Having a hit song isn't easy. If the stars align and a breakout smash happens for a rapper, the pressure is on to create another after the first wave of success. As an artist, especially in a fast-moving genre like hip-hop, coming up with another Billboard Hot 100 hit that proves they aren't a flash-in-the-pan becomes the mission. Every rapper that entered the game with a big song doesn't always end up following up with some fire though, but those that are highlighted here managed to drop a follow-up track that showed they were here to stay.
Modern hip-hop has quite a few stories in which a rapper had a song that took off to a certain level, then their follow-up track launched them to the moon. Lil Baby's first big single was 2017's "My Dawg," which was strong its in own right. A year later, he was on everyone's radar, and that buzz turned into Drake jumping onto Baby's single "Yes Indeed." That 2018 song in particular was the No. 6 song in the country that summer, and is currently six-times platinum—a truly impressive mark.
This is similar to how things played out for Travis Scott, who had a hit in June of 2015 with "3500" featuring Future and 2 Chainz, but just a month later dropped "Antidote," the song that put him on the road to superstardom. "Antidote" climbed to No. 16 on the Hot 100 that year.
For Lil Uzi Vert, when he dropped "Money Longer" in 2016, even if his fans didn't have their paper as stacked as he did, they were still shouting "Money got longer, speaker got louder, car got faster" right along with him. That track earned a No. 54 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and he followed that one right up with "You Was Right," another banger that year about regretting taking a woman home for the night. Uzi just continued to level up, landing at No. 40 in early 2017.
Lil Baby, Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert were known artists at the time their earlier singles released, but those follow-up songs legitimized them in a different way. They proved they had a legit track record for making songs that resonated with the people and it showed on the charts. Each of their respective follow-up tracks climbed higher on the Hot 100 and proved they had more hits in their bags.
In addition to those artists, follow-up songs from Megan Thee Stallion, Kendrick Lamar, Future and more have climbed higher heights than the tracks that came before them. These rappers proved their follow-up hip-hop songs were legit after making a hit. Look out for your favorites below.
"Yes Indeed"Lil Baby featuring Drake
In the early parts of Lil Baby's career, he was a respected street rapper that picked up a grassroots following. He was the new face down at the Quality Control Music ranch in 2017. His July of 2017 song "My Dawg" was what got him on most people's radars, and as a result, the track went platinum. That didn't come close to preparing his fans and even himself for the heights of his next huge single,"Yes Indeed," which came in May of 2018. Rapping alongside Drake and more than holding his own, "Yes Indeed" peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is currently six-times platinum.
"Antidote"Travis Scott featuring Future and 2 Chainz
Travis Scott's "3500" featuring Future and 2 Chainz was released in June of 2015 and went gold two years later. This was the start of his mainstream success. A song that is remembered for eliciting the rage, all parties involved rapping well and its length at 7 minutes and 42 seconds, "3500" gives a peek into what Travis' sound would eventually evolve into. That same year, his next hit was "Antidote," which was tremendous for his career. The track dropped in July of 2015, and peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100. The catchy, well-written chorus really helped kick off what's been an illustrious career for the Houston native, and gave him a four-times platinum record in the process.
"You Was Right"Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert has had consistent growth throughout his career, and when things started rolling, they never stopped. His 2016 single "Money Longer" was his first hit, falling just outside the top 50 on the Hot 100 at No. 54. The track also went double platinum. Also in 2016, his next hit came in the sounds of "You Was Right," which landed right at No. 40 and also went double platinum. This was the start of a hot streak that hasn't slowed up for Uzi.
"Successful"Drake featuring Trey Songz
When Drake took the leap from underground rapper to big name to watch in 2009 with his mixtape So Far Gone, it felt like he'd be around for a while and he did just that. The project's sweet-talking lead single "Best I Ever Had," which eventually became the No. 2 song in the country, was a smash hit and changed Drake's entire career trajectory. The next song that took off for Drizzy in 2009 was "Successful" featuring Trey Songz (and on some versions, Lil Wayne). This platinum-selling effort was also on So Far Gone, and it peaked at No. 17 on the Hot 100.
"Cash Shit"Megan Thee Stallion featuring DaBaby
Megan Thee Stallion originally released her song "Big Ole Freak" on her 2018 mixtape Tina Snow, but the song really took off in early 2019, which set it on the road to going platinum. Her next big song was huge; the inescapable "Cash Shit," which teamed an already hot Megan with DaBaby, who was taking off at the same time as she was. The third single from Meg's 2019 mixtape Fever, the song was certified double platinum and peaked at No. 36 on the Hot 100. It remains one of Meg's most popular songs to date.
"Bartier Cardi"Cardi B featuring 21 Savage
When an artist comes through the door with a single as immense as Cardi B's recently certified diamond "Bodak Yellow" was, it can be hard to maintain that kind of momentum. "Bodak Yellow" dropped in June of 2017, and dominated the summer of that year. Cardi came back with her 21 Savage-assisted single "Bartier Cardi" in December of 2017, and ran it up again, hitting No. 14 on the Hot 100 and going triple platinum with it.
"Baby Sitter"DaBaby featuring Offset
DaBaby's early success came via his rapping talent, unique flows and his willingness to have fun. "Suge" and its equally ridiculous video took him to the top, as evident by the March 2019 song hitting No. 7 on the Hot 100 and being certified double platinum. DaBaby's second single, "Baby Sitter" with Offset, arrived in summer of 2019, and peaked at No. 59. Not a bad way to kick off a career at all with the gold-selling follow-up.
