2016 was a great year for R&B and hip-hop, thanks to remarkable albums from Beyoncé (Lemonade), Frank Ocean (Blonde), and Chance the Rapper (Coloring Book). With 2017 coming to a close, here is a list of the albums that have made a mark in the minds of listeners:
Kendrick Lamar (Damn)
Damn by Kendrick Lamar provides listeners with 55 minutes of stunning, exhilarating, and thrilling artistry. This being his 3rd label release, Kendrick comes out as unpredictable, introspective, and very honest. Each song is different, representing a unique world. But they can all be interwoven to depict a man committed to his fight against vices and his continued search for God.
Drake (More Life)
In More Life, Drake delivers a playlist that is not only well polished but one that stands out due to its all-star production. With this release, Drake chose to ditch the traditional album format, instead choosing to go with something that helps him deliver a more carefree attitude. The playlist does not take itself seriously in any way, which enables it delivers a standout performance. More Life is also a clear step up from all his past efforts.
Rick Ross (Rather You Than Me)
“Rather You Than Me” is Rick Ross’s 9th studio album. Rick Ross delivers refreshing honesty using his lyricism throughout the album. But it also strikes a balance between his traditional Mafioso imagery and the luxury boasts while also delivering cleaver lyrics all through. He has used his experience in the rap game to repackage the album in a manner that helps him portray his strengths in a project that embodies all the qualities that have him the rapper he is today.
The popular, recently published Forbes Magazine Top 20 list of the highest paid individuals in the United States revealed that a high percentage of wealthiest Americans work in the hip hop industry. Forbes publishes a list of the highest grossing Americans each year, along with a short description of the business endeavors that have made the individual wealthy. In this year’s edition, hip hop and r and b singers, rappers, producers, music makers, media relations experts, and label heads were all represented. This news is befitting in light of the new revelation that the hip hop genre has recently surpassed the rock genre in the categories of retail sales and influence.
Included in Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans were rapper and fashion designer Sean Carter (Jay Z), Sean Combs (P. Diddy), Aubrey Graham (Drake) and Beyonce Knowles. These artists brought in more than 4 billion dollars combined and are a large influence in the hip hop and r and b industry. Although several other notable hip hop artists were included in the Forbes list of wealthy Americans, a look at the business lives of these individuals in particular can reveal new and important ways that the hip hop industry has expanded within the last decade.
Sean Carter, Sean Combs, Aubrey Graham, and Beyonce Knowels have all surpassed other artists in their field and have successfully commercialized their personal brands. Each of these artists has signed a major deal with large advertising campaigns, with Sean Carter representing Budweiser, Aubrey Graham representing Coca Cola’s Sprite, Beyonce Knowles representing Pepsi, and Sean Combs representing Nike. The fact that large advertisers are now seeking out hip hop stars to represent their companies represents the amount of influence that hip hop artists have gained in the commercial marketing world and suggests a positive trend in the future.
In a recently published article in Forbes Business Magazine, Gary Suarez discussed the reigning influence of the Hip Hop Genre on both American and global business endeavors. According to the reporter, Hip Hop has become the most recognized, purchased, and downloaded music in the nation based on consumer sales. In 2017, the genre actually surpassed the Rock genre in terms of sales and influence. Many business owners are now coming to realize the importance of brand affiliation within the genre and are making large deals with rappers and music developers who are leading genre sales to align big business with the growing hip hop trends.
Gary Suarez discussed the fact that trends aligning big business with hip hop culture could be seen on a large scale as early as 2013, four years before the genre would beat out the Rock genre in sales and cultural influence. Rappers who had attained large music deals and were nationally recognized as industry leaders, like Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Sean “Jay Z” Carter, were featured in some of the nation’s largest commercial advertisements. Drake’s years long deal with the Coco-cola industry and Jay Z’s long term affiliation with the Budweiser brand became indicators of the success other rappers would have with big business in future years.
The current alignment of DJ Khaled, a popular hip hop producer and music developer, with the Turbo Tax brand is representative of the massive and influential industry that the hip hop genre has produced. Far from the years where the leaders of large clothing outlets made public statements describing their distaste at the idea of hip hop moguls adorning their fashion pieces, leaders of all industries are now in competition to find the most popular and culturally relevant hip hop artist to advertise new products for their companies.
There are a ton of people that are going to wonder if there is a publicity ploy about the “4:44” album. People that have been able to follow him are certain that there is more to this than a publicity stunt. It is obvious that Jay-Z and Beyonce have more money than they will ever be able to spend. Some people may think that this is a bad thing to be so open about the marriage. People are feeling the album because he is still showing that there is a lot of growth.
