The great battle for the top of the charts continues, after a week that saw Cardi B’s No. 2 hit “Bodak Yellow” surge in sales as her fans try to push her to the No. 1 spot. If “Bodak” were to hit No. 1, she would become the first solo female rapper to do so in 18 years. The last woman to top the charts with a rap-based single was Lauryn Hill in 1998.
And while Cardi has been gracious in competition, telling fans that she “loves” Taylor Swift, it would appear that Swift — or her label leadership — is unwilling to relinquish the top spot so easily. Her chart-topping single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” was discounted today, a move seen by some as a bid to drive more sales and put a little distance between “Look” and “Bodak Yellow.”
After all, a significant portion of Taylor Swift’s pop appeal is based on the idea that she is a perennial chart-topper — success begets success, etc. — so to lose out the spot to a newcomer, and a rapper at that, is probably an unappealing idea to some in her camp. History would be made, sure, but many folks with public images to maintain have egos to protect as well. No one wants to be associated with the “first loser”; in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
Of course, for now, this is all speculation, and good luck finding anyone on either artist’s management teams who would be willing to cop to this reasoning behind the strategy.