Music

The Dirtiest Hot 100 No. 1s of All Time Before “WAP”

A promotional photo of Cardi B sticking her tongue out, in a collage with album art from albums with filthy songs on them.
Filth! Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Madonna, Prince, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, and DAP.

“WAP,” by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, is the filthiest, dirtiest, most sexually explicit song to ever top the Billboard Hot 100, and if you don’t believe me, check out the official lyric video:

But if “WAP” is the filthiest, dirtiest, most sexually explicit song to ever top the Billboard Hot 100, someone has to be second-dirtiest. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from “WAP,” it’s that you people love that kind of stuff. So to give you, dear reader, more examples of the smut you so desperately crave, we scoured all 62 years of Billboard’s Hot 100 charts looking for the most bawdy, lewd, raunchy, and outright depraved songs to ever reach No. 1. Here’s what we found.

“Satisfaction,” Rolling Stones (July 10, 1965)

On the whole, this song is about the travails of modern life, but since one of those travails is “trying to make some girl who tells me baby, better come back, maybe next week,” this Rolling Stones classic was their filthiest, frankest song until 1970’s “Schoolboy Blues.” Unfortunately, “Schoolboy Blues,” a deliberately unreleasable song the Stones recorded to piss off their record label (“Where can I get my cock sucked?/ Where can I get my ass fucked?” Mick Jagger plaintively asks in the chorus), never charted.

“My Ding-a-Ling,” Chuck Berry (Oct. 21, 1972)

Chuck Berry, the man who wrote “Promised Land,” “Maybellene,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” only ever had one No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, and it’s his cover of this insipid novelty song about dicks. What else could you possibly need to know about American culture?

“The Streak,” Ray Stevens (May 18, 1974)

“WAP” may be sex-positive, but “The Streak,” which streaked to the top of the charts for three weeks in 1974, goes a little further: It’s sex-crime-positive, at least in most states. Ray Stevens is still around and still singing novelty country songs about sex pests (“Taylor Swift Is Stalkin’ Me”), but he’s broadened his songwriting to include Tea Party kitsch like “Obama Nation,” “You Didn’t Build That,” “If You Like Your Plan,” and so on. The total package!

“Afternoon Delight,” Starland Vocal Band (July 10, 1976)

“Afternoon Delight” isn’t all that explicit, but there’s something about those soft-rock close harmonies that makes this the ickiest song about sex anyone has ever written. Full disclosure: “Afternoon Delight” was inspired by an item on the menu at the D.C. area restaurant Clyde’s, and last summer, Clyde’s Restaurant Group became a subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company, which also owns Slate. Wondering if this means we now share culpability for “Afternoon Delight” keeps us up at night.

“Like a Virgin,” Madonna (Dec. 22, 1984)

In 1984, “Like a Virgin” was seen as provocative, but not really filthy. Then in 1992 Reservoir Dogs was released, and “Like a Virgin” retroactively became one of the most explicit songs to ever top the Billboard charts.

“Cream,” Prince and the New Power Generation (Nov. 9, 1991)

Prince reportedly wrote “Cream” in front of a mirror, which has led people to occasionally interpret the song as some sort of metaphor about success in the music industry. These people are mistaken.

“Baby Got Back,” Sir Mix-A-Lot (July 4, 1992)

This is a song about butts and that is why it is on this list.

“Too Close,” Next (April 25, 1998)

This omnipresent smash, the biggest hit of its year, has a reputation among ’90s kids for being secretly dirty. While another R&B trio would later make the song’s warning, about the perils of getting too excited on the dance floor, even more explicit, Next’s chart-topper, with lyrics like “I feel a little poke comin’ through on you,” was never all that cryptic.

“Slow Motion,” Juvenile ft. Soulja Slim (Aug. 7, 2004)

After centuries of metaphor and double entendre, Juvenile hit No. 1 in 2004 by just saying exactly what he meant, and what he meant was “she love the way the dick stay hard from 12 till early in the morn’.” Sadly, the music industry wasn’t ready for Juvenile’s straight talk—taking such radio-unfriendly lyrics to the top of the charts has always been an uphill battle—which is why the next few years were full of songs about lollipops.

“Candy Shop,” 50 Cent ft. Olivia (March 5, 2005)

Although “Candy Shop” seems on first listen to be a welcome reprieve from Juvenile’s overtly sexual songwriting, some have theorized that 50 Cent’s offer to “let you lick the lollipop” is a metaphor of some sort. Fortunately for America’s all-too-corruptible youth, the music video and radio edit eliminate the word lick, which makes the song’s meaning impossible to figure out.

“Laffy Taffy,” D4L (Jan. 14, 2006)

Atlanta rappers D4L took 50 Cent’s candy metaphor to the next level with the lyric, “Girls call me Jolly Rancher ’cause I stay so hard/ You can suck me for a long time (oh, my God).” There is nothing—and I mean nothing—sexier than giving someone the nickname “Jolly Rancher.”

“Money Maker,” Ludacris ft. Pharrell (Oct. 28, 2006)

“Money Maker” was the first No. 1 hit to rhyme penis with genius, which I think we can all agree is a stroke of penis.

“I Wanna Love You,” Akon ft. Snoop Dogg (Dec. 2, 2006)

2006 was a banner year for smut on the Billboard charts, and while this one might not initially sound like part of that trend, its “explicit” version is, well, just that, with the chorus and title changed to the considerably more blunt “I Wanna Fuck You.” Still, even in its “clean” version, the one that topped the charts, the song isn’t really, with the censors failing to fully bleep such amorous lines as “D, O, double G … here to put this dick on you.”

“Lollipop,” Lil Wayne ft. Static Major (May 3, 2008)

Finally, a song that is actually about lollipops! The music video shows Lil Wayne on a lollipop bender in Las Vegas, and is filled with wholesome footage of people enjoying lollipops, America’s favorite hard candy. At 3:13 in the video, however, there’s a brief shot of an absinthe fountain, a clear violation of the federal regulations on thujone levels in food intended for human consumption (21 C.F.R. §172.510). Is there anything dirtier than contempt for the law?

“Whistle,” Flo Rida (Aug. 25, 2012)

This is a song about blowjobs and that is why it is on this list.

Well, there you have it: the dirtiest songs to ever top the charts. The rest of them are about surfing, we assume!

Listen to the women of Thirst Aid Kit interview Jake Johnson about his career, his new Netflix show, and why so many people are in love with New Girl’s Nick Miller.