It seems that with every passing year it gets harder and harder for the Grammys (and everyone else) to ignore the genre of hip hop and rap. For years, the genre had to claw for respect from the Grammy voters. Who could forget the controversy of 2014 of Macklemore winning Grammys over Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Jay Z?
Hip Hop/Rap has faced a lot of criticism over the years, some of which is fair. 2017 was no different as hip hop/rap continues to evolve with the times. Despite everything, it is clear rap is not going anywhere anytime soon. So without further ado, here are the biggest storylines out of the genre of hip hop of the year:
1. RAP MOST CONSUMED GENRE: According to Nielsen Stats, hip hop/R&B music surpassed rock/pop music as the most consumed genre of music in the U.S. in 2017. Hip hop/R&B was streamed more than the genres of rock and pop combined this year. According to Billboard, Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed “DAMN.” was the top album of 2017. 5 of the top 10 albums by Billboard were either rap or R&B with albums, with The Weeknd, Drake, Post Malone, and the Migos claiming top spots. Today’s rappers are the trendsetters, tastemakers, and the rock stars of the 21st century. Rappers like the Migos, Drake, and Cardi B function doubly as rappers and pop stars with their
worldwide appeal. As rapper Lil Uzi Vert asserts, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a rock star.”
2. YEAR OF THE MUMBLE RAP: The biggest storyline was the rise of “mumble rap.” The sub-genre refers to the lack of lyricism that some rappers today have. So-called mumble rappers such as Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yatchy, Playboi Carti, and Lil Pump have made their place known among the Billboards Hot 100 and have amassed large fanbases.
The most famous example of mumble rap is Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang,” that is peaked at #3 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 while rapping the phrase “Gucci Gang” nearly 50 times in the two minute song.
3. OLD VS. NEW: Mumble rap has been legitimized by most of the younger generation who have embraced the catchy tunes, much to the chagrin of the older generation of fans and artists. However, mumble rap was not all 2017 had to offer, music-wise. 2017 should also be noted for the return of adult contemporary hip hop. Projects from A
Tribe Called Quest, Eminem, and Run The Jewels were just a few good albums catering to the older demographic of hip-hop. The biggest album in the adult contemporary hip hop genre, however, belongs to Jay Z. Dealing with grown-man topics such as infidelity, financial literacy, and personal growth, Jay Z’s album 4:44 might just be the unofficial Black man’s guide to Black excellence.
4. WOMEN OF RAP: Not to be outdone, female rappers have rose to the forefront of the genre. Cardi B has been making history left and right after the success of her single, Bodak Yellow, which earned two Grammy nominations. North Carolina artist Rapsody earned a Grammy nomination for her album Laila’s Wisdom. And alas, the diss song Shether, lit the music community ablaze, as well as the beef between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj.