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What do Lizzo, Prince, Lipps Inc., Owl City, Next, and Bobby Vee have in common? Minnesota, and the top of the charts.

Lizzo performs "Truth Hurts." Image from YouTube.
Lizzo performs "Truth Hurts." Image from YouTube.

by Lydia Moran

September 04, 2019

Lizzo's ode to blissful singlehood, "Truth Hurts," reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart yesterday, making her one of only six female rappers to hit that mark in the chart's history. This year also marks the first time since 2012 when six singles by female artists have reached number one.

As any longtime Lizzo fan will tell you, "Truth Hurts" was originally released in 2017. Only a small number of artists, including UB40 in 1988 with their cover of Neil Diamond's "Red, Red Wine," have had singles reach number one years after an initial release. A number of televised performances of "Truth Hurts," including those at this year's VMAs and the BET Awards, as well as two re-releases of the song alongside remixes featuring producer CID and North Carolina rapper Da Baby, have reintroduced the song to her fanbase and introduced it to newcomers.

"Truth Hurts" was certified gold in May of this year. When it reached number six on the charts in July, it became Lizzo's first song to breach the Billboard Top 10.

"IF TRUTH HURTS GOES #1 THEN THE WHOLE WORLD IS 100% THAT BITCH," the artist wrote in an Instagram caption posted with a selfie of her happy tears. Yesterday that prophecy came true.

"Truth Hurts" was added alongside two other songs from the artist's back catalog (2018's "Boys" and 2017's "Water Me") to the deluxe version of Cuz I Love You. Lizzo is smartly taking stock of her back catalog, and using that superstar power to catapult older numbers into the upper echelons.

While Lizzo was born in Detroit and spent her adolescence in Houston, she emerged as a nationally-recognized musical artist during several years in Minnesota — from her breakout as a member of The Chalice in 2012 to her first solo albums a few years later. She's now based in L.A., but remains firmly connected to and beloved by the Minnesota music community. So what other Minnesota-connected artists have occupied the number one slot since the chart's inception in 1958?

Most famously and most frequently, of course, there was Prince Rogers Nelson. Prince went number one for the first (and second) time in 1984 with "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy." Two years later he did it again with "Kiss." In 1989 "Batdance" went number one and so did the song "Cream" in 1991, totaling five number one singles over the course of Prince's career.

Before Prince, Minneapolis disco and funk collective Lipps Inc. reached number one in May of 1980 with "Funkytown," and before that, St. Paul native folksinger Mary MacGregor released "Torn Between Two Lovers" in 1977. In 1961, Fargo-born and Minneapolis-based Bobby Vee nabbed the spot with "Take Good Care of My Baby." His first single, "Suzie Baby," was recorded with the Minneapolis label Soma Records. The first Minnesota-born artist to reach number was was Larry Verne, who was born in Minneapolis in 1936 and went on to record novelty songs throughout the early '60s, hitting number one on the charts with "Mr. Custer" in 1960.

After Prince's chart reign, the Minneapolis R&B trio Next had a smash with their single "Too Close," which led the Hot 100 for a total of five weeks in 1998. Prior to Lizzo, the most recent Minnesota artist to hit number one was Owatonna native Owl City, who held number one for two weeks in 2009 with "Fireflies."

Update 9/9/2019: It has come to my attention that, in my research, I missed an indispensable hit from one Minnesota-connected artist. That would be R&B singer SisQó, whose turn of the century release "Incomplete" was slotted at number one for two weeks in 2000. To my credit, SisQó moved to Maple Grove after his chart reign in order to be closer to his girlfriend's family, but we shouldn't discount the Baltimore-born musician on a technicality.

Back in 2015, Channel 12 News reported a segment on the "Thong Song" singer's move to the Northwestern burbs wherein he invited Prince over to "jam in Maple Grove."

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.