Will Rod Wave’s ‘Nostalgia’ Beat Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Guts’ for No. 1? – Billboard

Will Rod Wave’s ‘Nostalgia’ Beat Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Guts’ for No. 1? – Billboard

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The Contenders is a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming charts dated Sept. 23), one of rap’s most self-contained stars aims for his third straight No. 1 on the Billboard 200 – though one of the summer’s biggest new releases still stands in his way.  

Rod Wave, Nostalgia (Alamo): Florida singer-rapper Rod Wave continues to quietly build his case as one of the most consistently successful artists in popular music. Without any major breakout Hot 100 hits – he’s reached the top 30 seven times to date, but still never the top 10 – Wave has nonetheless hit the Billboard 200’s top 10 with each of his five official sets so far, and topped the chart with his last two albums: 2021’s SoulFly and 2022’s Beautiful Mind.  

Two of those top 30 Billboard Hot 100 hits (the No. 16-peaking “Fight the Feeling” and the No. 26-debuting “Call Your Friends”) arrived in advance of his new LP, Nostalgia, which was released on Friday (Sept. 15). As has traditionally been the case with Wave’s albums, the 18-track Nostalgia is relatively short on big-name features – though he does get one major lift from guest rapper 21 Savage on “Turks & Caicos.”  

The album’s performance will rely solely on its digital performance, as it is not yet available for any kind of physical purchase. However, Wave has been regularly dominant on streaming since his breakthrough at the end of the 2010s, and Nostalgia appears to be no exception so far — five days after its release, the album still claims 15 of the top 18 spots on Apple Music’s real-time chart. It’ll need robust numbers to get by Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts in its second week, though: The 302,000 units that album debuts with on this week’s Billboard 200 was the year’s fourth-biggest total so far, and the set remains strong in streams and sales.  

Mitski, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We (Dead Oceans): Indie darling Mitski made a huge jump into the mainstream at the beginning of the decade, becoming a massive favorite on TikTok over the pandemic and cashing in on her newfound visibility with a top five Billboard 200 debut for her Laurel Hell album in early 2022. She looks to keep that momentum going with this month’s The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, which is available in four vinyl variants (as well as on cassette and CD), and which eschews the sparkling synth-pop of its predecessor’s singles for the dustier singer-songwriter balladry of some of its deeper cuts. It’s already paid off with one breakout hit: “My Love Mine All Mine” climbs to a new high of No. 50 on Spotify’s Daily Top Songs USA chart today.  

Dan + Shay, Bigger Houses (Warner Bros. Nashville): After nearly breaking up following their tour in support of 2021’s Good Things, the hitmaking country duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney make a big return this week with their Bigger Houses album. The set, released in five variants on vinyl and two on CD (with signed copies available in both formats), should sell well – but it might not be as big a performer on streaming as past sets, since none of the advance songs have really taken off there yet (“Save Me the Trouble” has been the highest Hot 100-charter so far, at a modest No. 84.). The duo has a streak to protect with Houses: Each of their four full-lengths to date have reached the Billboard 200’s top 10. 

IN THE MIX 

Diddy, The Love Album: Off the Grid (Love/Motown): Diddy’s long-awaited Love Album is his first solo release in 17 years, and his first major release of any kind since 2010’s cult classic Last Train to Paris set as part of Diddy – Dirty Money. The new album has no advance hits to support it, but it does have volume on its side: both with its length (23 tracks) and a robust guest list that includes such big-name guests as The Weeknd, 21 Savage, Justin Bieber, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, Swae Lee, Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker and Babyface.  

Sleepy Hallow, Boy Meets World (Winners Circle/RCA): Two years after hitting the Billboard 200’s top 20 with debut album Still Sleep?, New York rapper Sleepy Hallow returns with sophomore set Boy Meets World. The set includes a handful of the one-offs he’s released over those two years (like 2022 Hot 100 hit “Die Young”), as well as new collabs with hitmakers Fivio Foreign and Doechii – the latter on “Anxiety,” which has already found some early success on TikTok.  

Thirty Seconds to Mars, It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day (Concord): One of the biggest rock bands of the late ‘00s and early ‘10s, the Jared Leto-led 30STM scored their best Billboard 200 debut in 2018, with their America album. That set finally gets its follow-up this month with the more pop- and electronic-influenced It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day, with 13 separate vinyl variants available to attract the kind of sales that powered America’s debut. Beautiful Day won’t have the advantage its predecessor did of being able to count concert ticket/album sale redemption offers towards its final tally, though, with such bundles being removed from BB200 calculations in July 2020.  

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