After making his major chart splash with "Drip Too Hard," a collab with his good friend Lil Baby in September of 2018 that leapt to No. 4 on the Hot 100 and was certified seven-times platinum, Gunna's buzz was through the roof. While he teamed up Lil Baby for other records and had other collaborations with different artists, Wunna's next successful single as a solo artist after that was the early 2019 track "One Call." This track was totally different from "Drip Too Hard" vibes-wise, but helped him earn a No. 56 spot on the Hot 100 by himself. The song went gold and proved that Gunna was a viable solo act.
Young Thug is an enigmatic rapper whose off-kilter flows and slanguage made him somewhat of a nice artist. In early 2014, "Stoner" was Thugger's first hit song, and it went gold. His next big hit was in November of 2015, when he dropped "Best Friend," a viral sensation that showed off a more polished Young Thug, an act who now understood how to use his personality and skill to appeal to the masses. "Best Friend" peaked at No. 45 on the Hot 100 and went double platinum.
After "Versace" and its Drake remix in 2013 kicked the door open for the Georgia trio Migos, they caught an even bigger hit with the endlessly catchy "Fight Night" in 2014. Sporting a hook you'll never forget and strong verses from all three members Quavo, Offset and Takeoff, "Fight Night" added to Migos' longevity in the game; the No. 69 peak position on the Hot 100 and gold plaque they got for this effort would become one of many.
"Poetic Justice"Kendrick Lamar featuring Drake
Kendrick Lamar's first hit was 2012's "Swimming Pools (Drank)," a club song that was really a push-back against the trappings of drinking alcohol. That song peaked at No. 17 on the Hot 100, and is now certified four-times platinum. His follow-up smash came in 2013, by way of "Poetic Justice," where he and future rival Drake waxed poetic (no pun) about their dream girl. This one landed at No. 26 on the Hot 100, and reached double platinum status.
"Cuban Links"Rod Wave featuring Kevin Gates
Rod Wave scored his first smash in May of 2019, when he dropped his anthemic single "Heart On Ice," which went on to become a top 25 song in the country and attain double platinum certification. He followed that up with his single "Cuban Links" featuring Kevin Gates, which was a perfect match of styles between the duo; this single went gold and earned a No. 92 placement on the Hot 100 in December of 2019.
"3 Headed Goat"Lil Durk featuring Lil Baby and Polo G
Lil Durk's staying power was never predicated on hits, but on his ability to relate to his fan base, along with his versatility. Though he was already in the game for roughly five years, his first hit was 2018's platinum-selling "Home Body" with Gunna and TK Kravitz. The sexually charged love song was a different look for an artist who started out in Chicago's drill scene. Durk's next one was 2020's "3 Headed Goat," an outright bar fest featuring Durk, Lil Baby and fellow Chicagoan Polo G. That song peaked at No. 43 on the Hot 100.
"Can't Get Enough"J. Cole featuring Trey Songz
J. Cole entered hip-hop as a serious rapper who had something of a built-in understanding on how to create a hit song. "Work Out," his first hit in 2011, had a very specific bounce to it, and the world caught on as it reached No. 13 on the Hot 100 and went double platinum. In that same year, he got another one with "Can't Get Enough" featuring Trey Songz, which went platinum and fell just outside the top 50 on the songs chart. Cole perfected the ability to make tracks about women and dating that didn't feel cheap or forced while also not losing the respect he built for himself as a talented MC along the way.
"Turn On The Lights"Future
Future was making noise underground, but he got his first plaque for a song of his own with "Magic," a mixtape track that saw T.I. added to it for its official release in 2011. The next year, the Future we know and love began to form when he dropped "Turn On The Lights," on which he showed off his chops as a lovelorn trap singer. That song hit the No. 50 spot on the Hot 100 chart and went double platinum, and is still one of his most memorable early tracks.
Rae Sremmurd's 2014 debut single was "No Flex Zone," and the sibling duo took off from there; the song went double platinum. Their very next single, 2014's "No Type," centered on their taste in women, and was even bigger, becoming the No. 16 song in the country and currently being certified four-times platinum.
"Start Wit Me"Roddy Ricch featuring Gunna
Roddy Ricch's anthemic 2018 banger "Die Young" was the song that helped him break through to the mainstream and got him a double platinum plaque. The next year, his single "Start Wit Me" featuring his close friend Gunna helped to further bolster his name, going platinum and landing at No. 56 on the Hot 100.
"Amen"Meek Mill featuring Drake
Meek Mill's "Ima Boss" was like the Kool-Aid Man kicking down the wall and busting into a house; he made his presence felt in 2011 with the song, bolstered by a great Rick Ross verse. The track peaked at No. 51 on the Hot 100 and went platinum. Meek's next hit was "Amen" in 2012, on which he collabed with his friend (who hadn't turned to his foe just yet) Drake. That effort went gold, and charted just a few spots lower than "Ima Boss" at No. 57.
"Outside Today"YoungBoy Never Broke Again
YoungBoy Never Broke Again's 2017 single "No Smoke" is a somber song full of threats, and it caught on amongst his core fan base to the tune of it going triple platinum over time. The next year, "Outside Today" peaked at No. 31 on the Hot 100, and went double platinum, solidifying his ability to craft bangers that climbed the charts.
"Man of The Year"ScHoolboy Q
ScHoolboy Q is a talented rapper in addition to being one of the best personalities in hip-hop. He showed off both of these qualities in 2013 alongside Kendrick Lamar on the track "Collard Greens," Q's first hit, which spent eight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, earned a No. 92 spot and also went double platinum. Later that year, the TDE member would drop his next single "Man of The Year," a banger that climbed even higher to 62 on the chart and raked in double platinum status as well.