Junior H’s ‘Cruising With Junior H’ Becomes His Second Top 10 on Top Latin Albums Chart

Junior H secures his second top 10 on the Top Latin Albums chart as Cruising With Junior H debuts at No. 9 on the Sept. 19 survey after its first full tracking week of activity. It concurrently soars 11-1 on Regional Mexican Albums, after debuting a week ago from only two days of activity. The set was released on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The album’s 11-1 jump on Regional Mexican Albums is the biggest rise to No. 1 since Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes’ Andamos En El Ruedo also rocketed up the chart 11-1 in Feb. 2017.

“We were celebrating the release of the album when I received the news from manager Jimmy Humilde,” Junior H, tells Billboard. “When I found out the album was top 10 on the overall Latin albums list and No. 1 on Regional Mexican Albums, I couldn’t believe it, it was an unforgettable moment.”

Cruising With Junior H earned 5,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 10  (up 152%), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, mostly stemming from streaming activity. The 12-track set generated 7 million on-demand streams in its first week.

The Mexican’s sophomore album follows Atrapado En Un Sueño, his maiden effort, which arrived at No. 5 on Top Latin Albums just five months ago (April 11-dated list) and holds strong in the top-25 in the current chart in its 24th week.

Unlike his predecessor, Cruising With Junior H, was released via JHRH/Warner Latina, following the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and guitarist’s distribution deal with the label.

“I worked on the production just a month ago before we recorded it in a professional studio,” Junior H continues. “The album was ready, though, a month ago, but it needed its special touch so we decided to hit the studio where we remained four whole days, day after night until we finished it.”

Notably, in addition to Atrapado En Un Sueño, which dips 4-6 on Regional Mexican Album, Junior H also places a third album in the tally’s top 10: Música <3 surges 19-3 in its second week.

Yola Covers Nina Simone’s ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ on ‘Seth Meyers’

Yola summoned Nina Simone’s spirit with her stirring cover of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” on Late Night with Seth Meyers Tuesday night (Sept. 15).

The U.K. country-soul singer performed Simone’s hit-turned-civil rights anthem with a full band at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, where she’ll return to make her headlining debut on May 11, 2021. Tickets for her show are available starting today (Sept. 16) on the Ryman’s website.

“Playing ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ means so much to me. I grew up with that song and it was the first time I felt a song was directed at me, in a world that didn’t represent me in any way,” the Grammy-nominated singer said. “Playing in the Ryman is such an honor; the room sounds exquisite and is full of legendary energy. It felt meaningful singing those words in that venue, and to take up space in that way.”

Yola released her debut album Walk Through Fire in 2019, which earned her one out of four nominations at the 2020 Grammys for best Americana album. She was also up for best new artist.

Watch Yola’s cover performance of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” below.

Stryper Scores First Top Christian Albums No. 1: ‘We’ve Persevered Through It All’

Veteran Christian hard rock band Stryper, which logged its first of 15 appearances on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart in 1984, earns its first No. 1, as Even the Devil Believes blasts in at the summit (on the Sept. 19-dated survey).

The set starts with 10,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week, ending Sept. 10, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

“After 36 years of recording and releasing music, we’re so humbled to have our first album top the chart,” founding member and lead vocalist Michael Sweet tells Billboard. “We’ve worked very hard over the years, but I don’t know if we’ve ever worked harder than we did for Even the Devil Believes. We’ve seen good times and bad times. We’ve persevered through it all, and to finally have a No. 1 makes it all worthwhile. We’re so grateful and thankful for everyone who has helped to make this possible. Here’s to 36 more.”

Stryper first reached Top Christian Albums with The Yellow and Black Attack, which debuted in November 1984 and reached No. 10 the following June, marking the outfit’s first of 11 top 10s.

Even the Devil Believes follows God Damn Evil, which started and peaked at No. 2 on Top Christian Albums in May 2018 with 8,000 units.

A bit of drama surrounded the retail launch of the latter LP, which Walmart refused to sell it due to its title. “It’s confusing to see all the music on Walmart shelves with explicit labels, yet they won’t carry Evil, which is a prayer asking God to condemn evil,” Sweet told Billboard at the time.

