Metro Weekly

LGBTQ Artists Invade The Billboard Charts With New Smash Hits

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X

On the latest edition of the Hot 100, Billboard‘s weekly ranking of the 100 most-consumed songs in the U.S., nine tracks debut. That’s not out of the ordinary, as some level of refreshing is common every frame, but this time around, it’s not the number of tunes that appear on the tally, but rather the artists behind the biggest ones that’s worth pointing out.

The three highest-ranking debuts on this week’s Hot 100 are all by (or featuring) musicians who identify as members of the LGBTQ community. Four different talents break onto the ranking once again (with one doing so for the first time), proving that not only can gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender artists find audicnes, but they can score huge hits and appeal to the masses in ways that couldn’t be imagined just a few years ago.

Here’s a quick rundown of the LGBTQ artists who debut on the Hot 100 this week.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith

Sam Smith is no stranger to the highest reaches of the Hot 100 (their biggest smash, “Stay With Me,” peaked at No. 2), and now they’re back with another major hit. The British superstar returns to the upper tier on the tally with “Unholy,” the second single from their as-yet-untitled forthcoming album. The track opens at No. 3, giving the nonbinary crooner their first top 10 since 2019’s “Dancing with a Stranger” with Normani.

Kim Petras

Speaking of “Unholy,” Smith doesn’t celebrate this win alone. Joining the Grammy and Oscar winner on the electro track is rising pop singer-songwriter Kim Petras, who scores not only her first Hot 100 placement, but her first top 10 smash with the collaboration. Petras may very well be the first trans woman to reach the top field on the highly competitive chart, and her presence shows that her moment has arrived.

Cardi B

Rap superstar Cardi B is back with yet another hit, as she and fellow female hip-hop talent GloRilla start their joint effort “Tomorrow 2” at No. 9, proving that the song is a major win upon its arrival. While some may have doubted her sexuality, the Grammy-winning rapper has constantly reminded the world that she is not straight.

In 2021, she quote-tweeted Rolling Stone and stated, “I’m married to a man but I have express [sic] soo much about my bisexuality and my experiences wit girls.” More recently, in September 2022, after another Twitter user called Cardi out for queerbaiting, the chart-topper commented, “I ate bitches out before you was born.”

“Tomorrow 2” is GloRilla’s first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 and Cardi’s eleventh.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X is currently in between album cycles, but that doesn’t mean he’s remaining quiet. As he tours the country, he also recently doled out a new single, and it didn’t take long before it became another win for the hip-hop/pop mega star. “Star Walkin’ (League Of Legends Worlds Anthem)” (yes, that’s the full official title, as it was written for a video game competition) debuts at No. 32 on this week’s Hot 100, standing out as the third-highest start of the frame. Where the cut goes from here is anyone’s guess, and it’s not clear if he’ll be properly promoting the title or if it will largely disappear, but it is already a top 40 hit, and that’s a threshold that most artists aim for.

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