A delicious deep dive into a rap-rock anthem by a one-hit wonder:

“Butterfly” is the band’s only song that ever appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in any capacity. But “Butterfly” also represents a kind of culmination. “Butterfly” is the only song that ever came out of the late-’90s rap-rock wave and topped the Hot 100. The biggest bands from that genre sold millions of records and packed arenas for years, but none of them — not Korn, not Limp Bizkit, not Kid Rock, not Papa Roach, not even Linkin Park — ever made it to #1. During that same era, the Creed-style post-grunge yarlers did a lot better on the pop charts. Rap-rock seemed to dominate the universe for three or four years, but as far as the Hot 100 is concerned, “Butterfly” is the only hit of its kind. It flutters alone.

Rap-rock was inevitable. By the late ’80s, plenty of rock bands had noticed that they were no longer the coolest or most revolutionary musicians on the scene. They had been usurped; rappers were the new cultural leaders. The two genres didn’t exist in isolation; they’d been in conversation ever since rap first arrived in popular consciouness. Kurtis Blow had a Bachman-Turner Overdrive cover on his first album, and the Clash imitated Grandmaster Flash’s Furious Five on “The Magnificent Seven” and then booked the actual Furious Five to open for them in New York. (The rappers got booed offstage.) The Beastie Boys were a punk band that improbably became the biggest rap group in the world. As the ’80s went on, more and more rock bands made clumsily spirited attempts at something resembling rap: Anthrax on “I’m The Man,” Faith No More on “We Care A Lot,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a whole lot of bullshit.