Music

How Will Shaboozey Follow His Chart-Topping ‘A Bar Song (Tipsy)’ Success?

This week, country singer-songwriter Shaboozey clears the final “Bar” on the Billboard Hot 100 (dated July 13) with his breakout crossover hit.

“A Bar Song (Tipsy),” which heavily interpolates Chingy’s No. 2-peaking 2004 pop-rap smash “Tipsy,” climbs 2-1 in its 12th week on the Hot 100. The single, from Shaboozey’s recently released Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going becomes the second song from a Black artist to top both the Hot 100 and the Hot Country Songs charts in the same week this year — following Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em,” from her Cowboy Carter album, which also features Shaboozey on two separate tracks.

What does the song hitting No. 1 mean for both Shaboozey and for country music? And who could be the next breakout start to reach the Hot 100’s apex for the first time in 2024? Billboard staffers discuss these questions and more below.

1. Shaboozey scores his first Hot 100 No. 1 with “A Bar Song,” in its 12th week on the chart. What do you think was the biggest factor in it making the jump from viral hit to chart-topping crossover smash?

Josh Glicksman: Not a sexy answer here, but it’s more of several factors compounding to push “A Bar Song” into the stratosphere. The song’s twang fits squarely within the ever-present mainstream moment for country music in 2024; Shaboozey’s savvy interpolation of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” plays well with the nostalgia factor that thrives on TikTok (even when the core demographic is probably a touch too young to remember the original in its heyday); and a well-timed radio push has not only kept the hit afloat but helped it get over the hump to No. 1.

Lyndsey Havens: Timing, all around. Shaboozey has had mild success prior to “A Bar Song,” which more importantly points to the fact that he has been building his career prior to “A Bar Song.” He and his team were not only prepared for a viral hit, but also knew how to strategize around it, ensuring the song would sustain beyond a social media spike. Plus, the timing of its release – on the heels of Shaboozey’s features on Beyonce’s Cowboy Carter, and at a time when country music is prevalent in the mainstream, and at the height of summer – has helped boost this smash to the top of the charts.

Jason Lipshutz: “A Bar Song” eventually reached No. 1 because it performed well across platforms and formats. The single has racked up hundreds of millions of streams and has been a mainstay in the top 10 of Spotify’s U.S. top songs chart for weeks on end; meanwhile, “A Bar Song” has also topped charts overseas, reached No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, and hit the top 10 of radio charts like Pop Airplay, Country Airplay, Adult Pop Airplay and Rhythmic. Shaboozey has watched his breakthrough hit’s genre-straddling status unlock new audiences, and transcend its early viral-hit classification to become a multi-quadrant smash.

Melinda Newman: Without a doubt, the Beyoncé bounce. He was already making a nice name for himself as a developing artist, but in the six years since he had released his album debut, he had never charted. There was interest in the new album and music, but his association with Beyoncé poured gasoline on the fire and helped propel “A Bar Song” up many different charts covering several formats.

Andrew Unterberger: Like very few new songs, it’s actually selling! Most contemporary hits have one strong week of sales — if that — and then gently recede from there, but “A Bar Song” has topped Digital Song Sales for eight weeks now, consistently roping in new listeners and new fans. That’s allowed it to stay in range of the Hot 100’s top spot as it’s continued to grow on radio and leveled off (without really dropping off) on streaming.

2. Do you think “A Bar Song” is the start of a long career in hitmaking for Shaboozey, or do you think he’s going to struggle a bit living up to the massive breakout success of first solo chart hit?

Josh Glicksman: There are many instances of artists achieving a breakout hit so massive that it creates a looming shadow, but I don’t think that’s the case here. He’s not coming out of nowhere: late May full-length Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going — which debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 — is already his third album. And between his own tracks, plus features on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter, he has had four other songs reach various Billboard charts this year. He’s not at the level of an automatic top 40 artist yet, but his 2024 achievements should give him some reliable status on the charts for the foreseeable future.

Lyndsey Havens: I’m not sure he will ever have another hit quite like “A Bar Song,” but considering the strength of his latest album, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going, I do think Shaboozey is already close to becoming a household name in this era of country music – and as such, think he should have a long career ahead.  

