#11. 'High Hopes' by Panic! At The Disco

“High Hopes” is Panic! At the Disco’s second track to break into Billboard’s top 10 (the first was “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, which peaked at #7 in 2006). The tune is the band’s first to appear on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. “High Hopes” broke records by living for 34 weeks in the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart, only to be unseated by another Panic song called—appropriately enough—”Hey Look Ma, I Made It.”

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#10. 'Sucker' by Jonas Brothers

“Sucker” is the Jonas Brothers’ first single to drop in almost six years. The band hadn’t reached Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart since 2007 and returned with a vengeance: “Sucker” is the first Jonas Brothers tune to reach #1 on that chart.

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#9. 'Sicko Mode' by Travis Scott

“Sicko Mode” marks Travis Scott’s first Hot 100 #1 hit, a feat achieved in the track’s 17th week on Billboard’s charts. The song is as unconventional as it is catchy, lasting five full minutes with three distinct, largely disjointed movements within it that make it an unlikely radio hit, let alone #1. Billboard draws comparisons between Scott’s epic tune and that of Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1974 song “Band on the Run,” which came similarly packaged in three parts and five minutes.

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#8. 'Talk' by Khalid

Khalid’s “Talk” peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in June 2019 and climbed to #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart in July. The track is off Khalid’s sophomore album “Free Spirit,” which was ranked by the Associated Press as one of the top 10 albums of 2019.

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#7. '7 Rings' by Ariana Grande

“7 Rings” is another Ariana Grande track off “thank u, next,” only this time around she’s foregone breakups and is instead singing about being happily single with a life of luxury and excess—from bottles of bubbly to diamonds. In her verses, Grande gives a nod to Julie Andrews’ “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music,” borrowing the medley but replacing the lyrics with lines like “Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines / Buy myself all of my favorite things.”

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#6. 'Happier' by Marshmello & Bastille

The “Happier” collaboration, produced by Marshmello and written by Bastille, was released in August 2019 following a teaser put out on social media to generate buzz. That business model clearly worked: The track set a new record for time spent at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart when it crossed the 34-week threshold.

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#5. 'Wow.' by Post Malone

Post Malone repeated his 2018 year-end performance by once again scoring two singles in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 songs for 2019. He’s the first solo artist and second act to have back-to-back years of top 10 showings since 1958 when Billboard commenced the Hot 100. The first? The Chainsmokers, in 2016 and 2017. “Wow.” makes it to the #5 spot for 2019, and holds the distinction of being the sixth most-streamed song on Apple Music in 2019. The track made it to #2 on Billboard charts twice in 2019, held off from the top slot by Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” on April 6, 2019, and later by Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

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#4. 'Bad Guy' by Billie Eilish

Seventeen-year-old Billie Eilish will go down in history for her track “Bad Guy” breaking Lil Nas X’s 19-week run at the top of the charts with “Old Town Road.” Eilish wrote the tune with her brother, Finneas O’Connell. 2019 has undoubtedly been her year: Besides taking down the record-smashing “Old Town Road,” Eilish has been nominated for six Grammys (including Album of the Year) and collected a reported $25 million from Apple+ to make a documentary about her life.

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#3. 'Without Me' by Halsey

Halsey took home her first American Music Award in November 2019 for “Without Me” in the Favorite Pop/Rock Song category. She took her time at the podium to dedicate the award to her fans. The tune is Halsey’s first #1 single on Billboard’s charts.

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#2. 'Sunflower' by Post Malone & Swae Lee

Post Malone made it to first place on Spotify’s 2019 Most-Streamed List, with 6.5 billion streams. “Sunflower” is the rapper’s second collaboration with Swae Lee and is the second single off “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Malone’s third studio album.

“Sunflower” marks the second collaboration by Post Malone and Swae Lee. It serves as the second single for Post Malone’s 2019 album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, and is part of the soundtrack for the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The track would end up breaking the record for most weeks spent in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart after notching its 45th week.

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#1. 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

Lil Nas X in one year went from a college dropout sleeping on his sister’s couch in October 2018 to a record-breaking chart topper. “Old Town Road,” a genre-transcending track featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, outshone singles from household names like Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, and Justin Bieber and spent 19 weeks at #1. The 20-year-old is officially the youngest male artist to ever hold the #1 spot on the Hot 100 at year’s end.

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