The “4:44” album addresses a plethora of topics. It makes people look their own relationships. It makes people look at the racial tension that has happened around them. This is why the album has been able to go platinum in a short time frame.
It is also quite impressive to see the way that Jay-Z has evolved over the years. It was possible for a lot of people to hear “4:44” and wonder if they needed to talk with their partners. It was time for a lot of people to come clean. This is why Jay-Z has received accolades and a platinum certification. People really wanted to have all this information that Jay-Z provided. They wanted to learn about his marriage and the relationship with friend Kanye West.
Jay-Z has had a whole lot of things going on in his life. He has worked with many people down through the years and people are excited to get a glimpse into the life of Jay-Z and Beyonce. The combination of “Lemonade” and “4:44” can really put a stamp on relationships. Marriage can be difficult. Jay-Z has done the unthinkable. He has actually bared his soul and helped people see into his world with Beyonce.
As an integral part of culture, music genres borrow heavily from one another. In this case, the history of hip-hop has largely been about absorbing and conquering the other genres. In fact, there is no genre that has dissolved others in a greater scale in the music industry the way hip-hop has done.
Taking Over the Music Scene
At first, hip-hop sampled the elder genres and this provides the intellectual justification for its place in the legacy of soul genre, where it eventually pushed soul music to the fringes. Later on, hip-hip music gave birth to its own crop of singers, characterized by smooth-edged tough talking who softened the samples, while they addressed simpatico themes. Eventually, these rappers did away with middlemen and started inputting melodies into their own verses.
A Fierce Backlash
Interestingly, former hip-hop artistes such as Drake have been instrumental in stopping the genre from overriding others. In his transition to R&B, Drake has invariably softens the blow that Hip-Hop had dealt the genre. In this way, R&B has refused to take hip-hop’s infiltration without a fight. In particular, the male R&B singers are devising new approaches for invigorating the genre.
For a long time, the success of Robert Kelly’s music was based on his infusion of hip-hop attitudes into R& Blues. His new album that was recently released titled The Buffet sold poorly. R Kelly complained that black audiences were no longer supporting his music. While that could be true, R Kelly’s strategy overlooks the current crucial trends. For one, the lovers of R&B are presently better off served by hip-hop instead of R&B and that he too is not the standard bearer that he previously was.
As generation of musician emerge so will the genres of music continue to fuse while other new ones emerge. Hip-hop may not have lost its luster but then its influence is undoubtedly at test.
Worldstar Hiphop has been a staple in the hip-hop industry since its inception back in 2005. Sadly, its founder and CEO, Lee “Q” O’Denat, passed away at age 43 due to heart attack while asleep on January 23. The site started as a platform to promote underground mixtapes, but grew to show music videos, fight videos and other outlandish footage. Though Worldstar faced criticism for a lot of the videos they posted, no one can deny the impact Q had on the community.
In an interview with New York Times back in 2015, Q said, “Hip-hop is for the sex, the drugs, the violence, the beefs, the culture…. That’s the competitiveness of hip-hop, so I felt like the site needed to be R-rated.” Thus his site reflected exactly what he dreamed. After all the success he saw, MTV2 is set to have tv series based off the site called “World Star TV,” which will be a sketch comedy debuting on February 3.
Q’s death has been felt throughout out the world of hip-hop with many taking to Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms expressing their condolences to his friends and family. Charlamange Tha God, host of New York’s radio show, “The Breakfast Club,” said on Instagram: “RIP to my guy Q@worldstar we got some years in. Great, Great, Great Dude!!!!!! One of those moments where you don’t cry because it’s over, you smile because it happened. SMH. Brother was already up but he had some phenomenal things cooking.”
Q will surely be missed, but remembered as the great entrepreneur and pioneer he was.
Recently, hip-hop group A$AP Mob performed “Cuckoo’s Nest” on the “Late Show,” a television program that regularly features performances from up-and-coming hip-hop acts. This group first came to prominence due to the success of A$AP Rocky, the group member who has achieved the most critical and commercial acclaim so far.
In this television performance, A$AP Mob demonstrated a fertile collective imagination and plenty of old-fashioned rhyming skills. The quirky performance featured a sensibility reminiscent of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” the early Jack Nicholson film set in a mental hospital. If this Harlem group’s latest songs are any guide, this collective has a good chance of establishing a huge fan base. Hopefully, the band will become known as more than an A$AP Rocky side project. Each one of these artists is talented enough to succeed through a full-fledged solo career. Groups like A$AP Mob demonstrate that hip-hop is far from a spent art form. With all of the diversity of the English language at their command, conscious rappers will continue to create profound art into the indefinite future.
