Dancehall star Shenseea and Reggae legend Buju Banton both made the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week following their features on Kanye West’s Donda album, which was released on August 29, 2021, on West’s GOOD Music label and Def Jam Recordings.
The songs mark the first Hot 100 chart placements for Shenseea and Buju Banton, who were both given writing credits for their respective tracks on the American rapper’s album. Believe What I Say, which featured vocals from Banton, landed at No. 28, while Pure Souls, with Shenseea and Roddy Rich, landed at No. 52 on the chart.
Shenseea, who was seen at Kanye’s Chicago listening event prior to the album’s release, sang melodiously on the outro of Pure Souls, while Banton gave a prose rendition on Believe What I Say.
The Billboard Hot 100 counts weekly streaming (audio and video), radio airplay and sales data from all genres in the United States. Shenseea was featured on a second song off the album, titled Ok Ok Pt. 2, which did not make the Top 100 but was ranked at No. 56 this week on the Rolling Stone’s Top 100 songs.
According to Billboard, 23 of Donda‘s 27 tracks charted on the Hot 100 this week. The album also debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart after selling an equivalent of 309, 000 units.
Producer Donovan Germain, who produced many of Banton’s reggae hits told DancehallMag “Buju has put in the work over the years and he deserves whatever success he is getting now”. Banton’s previous Billboard successes include his albums Voice Of Jamaica, Unchained Spirit, ’Til Shiloh and Friend For Life, which all debuted on the Billboard 200 chart.
Meanwhile, Shenseea confirmed with DancehallMag that it was Kanye West who reached out to her for the features. “He called and told me to pull up to the studio,” she said. “I am grateful for the insight and the push he has given my career.”
On working with Kanye, she said “he is a workaholic. We’re in the studio and he’s catering to 10 other businesses at the same time. He really is a genius, his brain is always working”.
With a debut album on the horizon, Shenseea added that this achievement has placed her in the spotlight ahead of what’s to come.
Asked whether she will be doing more singing and less rapping given her recent success, Donny “Dizzy Clean Face” Flores, a member of Shenseea’s management team, added “She does it all. She’s the best, everyone will be surprised.”
Pure Souls attracted over 11 million streams, while OK OK Pt 2 grabbed 7.4 million streams on Spotify last week. Both tracks made the platform’s Global Weekly chart at numbers 108 and 50 and Spotify US weekly chart at numbers 22 and 51 respectively.
The Dancehall Princess joins an elite group of female Dancehall artists to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is the first woman to do so in 17 years.
The last female Dancehall artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 was Miss Thing in 2004, who featured on the Dave Kelly-written single Dude by Beenie Man. The song spent 26 weeks on the chart and peaked at No. 26.
Former Queen of Dancehall Lady Saw, now Minister Marion Hall, had a major hit in the United States with Smile (1999), recorded with Vitamin C, which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold with over 500,000 sales.
In 2002, her collaboration with No Doubt, Underneath It All, reached No. 3 in the US and went onto earn a Grammy Award for ‘Best Performance by a Duo or Group, and a Gold certification in the US for over 500,000 copies sold.
In 1997, Chevelle Franklyn also charted at No. 90 on the Hot 100 with Beenie Man on the title track from the Dancehall Queen movie.
Queen of the Pack Patra, who also carries the title of Female Dancehall Artist With The Most Billboard Hits, made her mark in the early 90s with Romantic Call which peaked at number 55, Family Affair with Shabba Ranks off the Adam’s Family soundtrack peaked at No. 84, Worker Man peaked at No. 53, Pull Up To My Bumber at 60 and Scent Of Attraction with Aaron Hall peaked at No. 82.