The big news in pop music this week was supposed to be the triumphant return of Justin Bieber. Immediately into the new year, timed so that it would hit just after all the Christmas music left the charts, Bieber released his new solo single “Yummy,” a quasi-R&B song about horny marital bliss. Bieber has been a chart leviathan for a while now, but “Yummy” is his first proper solo single in nearly four years. It seemed like a lock to debut at #1. But that didn’t happened. Instead, Billboard now confirms Bieber’s song lost this week’s race to “The Box,” a viral smash from the young rapper Roddy Ricch that isn’t even an official single.
Roddy Ricch, the 21-year-old sing-rapper from Compton, released “The Box” at the beginning of December along with the rest of his official debut album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. “The Box,” the song with a mysteriously catchy ee-urr beat from producer 30 Roc, caught on on its own, becoming meme-bait. Last week — the first week in a month that Christmas songs haven’t choked the Hot 100 — “The Box” had jumped to #3. Today, Billboard reports that “The Box” has landed at #1, keeping Bieber out of the throne. (This week, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial is also #1 on Billboard’s album charts.)
This is the second time in the past year that this has happened to Bieber. Last year, Bieber teamed up with Ed Sheeran on Sheeran’s song “I Don’t Care.” That song also debuted at #2 after falling victim to another viral rap smash. (In that case, it was “Old Town Road.”) Maybe “Yummy” fell short because it’s a boring and flavorless song. But maybe we’re looking at a moment of generational pop-chart change.