Atlanta-born, Lagos-raised Davido has been a star in his native Nigeria for years now, churning out slinky Afrobeats tunes for the better part of a decade, but it’s taken a while for Stateside listeners to take notice.
Now, the 28-year-old is making serious streaming gains in the U.S., topping Rolling Stone’s Breakthrough 25, a monthly chart that ranks the up-and-coming artists who have seen the biggest gain in audio streams. Davido added nearly 15 million to his monthly on-demand audio streams with the release of A Better Time, his latest album, which features the likes of Lil Baby, Nas and Nicki Minaj and debuted at Number 117 on the RS 200. While Davido had cracked the Artists 500 Chart once before — hitting Number 402 last November after the release of A Good Time — his latest project helped him reach new heights on the Artists 500 chart, climbing to Number 194. Much of the success is due to “FEM” (translation: “shut up”) which has been embraced in Nigeria as a protest anthem in the #EndSARS movement against the Nigerian police force the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Close behind Davido is Mobile, Alabama-born rapper Rylo Rodriguez, a protege of Lil Baby signed to his Four Pockets Full imprint. Rylo enters the Breakthrough 25 Chart at Number Two, adding 14.4 million on-demand audio streams to his monthly tally in November compared to October. That bump is thanks to the release of his debut solo project G.I.H.F., which has helped him reach Number 48 on the daily version of the Artists 500. Considering G.I.H.F was only released Friday, his streams are bound to skyrocket more through December.
Philly rapper Popp Hunna, who’s had viral success with his sticky, melodic “Adderall” — more than 15 million videos have been made with the track on TikTok — makes his debut at Number Three after adding 7.4 million streams to his tally in November. Rounding out the Top Five are indie pop singer Sara Kays, another popular TikTok act (1.3 million followers) whose single “Remember That Night?” has been racking up nearly 2 million weekly audio streams, and TikTok phenom Penelope Scott.
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Drakeo the Ruler
The Rolling Stone Breakthrough 25 chart ranks the artists who are seeing the greatest gains each month in audio streams. It does not include passive listening, such as terrestrial radio or digital radio. Because the chart focuses on newer music, eligible artists must not have not reached the upper ranks of the charts before. Each month, Rolling Stone publishes an official version of the Breakthrough 25 chart, covering the four-week period ending with the previous Thursday.
Other notable debuts include North Carolina rapper Morray Number 10), who found many fans — notably J. Cole — with his debut single “Quicksand;” German singer Zoe Wees (Number 11), whose debut single “Control” is starting to gain traction with U.S. listeners; and Atlanta rapper Bktherula (Number 16), who dropped her sophomore project, Nirvana, in late October.
See the full Breakthrough 25 Chart here.