How Rihanna’s ‘What’s My Name’ and ‘Only Girl (In the World)’ Made Chart History Together

During the early 2010s, Rihanna released two of her most famous singles: “What’s My Name” and “Only Girl (In the World).” Together, the songs made chart history in the United States. Interestingly, “What’s My Name” and “Only Girl (In the World)” came from an album Rihanna wanted to sound distinct from songs by her contemporaries.

Rihanna wearing a dress
Rihanna | ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Why RiRi once said ‘Loud’ was her perfect album

Rihanna’s 2010 album Loud delves into many genres, including rock, reggae, and hip-hop. During a 2010 interview with MTV News, Rihanna revealed she didn’t want Loud to sound generic. “It’s really easy to do that because of the whole dance-music movement happening right now,” she said. “It’s easy to get a dance beat and just throw a song on top of it and call it a hit.”

Rihanna wanted Loud to sound different from the music of her peers. “I wanted songs that were all Rihanna songs, that nobody else could do,” she revealed. “I didn’t want the generic pop record that Kesha or Lady Gaga or Katy Perry could just do and it’ll work. I wanted a song, or songs, that were Rihanna songs, that only I could do, had that little West Indian vibe to it, had that certain tone, a certain sass, and a certain energy.”

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Rihanna felt Loud was the album she needed to make. “That’s insane to think about. I’ve never been this excited about anything I’ve done creatively, and this is just the perfect Rihanna album: Every song is tailored to me.”

How Rihanna’s ‘What’s My Name’ and ‘Only Girl (In the World)’ broke the mold

According to Billboard, “Only Girl (In the World)” and “What’s My Name” were the first and second singles from Loud. “Only Girl (In the World)” reached No. 1 after “What’s My Name” did the same. This was the first time a lead single topped the Billboard Hot 100 after another song from the same album reached No. 1.

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“What’s My Name” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. It spent 22 weeks in total on the chart. Meanwhile, “Only Girl (In the World)” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a week and spent 27 total weeks on the chart. Both songs appeared on the album Loud. Loud hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spent 75 weeks on the chart.

The songs were similarly successful in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, “Only Girl (In the World” hit No. 1 first. It was No. 1 for two weeks and it stayed on the chart for 46 weeks. “What’s My Name” hit No. 1 for a single week and it remained 31 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, Loud stayed atop the chart for 3 weeks of its 111-week run. Regardless of which song hit No. 1 first, both “Only Girl (In the World)” and “What’s My Name” became massive hits.

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