This Week in Music History: November 8-14

Every week new singles from some of our favorite artists hit the airwaves, but will they be the most successful songs of the artists’ careers? This week, we’re taking a look back at the biggest radio hits from Ja Rule, Akon, and Gavin DeGraw.

November 10, 2001: Ja Rule is Always On Time

Photo by Scott Gries / Getty Images

Way back in 2001, Ja Rule was extremely concerned with timeliness. This week fourteen years ago, his track “Always On Time” debuted on the Mediabase Rhythmic Chart. The song, which features Ashanti, went on to top both the Rhythmic and Urban charts, becoming Ja Rule’s biggest hit to date. It also marked the beginning of Ja’s success collaborating with Ashanti, as the two went on to duet again on “Mesmerize” and “Wonderful” (the latter of which also featured R. Kelly). Following his imprisonment, Ja Rule has remained largely out of the spotlight, but these days he’s sharing his fame with his family on his new reality show, “Follow the Rules,” which premiered last month on MTV.

November 11, 2006: Akon Desires to Both Smack That and Love You

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Ja Rule wasn’t the only one to find success in dueting. Five years after he and Ashanti took over the charts, Akon dominated the airwaves with not one but two collaborations of his own. Yes, this week was particularly good to the artist back in 2006 when “Smack That” (featuring Eminem) and “I Wanna Love You” (featuring Snoop Dogg) both conquered the charts. While “Smack That” peaked at No. 2 on the Rhythmic chart and No. 4 on the Top 40, it couldn’t compete with the success of “I Wanna Love You.” The musical partnership with Snoop Dogg went on to become Akon’s biggest radio single ever, reaching No. 1 on Rhythmic, No. 3 on both Urban and Top 40, and earning the singer a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Song Collaboration. Known for his collaborations, Akon is currently credited with having over 300 guest appearances in his songs including artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga.

November 13, 2004: Gavin DeGraw Doesn’t Want to Be

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

While Akon and Ja Rule both found radio fame through their work with other artists, Gavin DeGraw’s biggest hit was a solo track. In 2004, the singer-songwriter’s “I Don’t Want to Be” moved into the Top 10 of the Mediabase Top 40 Chart. Thrust into the spotlight when the track was selected as the theme song for hit TV show One Tree Hill, “I Don’t Want to Be” was DeGraw’s first and most successful radio single of all time, going on to hit No 1. on the same chart. He even went on to make a small guest appearance singing the song on the TV drama.