If ever a single was set up to debut at No. 1, it was Drake‘s “Toosie Slide”: A new pop single from the most dominant hitmaker of the last half-decade, with a built-in dance craze, launched on the current day’s most viral-friendly platform.
And sure enough, “Toosie” didn’t disappoint, bowing at No. 1 on this week’s Hot 100. It’s Drake’s third No. 1 to begin on top — following “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” in 2018 — and his seventh No. 1 overall, tying him with frequent co-star Rihanna as the artist with the most leaders on the chart since he notched his first in Nov. 2010.
What kind of legs does the “Toosie Slide” have? And what do we even think about a dance crazy song released when the whole world is on lockdown? Billboard staffers discuss these questions and more below.
1. Another new single, another No. 1 debut for Drake — his third since early 2018. Does “Toosie Slide” bowing on top say more to the credit of the song, or more to Drake’s status as a bulletproof hitmaker?
Josh Glicksman: As my colleague Trevor Anderson noted a few weeks ago in a prior edition of Five Burning Questions, “a fully conscious Drake and TikTok combo will be the most fearsome fusion since Goku [and] Vegeta.” I’m not sure that I’m ready to go there yet, but it’s hard to argue that Drake nabbing a massive debut for “Toosie Slide” was anything short of an inevitability. I’d still push back on the idea that he’s got more slaps than The Beatles, but he has the most Hot 100 entries in chart history for a reason. To be fair, I think “Toosie Slide” is better than it’s getting credit for, but I doubt a run-of-the-mill artist would be shooting straight to the top with a similar effort.
Carl Lamarre: The second one. Drake is what I call a Bad Boy Supreme. For over a decade, he’s solidified himself as a perennial hitmaker. He’s proven to be Chef Curry with the pot because he’s a marksman in the arena of bangers. “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” and “Toosie Slide” are sonically distinct with different topics, but each debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100. That’s pretty impressive.
Jason Lipshutz: No offense to “Toosie Slide,” but Drake could have dropped a three-minute telephone book reading and guided it to the top of the Hot 100. That’s how singular Drake’s power currently is as a popular artist: whenever he deems it time to drop an official new single, that single has a good shot at immediately becoming the biggest song in the country. That won’t always be a case, but as has been the case for years, that Drizzy reign just won’t let up.
Andrew Unterberger: It’s probably more about Drake, but it’s telling that he hedged his bets this much with the viral-baiting “Toosie Slide”: Lest we forget, when the man first debuted on top (with “God’s Plan” a couple years ago), it was with a song with no real chorus or hook that a lot of us thought was a glorified album cut on first listen. After a year-plus of loosies, one-offs and features not really getting Drake the chart buzz he’s accustomed to — with radio-conquering Chris Brown collab “No Guidance” a historic exception — it’s not surprising that he’s not screwing around with his big comeback.
2. How do you feel about the timing and logistics about releasing a dance single while the outside world is essentially closed for business? Wise, unwise, or TBD?
Josh Glicksman: TBD, I guess? I don’t feel particularly strong one way or another about it. If the song has legs, there will be no shortage of people ready to “right foot up, left foot slide” when the time calls for it. And if we’re going to talk about dance singles released at an unfortunate time, let’s talk about Dua Lipa instead. I’ve spent countless hours staring out the window wondering when I’ll be able to give Future Nostalgia the praise it deserves out on the dance floor. In the meantime, I suppose the socially isolated dance parties will have to suffice.
Carl Lamarre: Wise. We legit don’t have anything else to do, so why not learn a new dance during quarantine? If anything, we’ve witnessed the resurgence of Wiz Khalifa’s grossly underrated “Something New,” courtesy of an original dance, and active stay-at-home order. We’ve also watched Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” rocket 70 spots last month because her Savage Challenge dominated social media. Dance challenges are ubiquitous inside or outside the crib, but it’s thriving now because we’re looking for ways to stay engaged. So why not dance?
Jason Lipshutz: Maybe it’s actually smarter to release a dance single that you can perform by yourself now, instead of a song that begs to be played in a group setting or club? TikTok is thriving because the movements it popularizes can be performed by teens in living rooms and bedrooms, and “Toosie Slide” is essentially a mash note to the platform. Kudos to Drake for knowing whatthe world needs now: a slightly moody dance smash that discourages any sort of gathering.
Andrew Unterberger: Wise. Mostly, it seems to be confirmation that the days of the primary forum for dance crazes actually being the dance floor are now firmly in the past — and probably have been for years, if not decades, already.
3. Not like Drake is gonna be competing for any choreography awards anytime soon, but on a scale from 1-10, how do you rate the Toosie Slide itself as a dance craze?
