Why Folks Are Complaining About Lil Wayne Breaking Elvis' Record - And Why They're Wrong

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By Chaz Kangas

Last week, rapper Lil Wayne added to his already-quite-substantial legacy by breaking Elvis Presley's record for most songs on the Hot 100 charts by a solo artist. Immediately, however, many began squawking that this record deserved an asterisk, a la Roger Maris' 61 home runs.

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Wayne's feature on The Game's "Celebration" was the 109th time Weezy has charted; pretty impressive, especially considering that while Wayne just turned 30. Elvis had his 108th hit 26 years after his death. The trolls who find the Martian's name not worthy of mention in the same sentence as the King had a field day, but even Billboard's piece on the record felt the need to undercut Wayne's achievement by pointing out, of his charting songs, he's the lead on less than half.

Weezy has been the lead artist on 42 - or only 39% - of his Hot 100 hits, showing as a featured act on his other 67. Presley was billed as the lead artist on all 108 of his chart hits.

While this is true, let's consider some context. For starters, the music industry was an entirely different place during Elvis' heyday. Artists didn't openly collaborate as much, whereas Wayne (and many other rappers) have been extremely prolific; he appeared on over 70 songs from other people in 2007 alone.

But that doesn't mean they were forgettable cameos. In fact, even as a guest appearance, he's often the song's main draw. With all due respect to Playaz Circle, "Duffle Bag Boy" was able to find such an audience because Wayne contributed a monster hook.

Still, if you insist on disqualifying the songs where Wayne wasn't the lead, it would only be fair to also remove the Elvis songs that Presley himself didn't write, right? That would certainly knock him down many pegs. After all, of his 37 Top Ten hits, he only had writing credits on four, all of which were shared.

This isn't the first time Elvis being overthrown has caused an uproar. Last decade, Mariah Carey broke his record for most number one hits, and Madonna passed him for most songs in the top ten. Again, the Presley defenders had pointed questions: Should his singles where both sides were hits should count as one single or two? Also, what about his signature hits that predated the Hot 100?


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6 comments
SuspiciousMind
SuspiciousMind

Idiotic comparison, Wayne is a nobody compared to Presley. Forget top 100, let's look at TOTAL sales, and I'm not saying just the RIAA Albums, check all the RIAA Albums + Singles. Only Elvis and The Beatles would have exceeded 250 million in the USA alone, no other artist would even come close except Garth Brooks.

 

The top 100 is useless, Lil Wayne is guaranteed to keep charting there, what actually matters are total sales because that's actually what counts over a long period of time. Once Lil Wayne dies, I predict there'll be a small spike in sales and then it will tail off. Elvis' sales legacy hasn't done that, he's one of the few that probably spiked, kept going and kept spiking here and there.

lsp2231
lsp2231

Mr. Kangaz, your argument that Elvis did not write his songs is irrelevant in this debate. The Hot 100 is not a songwriters' chart list. Elvis was the lead singer on all of his 108 Hot 100 entries, and that's what counts more than just saying a few words on somebody else's recording. Also, Elvis and his band recorded live in the studio - so the entire recording process involved Elvis from start to finish. The instrumentalists and Elvis all had to get it right at the same time to record a perfect take. That's more of an achievement than just mixing in a few words in my opinion. Also, Elvis had 31 Billboard chart entries prior to the Hot 100 inception. Finally, Elvis had more no. 1, top ten and top 20 hits than Lil Wayne. That's just for the U.S. None of my friends here in Europe have ever heard of Lil Wayne.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

ps what a stupid picture

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

thanks for the context that the music industry was different during Elvis' heyday.

here's another context, lil wayne and mariah will long be forgotten and Elvis will always be the King.

LisaluvsElvis
LisaluvsElvis

@ElvisPresleynew people are complaining because Elvis & Lil Wayne are incomparable & shouldnt be mentioned in the same sentence 2gether!:D

rjasonbonner
rjasonbonner

What about album sales? Seems like all sorts of records are being broken, looks like there is only a small demographic who actually purchase albums. How else would you explain all the recent Number One charting positions of Bob Dylan albums.

 

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