Drake is king of Billboard’s 2018 year-end charts, as the superstar leads the year-end Top Artists ranking, thanks in large part to his Billboard 200-topping album Scorpion and its bevy of hit singles on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart, including the No. 1 Hot 100 song of the year, “God’s Plan.” Drake leads both year-end tallies for the first time.
The 32-year-old rapper-singer is the first rap act to be the overall top artist of the year since 2005 and just the third rap artist to lead the category. Only 50 Cent (in 2005 and 2003) and Nelly (2002) have managed the feat previously.
Billboard’s year-end music recaps are based on chart performance on Billboard’s charts dated Dec. 2, 2017, to Nov. 17, 2018. The year-end Top Artists category ranks the best-performing acts of the year based on activity on the Billboard 200 albums tally and the Billboard Hot 100 songs list, as well as streaming, social media and Billboard Boxscore data. Data registered before or after a title’s chart run is not considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-to-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music.
Toronto-born Drake is also the first Canadian male to be the year’s top artist. The only other Canadian to take home the honor is singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, who was tops in 1996 following the success of her smash album Jagged Little Pill.
Following a male-dominated 2017, where no women ranked in the year-end top 10 overall artists (for the first time since 1984), a trio of leading ladies finish in the top 10 on the Top Artists tally.
This year, the year’s top female artist -- Taylor Swift -- ranks at No. 4 on the overall Top Artists tally. She’s joined by the year’s top new artist, Cardi B, at No. 5 and Camila Cabello at No. 10. Rounding out the six ladies in the top 20: Ariana Grande at No. 14, followed by Dua Lipa (No. 19) and Halsey (No. 20). In 2017, just two women were among the top 20: Grande (No. 15) and Rihanna (No. 19).
Swift tops the year-end Billboard 200 Albums recap with reputation, making her the first act to have the year’s top album with three different releases. She previously did it in 2015 with 1989 and in 2009 with Fearless. (Adele has claimed the year-end No. 1 Billboard 200 album three times as well but with two albums: 25, in 2015, and twice with 21, in 2011 and 2012.)
Swift’s reputation took advantage of the full 2018 chart year, as the set premiered at No. 1 on the weekly Billboard 200 chart dated Dec. 2, 2017 (the first week of the chart year). It spent four weeks at No. 1 and lingered in the top 40 for its first 48 weeks. Behind reputation on the year-end Billboard 200 Albums recap is Drake’s Scorpion. It bowed at No. 1 on the weekly chart dated July 14, 2018, seven months into the chart year, and spent its first five weeks atop the list.
Elsewhere in the top 10 on the year-end Billboard 200 Albums tally, Post Malone claims two titles -- the first time an act has doubled up in the top 10 since 2010, and the first time a hip-hop act has ever achieved the feat. Post Malone’s 2018 release beerbongs & bentleys ranks at No. 3, while his enduring 2016 set Stoney sits at No. 9. Back in 2010, two acts logged two albums in the year-end top 10: Justin Bieber and Swift. The former did so with My World 2.0 (No. 5) and My World (No. 8), while the latter finished with Fearless (No. 7) and Speak Now (No. 9).
On the 2018 year-end Hot 100 Songs roundup, Drake rules with “God’s Plan,” which spent 11 weeks leading the weekly Hot 100 tally. It was the first of three Hot 100 chart-toppers, thus far, from his Scorpion album. Drake followed “God’s Plan” with the No. 1s “Nice for What” and “In My Feelings,” spending a combined 29 weeks at No. 1 -- breaking the record for the most weeks atop the list by an artist in a year. “In My Feelings” and “Nice for What” rank at Nos. 9 and 11 on the year-end Hot 100 tally.