It’s no secret that tumultuous political changes roiled the political landscape in 2016. Though troubling in many respects, the divisiveness of this nation’s political scene may provide fertile ground for self-expression through music. Though A$AP Mob songs always feature plenty of humorous lines, this group certainly has the potential to play a vital role in the serious debates that are emerging in this nation’s cultural life. It should prove interesting to watch this group evolve and develop over the course of the next four years.
2016 was a really big year for artist Drake. It seemed like you couldn’t go more than a few days without hearing some news about Drake’s latest record. The record, which goes by the title of Oh My Klub, has produced some very exciting news for Drake. Over the past year, Drake has broken or tied roughly TEN RECORDS! In a single year, that’s an amazing amount in and of itself. Of course, no one can really question Drake’s relevance lately. After all, the man has been on the playing field since his acting days back during Degrassi. But even after 2016 was over, he couldn’t help but slap on one more record to the list, just to really stand out from the crowd, and this time he had a little help.
The news was just released that Drake and Future’s latest tour, Summer Sixteen grossed $84.3 Million dollars last year! While this is impressive in and of itself, what makes it more impressive was that it managed to take the top slot and become the highest grossing Hip-Hop tour of the year. It’s previous holders Jay-Z and Kanye West, managed to score about $75 Million with their tour, Watch the Throne, which is no small feat, even for two of the biggest names in the business. In light of this, it seems that Drake really took the top spot as 2016’s biggest artist in the genre.
Of course, this is just the latest record to join the others he took last year. Alongside the highest grossing tour, he tied with 50 Cent on his record of heading both the Billboard 100 AND 200 boards at once. He also beat out Justin Bieber as the most streamed artist EVER on Spotify, and Michael Jackson’s record for the most nominations at the AMA awards as well, by about 2 Million Nominations! Well done Drake, people are looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings you.
Hamilton is a popular musical, featuring hip hop-fusion tracks, that depicts the life of Alexander Hamilton. The play has received a lot of love and praise from critics, celebrities, and Broadway lovers alike. Hamilton debuted off-Broadway in February 2015 and made it to Broadway in August 2015. Among the many awards Hamilton has won so far, the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album is one of them.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind Hamilton, is releasing a Hamilton mixtape on December 4, 2016 featuring a wide array of talented vocalists and rappers. Sia, Miguel, and Queen Latifah teamed up for a remix of the Hamilton track Satisfied, which is something you definitely want to look out for.
The first track on the Hamilton mixtape is a rendition of Satisfied, one of the best vocal productions in Hamilton. Satisfied, from Angelica’s perspective in the musical, relays the story of watching the man you love marry your sister. What makes the song more heartwrenching is there’s no animosity between the sisters and it was Angelica’s choice to let him go.
The remake of Satisfied by Sia, Miguel, and Queen Latifah has recently been revealed, so you can listen to it on Spotify before the mixtape’s official release. If you listen to the original Satisfied, you’ll see that Sia, Miguel, and Queen Latifah did it justice and effectively portrayed the emotion while adding their own style to the song. Hamilton’s mixtape will be worth listening to in full when it comes out on December 4.
Hip-hop legendary band A Tribe Called Quest got together to perform on the latest Saturday Night Live episode.
A Tribe Called Quest made their debut on the nightly weekend show with their show being a mix between lively, hype and more serious. The serious part involved the group bringing on Busta Rhymes and Consequence, a frequent Tribe Called Quest collaborator for their song called “The Space Program,” while at the same time paying tribute to deceased member Phife Dawg with the song “We The People.”
Both of the songs were fresh off of the album “We Got It From Here….Thank You 4 Your Service,” which turned out to be a surprise album release and also the band’s first LP release in 18 years. Dave Chappelle, who was hosting the show for the night, introduced the group who earned a thunderous applause from the audience. The song “We The People” was backed by producers and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, MCs Q-Tip and Jarobi White and featured heavy and serious topics including xenophobia, racism and homophobia in the modern society.
During Phife Dawg’s verse on the song, the group revealed a banner that featured the rapper’s face on the art, while his verse was playing in the background. Jarobi and Q-Tip danced their way onto the stage to round out the performance. The group’s surprise album was released on Friday and features Andre 3000, Jack White, Elton John and Kendrick Lamar.