Jason Lipshutz: Somewhere in the middle — “A Bar Song” is such a singular hit that it’ll be hard to replicate, but Shaboozey has established himself as a true, new-school star, able to turn a throwback rap hit into a forward-looking country sing-along and imbue that anthem with pop hooks and personality. Shaboozey possesses a unique perspective, and sounds comfortable blending sounds; “A Bar Song” may be his only No. 1 hit for a while, but he’s going to be around for a long time.

Melinda Newman: “A Bar Song” is turning into such a multi-format smash that it’s possible this will be his biggest career hit, but he has enough talent to keep building from here. Not every song will necessarily cross format lines, but it feels like this is just the commercial beginning for an artist who had been putting in the groundwork for years.

Andrew Unterberger: The size of “A Bar Song” maybe feels unrepeatable, but it’s hard to imagine a song this big and this good won’t be the start of a pretty meaningful career in country and pop music for Shaboozey. Hell, he even seemed right at home as a rare country performer among a majority of hip-hop and R&B artists at the BET Awards last week. Even if he never hits No. 1 again, I’d be very surprised if this was anywhere near his last time on the Hot 100.

3. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not Black artists in country music would be getting more opportunities as a result of the early-year success of Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album. Does the success of “A Bar Song” demonstrate to you that the Beyoncé Effect is real and demonstrable, or do you think it could still end up being more of a fluke?

Josh Glicksman: I wouldn’t call the song reaching No. 1 a fluke by any stretch whatsoever, but while the Beyoncé Effect is real — very real! — I’m not sure that I’d go so far as to say that it’s demonstrable yet, either. Or, at the very least, the music industry should be cognizant that there is still much work to be done before people should feel ready to pat themselves on the back with regard to giving Black artists in country music the opportunities they’ve long deserved and long been overlooked for within the genre.

Lyndsey Havens: I do think the Beyffect is real, and we are seeing its impact with an artist like Shaboozey — but that said, I also think Shaboozey would be having this moment even without the release of Cowboy Carter. Country music was gaining mainstream attention already, but Carter made sure that the foundational voices in the genre would not be left unheard. And for Shaboozey, I think it works both ways: some were introduced to him through Carter and stayed tuned in for his solo career, while others were attracted to his solo career, only to then discover Beyoncé was “early” on him. Either way, it’s not only a win for Shaboozey but for Black artists in country music as a whole — as he and Bey continue to make history on the charts and set the stage for more record breakers to come.

Jason Lipshutz: The connection between Cowboy Carter and the success of “A Bar Song” cannot be denied, considering how Beyoncé’s latest album introduced Shaboozey to a much wider audience thanks to a pair of features. However, I wouldn’t describe Cowboy Carter as a panacea for the lack of opportunities that Black artists have received in country music prior to this year, or proclaim “A Bar Song” hitting No. 1 as proof positive that those opportunities are finally being given. Artists of color with large and small footprints in the country music community have been gradually enacting change over the course of decades, and while a project like Cowboy Carter or a single like “A Bar Song” scan as important flash points, neither can solve this issue singlehandedly. There’s still a ton of work to do — let’s hope that both chart-toppers help speed up progress.

Melinda Newman: Unfortunately, it still feels more like a fluke. Cowboy Carter is a culturally significant album and one that highlighted the rich role that pioneering Black artists like Linda Martell, who appears on the album, played in country music’s history. But we’re not seeing a huge lift for current artists, and none of the other young Black artists on Cowboy Carter — Willie Jones, Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts or Tiera Kennedy — have seen major radio results or ongoing upticks in streams after the initial burst.

Andrew Unterberger: Yeah, it’s not exactly a dam-bursting moment for Black artists in country music, but I do still think it’s a meaningful one. Even for as much chart success as Bey had with “Texas Hold ‘Em,” she didn’t quite reach escape velocity on country radio — the song peaked at No. 33 there, and nothing else from the album has even gotten near that much airplay. But “A Bar Song” is now a certified country radio smash, flying 12-6 on the chart this week and bursting through the door Beyoncé helped open. Hopefully the next Black country artist with a song as undeniable as “Texas” or “Bar” will have an even easier time being accepted into the Nashville fold, thanks in part to both of them.

