BTS earns first No. 1 debut with ‘Dynamite’ on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart

BTS can add another accomplishment to its list. 

“Dynamite,” the K-pop group’s first song performed fully in English, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, unseating Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” after a two week run. 

Prior to “WAP,” DaBaby’s “Rockstar” led the chart for most of the summer.

“Dynamite” had 33.9 million U.S. streams and 300,000 units sold in its the week ending Aug. 27, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It also drew 11.6 million radio airplay audience impressions in the week ending Aug. 30. BTS is the first all-South Korean group to top the chart

BTS — with members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jimin and Jungkook — released its latest hit Aug. 21. They’d dropped some English lyrics in songs before, but “Dynamite” was a first. In an interview with USA TODAY, member RM explained the song’s intention.

“The goal of ‘Dynamite’ is really simple … to explore the world with positive vibes and energy,” he said. “We’ve been through all the sadness and desperation but with this song and performance we just hope the world gets more positive.”

The band sings in the chorus, “So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight // Shining through the city with a little funk and soul // So I’ma light it up like dynamite.”

The song’s music video broke records, becoming the biggest premiere in YouTube history by attracting at least 3 million concurrent viewers, according to the official YouTube blog. The previous record holder was Blackpink’s “How You Like That” video, which garnered 1.65 million concurrent viewers during its premiere.

The video also set a new all-time record for YouTube video views in the first 24 hours, garnering over 101.1 million in the first day, according to YouTube. As of late Friday, the video had more than 233 million views. 

The most difficult part of making “Dynamite” was stepping out of the comforts of singing in Korean and getting the English pronunciations down, the group told USA TODAY via an interpreter. 

“It was more not hard, but interesting. It was an interesting kind of challenge,” Jungkook said, while RM noted that it was a “fun hard.”

Though BTS told Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that they didn’t plan to sing in English because they didn’t want to change their “identity” or “genuineness,” no one planned on a global pandemic either. 

“This is a situation that everybody else around the world is facing, so we just started to explore what can we do right now, what can we do really good?” Suga said.

The septet, which launched in 2013 with the song “No More Dream” from debut album “2 Cool 4 Skool,” were the first K-pop group to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 in 2018. Their 2019 album “Map of the Soul: Persona” topped the Nielsen charts in physical sales for the year and they performed at the 2020 Grammys with Lil Nas X. In their seven years, they’ve put out more than a dozen albums and EPs.

Contributing: Rasha Ali and Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges

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