Sweet boasts one solo No. 1 on Top Christian Albums, as One Sided War, his seventh solo studio set, opened atop the tally in September 2016.

MORE THAN ‘ALRIGHT’: Tye Tribbett’s “We Gon’ Be Alright” rises 2-1 on Gospel Airplay, up by 11% in plays in the week ending Sept. 13.

Tribbett tallies his second Gospel Airplay leader and first since 2006, when “Victory” began a three-week reign that September. His first entry, “Everything Part l, Part ll,” hit No. 6 in July 2005, awarding him his first of seven career top 10s.

The Neptunes Rule R&B Producers Chart, Thanks to SZA, Monica & Lil Baby

The Neptunes, the production duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Producers chart (dated Sept. 19), leading for the first time on the strength of two production credits on the latest Hot R&B Songs chart.

SZA’s new single “Hit Different,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, which the duo solely produced, bows at No. 3 on Hot R&B Songs with 13.3 million U.S. streams and 6,000 downloads sold in its opening week, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

The Neptunes also solely produced Monica and Lil Baby’s “Trenches,” which rises 14-12 in its second week on Hot R&B Songs.

Williams and Hugo are also both credited as co-songwriters on “Hit Different” and “Trenches.”

The duo has a storied history on Billboard’s charts. The Neptunes first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 as producers with SWV’s “Use Your Heart” in 1996 (No. 22 peak) and have since earned four No. 1s among 16 top 10s:

Artist, Title, Peak Date, Weeks at No. 1
Nelly, “Hot in Herre,” June 29, 2002, seven
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams, “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Dec. 11, 2004, three
Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl,” May 7, 2005, four
Ludacris feat. Pharrell Williams, “Money Maker,” Oct. 28, 2006, two

Individually, Williams has two additional solo No. 1s as a producer on the Hot 100, via Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Williams, in 2013, and Williams’ own single “Happy” in 2014.

As “Hit Different” concurrently debuts at No. 29 on the Hot 100, it earns the Neptunes their first production entry on the chart since Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” in February 2018 (No. 73 peak) and highest-charting hit since Gwen Stefani’s “Wind It Up” in 2006 (No. 6).

The weekly R&B Songwriters and R&B Producers charts are based on total points accrued by a songwriter and producer, respectively, for each attributed song that appears on the Hot R&B Songs chart; As with Billboard’s yearly recaps, multiple writers or producers split points for each song equally (and the dividing of points will lead to occasional ties on rankings).

Check out this week’s full R&B Songwriters and R&B Producers charts, in addition to the other full genre rankings, at Billboard.com/biz.

Meet Courtney, the New ’80s-Inspired American Girl Doll Thanks to The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s new pal isn’t their new bandmate but the first historical American Girl doll in three years. Meet Courtney Moore, a “video-game lover with a totally rad style who dreams to make games of her own,” according to the punk rockers’ Instagram.

Lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle and drummer Gina Schock introduced her to the world on the TODAY Show on Tuesday (Sept. 15). “She’s an ’80s girl, her name is Courtney,” Schock said. “She’s an interesting girl, she’s all about female empowerment, and start when you’re very young. And we’re all for young girls getting out there doing their thing and making a difference in this world.”

Beside playing Pac-Man in the local mall’s arcade, applying her Lip Smackers lip gloss and jamming to her boombox on her shoulder, bass player Kathy Valentine said in a TODAY Parents interview yesterday that there’s a whole lot more to Courtney’s charm.

“I think what (American Girl) wants to do with the Courtney doll is bring attention to what that era was like for women,” Valentine explained. “The feminist movement had come about in the ’60s and ’70s, and in the ’80s you started seeing women in politics more. You saw them going into tech and getting the results of the hard work of the feminist pioneers.”

To complement Courtney’s love of video games and emerging technology — which is lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey’s favorite asset of hers — American Girl will match customer’s donations to Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, from now until Dec. 31. The doll and book company will also provide four Girls Who Code members with a $5,000 scholarship to help further their education in computer science or a related field.