4. Between Sabrina Carpenter and Shaboozey, it’s been a pretty good stretch lately for 2024 breakout artists scoring their first No. 1 on the Hot 100. Who’s an artist that’s been rising lately who you could see joining them in that club before year’s end?

Josh Glicksman: It’s hard to bet on anyone other than Chappell Roan, right? Listeners cannot get enough of her right now, sending four tracks from her 2023 debut album, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, to the Hot 100 in addition to her April 2024 single, “Good Luck, Babe!,” which enters the chart’s top 10 for the first time this week. Her star trajectory makes a No. 1 hit seem much more like a “when” than an “if” at this point.

Lyndsey Havens: I’m rooting for Role Model. The alternative artist is gearing up to release his second album Kansas Anymore, and while he has had a taste of the spotlight with prior releases and a past (and public) relationship with Emma Chamberlain, the music on his forthcoming effort marks a new direction. While the songs may not be as fun-filled as “Espresso” or “A Bar Song,” they fall more into the singer-songwriter lane that’s also resonating right now. 

Jason Lipshutz: The logical answer would be Chappell Roan, based on her across-the-board momentum, and one could make the case that Tommy Richman could push his way up to No. 1 with “Million Dollar Baby” after spending weeks in the top 10, similar to what Shaboozey just achieved. But I’ll still go with Noah Kahan, who has turned into an arena-level A-lister, and is still earning tons of plays with “Stick Season” years after its release. If he drops a new single before year’s end, I could see that single reaching the top of the Hot 100, based on how much his profile has expanded over the past 12 months.

Melinda Newman: Chappell Roan. “Good Luck, Babe!” has just entered the Top 10 and it feels like she is going to be the next pop superstar. Like Shaboozey and Sabrina Carpenter, she has been at this game for years (including a previous record deal with Atlantic), so she’s been honing her craft and now her time has come.  

Andrew Unterberger: Chappell Roan and Tommy Richman are probably the leaders in the clubhouse here given their current presence in the top 10, but I’m gonna go with a bit of a longer shot and say Central Cee. He’s been a chart-topping superstar in his home country of the U.K. for some time, and he’s inching ever-closer to being one here too — thanks largely to co-signs from (and collabs with) stateside A-listers like Drake, J. Cole and Lil Baby. Feels like only a matter of time to me until he gets one over the top on the Hot 100.

5. J-Kwon’s “Tipsy”: certified classic, fun throwback, or best left in 2004?

Josh Glicksman: It’s a classic (that also doubles as a throwback). From the moment the crunchy, clapping production kicks in, it’s on. Few people have made simple counting more fun than J-Kwon in the past two decades, and even fewer have made the radio mix of their hits superior to the explicit version. Kudos to you, J-Kwon. 

Lyndsey Havens: Certified classic – and very deserving of the revival.

Jason Lipshutz: Certified classic! Two decades after its release, that beat still makes my head knock when it stomps into view. Mid-00s hip-hop will always have a special spot in my heart, but “Tipsy” still sounds fresh today, even as some of the contemporary hits around it come across as dated. Perhaps that’s why Shaboozey scooped it up and held it high for the world to revisit and appreciate.

Melinda Newman: Total fun throwback. If you’re not old enough to know the original song from 2004, you still can enjoy Shaboozey’s song and if you do, it’s a nostalgic reminder to a time when your double shot of whiskey days were still in full effect

Andrew Unterberger: It’s funny: At the time, I would have been happy to leave it in 2004, since I thought it just sounded like a knock-off Nelly hook laid over a watered-down version of the “Grindin’” beat. But it’s aged much better than I expected — or maybe I’m just less snide about it after a couple of decades (what’s wrong with a knock-off Nelly hook or a watered-down “Grindin’” beat, anyway?) In any event, now I’d say it’s a very fun throwback, and in the right circumstances you could probably talk me into it being a certified classic.

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