Josh Glicksman: 4. My main gripe with the Toosie Slide is that it apparently ultimately doesn’t matter what you do. Right foot up, left foot slide is always a solid starting spot. Then left foot up, right foot slide. Sure, balance is good, too. But if you’re going to say afterward “basically, I’m saying either way we ‘bout to slide,” then what’s the point? I’m sliding either way? Give me a little say in the matter, Drizzy. That said, I’d absolutely be lying if I said I won’t be hitting those two steps in stride the first time I hear it while out — and you would be, too. I just wish there were a few more instructions to lead us into a freestyle space. That’s where the real stars shine.
Carl Lamarre: I’ll say 4, because he used MJ’s dance moves as the framework for “Toosie.” Also, we have to remember what Shiggy spawned with the In My Feelings Challenge. That was a game-changer in terms of dance challenges and virality, and in contrast to “Toosie’s” flimsy four, “IMF” stands high and mighty with a perfect 10 in my books.
Jason Lipshutz: I give it an admirable 7! A common misconception about dance crazes — if there are even common conceptions about dance crazes? — is that they have to be challenging, or even unique. The Toosie Slide’s kick-slide motion is easy and instantly memorable, as it should be for mass consumption. I knock a few points off because I’d prefer a dance craze that can be performed throughout the entirety of a song, not just during its chorus. But hey, maybe this is a learning experience for Drake, and he goes full-on “Cha Cha Slide” with his next effort.
Andrew Unterberger: I also say 7. I like a dance that has a simple framework, but also allows a little room for individual freestyling — as the “basically I’m saying” part permits, even if it does still sound a little like a Lyric TK note. Compared to his old foe Soulja Boy’s signature dance, it’s a lot less captivating, but a lot more accessible.
4. On his last album cycle, Drake had three separate No. 1s that reigned for at least eight weeks. Do you see “Toosie Slide” having similar legs, or do you think it’ll fall once the viral excitement over it starts to fade?
Josh Glicksman: Eight weeks feels like a stretch to me, but maybe that’s just because I have no concept of time anymore. Every day is just “today” now. Eight weeks from now (also known as 56 todays) is the middle of June, which feels like a lifetime away. For comparison, eight weeks ago was just after Valentine’s Day weekend. If you told me that Valentine’s Day was a full year ago, I’d absolutely believe you. Maybe I just have this backward and “Toosie Slide” will be the song that propels us into the summer months, but I don’t have faith in any song having that kind of staying power at the moment.
Carl Lamarre: It depends. I mean, it is Drake. Because the top 10 hasn’t experienced any significant shuffles, especially with Roddy running the table for 11 weeks earlier this year, Drake isn’t competing with anyone except The Weeknd and Dua Lipa. I can see this stampeding the competition for at least another four weeks.
Jason Lipshutz: Toosie Slide” may not exist on the same plane as “Nice For What” or “In My Feelings” as a fully formed marriage of kinetic production and effortless Drake hooks, but it does have the meme-able quality of “God’s Plan” that could help it settle into an extended run at No. 1 once the initial excitement wears off. Eight weeks is a long time to stay at the chart peak, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it rule for four or five frames.
Andrew Unterberger: I’ll take the over. It’s not like “One Dance” was a culture-conquering force in its day, but it was just the right song at the right time by the right guy, and it essentially ran unopposed for No. 1 for double-digit weeks in 2016. We’ll see, but I’d predict general pop intertia ends up working in Drake’s favor on this one.
5. While we’re talking dance crazes — give a shoutout to one from years past whose accompanying song you think has held up a little better than you might have expected.
Josh Glicksman: Let’s go with “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. It’s not overly complicated — and certainly has less rigid structure than some of the dance crazes that have come after it — but it gives the dancer a ton of wiggle room to add some personal flair to it. Plus, you get to repeatedly throw up that huge “S” during the chorus, which I think stands for “safety,” though I’m not entirely sure. Either way, it’s a perfect step-and-clap type dance craze, and the song more than holds up decades later.
Carl Lamarre: Weezy reviving the Harlem Shake for “Uproar.” That song is still an absolute heater to this day! Nothing will ever replace “Special Delivery,” but I thought it was a dope attempt from Weezy and Shiggy to restore this 2000s dance craze in 2018.
Jason Lipshutz: I was eight years old in the summer of 1996, and when the Bayside Boys remix of Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” became an international smash, 8-year-old me thought that popular music would never be the same. So many mornings bellowing out the song to wake my family up, butchering the Spanish lyrics all the while! So many afternoons performing the dance with friends at outdoor birthday parties! And so many laughs at the booty-shaking finale of the Macarena dance routine, which triggered the glorious sequence to start all over again.
Andrew Unterberger: When was the last time you actually listened to Marcia Griffiths’ “Electric Boogie” — better known to the world as the song behind the Electric Slide? Sure, the lyrics are a little goofy, but the groove is undeniable, the melody is infectious, the backing vocals and ad libs are irresistible, and the entire thing… well, it’s electric.