Meet the 1986 doll Courtney below, which is already available for purchase online and in American Girl stores starting next Friday, Sept. 25.

DJ Khaled & Drake’s ‘Popstar’ Powers to No. 1 on Rhythmic Airplay Chart

DJ Khaled’s “Popstar,” featuring Drake, conquers its first Billboard radio chart as it climbs 2-1 to lead the Rhythmic Songs list dated Sept. 19. The frequent collaborators’ latest single ascends through a 6% boost in plays at the format in the week ending Sept. 13.

The coronation gives Khaled his sixth No. 1 on Rhythmic Songs. He first visited the summit thanks to another partnership with Drake, “For Free,” which reigned for three weeks in 2016. The hitmaking producer then followed with “Shining,” featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z (one week, 2017), “I’m The One,” featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne (four weeks, 2017), “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller (eight weeks, 2017) and “No Brainer,” featuring Bieber, Quavo and Chance the Rapper (one week, 2018).

For Drake, “Popstar” secures his unprecedented 29th No. 1 on Rhythmic Songs, the most of any act since the chart began in 1992. Here’s a look at the updated leaderboard:

29, Drake
17, Rihanna
13, Usher
12, Chris Brown
12, Lil Wayne
11, Bruno Mars
10, Beyoncé
10, The Weeknd

Elsewhere in the radio landscape, “Popstar” climbs 9-6 on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay through a 23% surge to 16.8 million in format audience in the week. It also lifts 4-2 on Rap Airplay (gaining 16% in weekly audience) and 30-28 on Pop Songs (up 13% in plays).

Beyond the radio rewards, “Popstar” also earns a boost across several Billboard charts thanks to the infusion of new streams from its official music video, which arrived Sept. 4. In the clip, Drake, unable to cross the U.S.-Canada border amid the COVID-19 pandemic, satisfies Khaled’s incessant requests to film a video by recruiting Justin Bieber, who performs Drake’s vocals.

The clip’s premiere spurs “Popstar” to 19.6 million U.S. streams in the week ending Sept. 10, up 107% from the prior week, prompting a 36-7 surge on the all-genre Streaming Songs chart.

That streaming boost, in turn, sends “Popstar” flying 24-10 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it revisits the top 10 for the first time since debuted at No. 3 on Aug. 1, and 10-6 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

Estrella Media Teams With Sony Music Latin for ‘Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento’ Talent Show

Estrella Media has partnered with Sony Music Latin to produce a special edition of its talent search show Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.

Hosted by Luis Coronel, the new season is set to premiere Sept. 21 on EstrellaTV. It is the first time in the show’s history that EstrellaTV has joined forces with a record label to find the “next big” regional Mexican music band in the U.S.

“We are truly excited about this new collaboration and can’t think of a better music partner than Sony Music Latin,” said Ivan Stoilkovich, executive vp television programming at Estrella Media Inc. “They are one of the leading star makers in Latin music in the U.S. and around the world, and home to some of the top Regional Mexican recording artists, such as the late Jenni Rivera, Joss Favela, Gerardo Ortiz, Rancho y Barrio and our very own host Luis Coronel.”

“We are very happy to team up with EstrellaTV on the special edition of their franchise Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,” added Ruben Leyva, senior vp artists services & premium content, Sony Music Latin. “Music plays a central role in the lives of Hispanics and we are pleased to provide a unique platform for a one of a kind talent competition created for the next generation of musical artists.”

As part of the partnership, Sony Music Latin has been involved with the casting process (auditions are being held remotely due to COVID-19). The five winning contestants will form the new band “and collectively receive a grand prize total of $100,000 from EstrellaTV, as well as the opportunity to obtain an exclusive recording contract with Sony Music Latin,” according to a press release.

Coronel returns as host, with celebrity guest judges joining throughout the season. Returning judges include Chiquis, Ana Bárbara, Pepe Garza and television/radio personality Don Cheto.