There’s a new name atop Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart, but the members involved are very familiar to the genre’s consumers in recent years.
Silk Sonic, a new duo comprised of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, races 21-1 on the list dated March 20 with their debut offering “Leave the Door Open,” after the input of its first week of sales and streams. The single, released March 5, debuted a week prior thanks to strong initial radio play in the week ending Sunday, March 7. (The chart’s sales and streaming tracking week runs Friday- Thursday, while the radio airplay component covers a Monday – Sunday window.)
Thanks to the new champ, Mars collects his third No. 1 on the chart, following “That’s What I Like,” a 20-week leader in 2017 and “Finesse,” his 2018 collaboration with Cardi B that ruled for 12 weeks. Both tracks later were named the year-end No. 1 tracks on the Hot R&B Songs chart in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Singer-rapper Anderson .Paak, meanwhile, scales to new heights with “Door.” His previous best showing among four entries was the No. 19 peak of “Make It Better,” featuring Smokey Robinson, in 2019.
“Door” opened with 23.2 million U.S. streams in the week ending March 11, according to MRC Data. The sum sparks a No. 1 entrance on the R&B Streaming Songs chart and at No. 4 on the all-genre list. Sales, meanwhile, also begin strong, with 28,000 downloads sold in the same period, enabling a No. 1 start on the R&B Digital Song Sales chart and No. 2 on the corresponding all-genre ranking.
As the song’s early debut foretold, radio has latched on to “Door” with haste. In just its second week on the chart (and first full week of radio play), the single rises 16-10 on the Adult R&B Airplay chart and secures the fastest flight into the top 10 since Maxwell also required two frames to reach the tier with “Lake by the Ocean” in 2016.
Similarly, “Door” bursts 35-16 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart after a complete radio tracking week. The move solidifies the artists’ appeal at the format, particularly in the case of Mars, who has sent six of his last seven singles into the chart’s top 10, dating to his featured turn on Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” in 2015.
The explosion, too, puts the artists’ in rare company. Since 2014, the only songs to reach as high as No. 16 in their second week on the 50-position chart have included one or more of Beyonce, Drake or Rihanna. Of course, those acts’ megastar status makes their new music releases almost an event in itself, and one that radio programmers naturally have endorsed.
The last song before “Door” to climb to No. 16 or better in its second frame without one of the three aforementioned stars was Kendrick Lamar’s “i,” which jumped 19-15 in its sophomore week in 2014.
The “Door” debut comes on the heels of Silk Sonic’s maiden live performance at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards on March 14. The duo and their supporting band and background singers performed twice during the telecast, initially with “Door” and later for a tribute to Little Richard, who died in May 2020. Anderson .Paak also scored another highlight during the ceremony, with a win for best melodic rap performance for “Lockdown,” his fourth career Grammy.