A hip hop fan like myself couldn’t be happier with the way 2016 has been going so far. Rappers are releasing exceptional music in abundance, and their audience remains captivated and pleased.
In the past two months, Future dropped two projects, Purple Reign and EVOL, and 2 Chainz blessed us with Felt Like Cappin and Collegrove, a collaboration album with Lil Wayne. At the same time, Young Thug decided to tease fans and drop I’m Up! His fans are anticipating the release of Slime Season 3 amongst the other millions of projects he’s rumored to drop, such as his solo album Hy!£UN35 (that’s pronounced HiTunes, I guess)as well as collaboration albums with Fetty Wap, Post Malone, Metro Boomin, etc.
On the other hand, rappers who are currently at the top of the food chain released some new music, as King Kendrick, that’s Kendrick Lamar, dropped untitled unmastered., an unexpected album composed of unfinished demo tracks. Astonishingly, the throwaway project turned out to be a masterpiece, as the album ranks #1 on the Billboard 200 chart as of this week, WITH ABSOLUTELY NO SINGLES!! While the 6God Drake is prepping himself for the Toronto takeover, his album Views From The 6 will be dropping in April.
On top of that, Yeezy (kinda) put out ‘the greatest album of all time’ ‘one of the greatest albums of all time’ with TheLife of Pablo,but apparently the album is incomplete. However, Ye dropped some even bigger news on Twitter recently, stating that he will be releasing two more albums this year. Mr. West informed us that one of those albums will be released this summer and will be titled Turbo Grafx 16 (no fucking idea why he’s naming it after a 1989 video game console), but no details have been given on his other album.
All of this is exciting, I know. I can’t maintain a consistent playlist on a day-to-day basis with all the new shit dropping.
Rewind back to 2011, the Internet caught a lot of buzz with the bizarre world portrayed by the 19 year old, cockroach eating, no-filter emcee, Tyler The Creator. A unique individual coming out of the suburbs of Los Angeles somehow stole the hearts of many with extremely vulgar and controversial lyrics like “Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome.” [If you haven’t realized it yet, nothing in this world makes any fucking sense anymore.]
Tyler managed to lock up three MTV Awards (Best New Artist, Rookie of the Year and Must Follow Artist), and he is now highly regarded as a producer and director. Further affirming his legitimacy, Tyler’s idols, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, are two of his biggest supporters.He launched a street wear brand Golf Wang in 2012 that is still prominent today. He Recently got his own radio station, Odd Future Radio via dashradio.com, and he is currently touring the nation with A$AP Rocky. Five years later, Tyler is enjoying life to the fullest, and stuntin’ so damn hard.
Yet his emergency opened the floor for other rappers championing outlandish and unconventional styles. There are plenty of rappers that have been able to overcome the adversities associated with being an artist of uncommon styles peculiar to the public.
You have guys like A$AP Rocky and Travi$ Scott. Not only do they both share dollar signs in their stage names, but also both are highly influenced by Houston hip hop, extremely popular in fashion and underground music, and have been successful in the mainstream.
Don’t get it twisted; both are unique from each other. A$AP Rocky often takes on a slow, radiant beat and intertwines it with his cool and collected voice that gets chopped into that iconic Houston sound. In his raps he boasts about his lavish lifestyle whether it may be his gold teeth and chains, or Mason Margiela and Alexander McQueen designer clothing, it’s clear that he’s that pretty mothafucka. He gives you everything that is Harlem with a taste of H-town, embodying all that is trill.
As for Travi$, he’s extremely versatile and talented in both producing and rapping. His beat productions come across as dark and ominous, but he finds his rare identity as a rapper when he adds a daunting melody through some spooky-ass auto-tune, on some Castlevania type of shit. As the beat builds, his deep and gloomy tone blends so perfectly with the instrumental, and he’s able to portray everything you’d imagine in a nightmare. Personally Travi$ Scott is one of my favorites and it’s impressive that his horrorcore style has made it’s way to the mainstream. Check out Scott’s video for ‘Mamacita’, I apologize in advance for any nightmares you may have tonight.
Then there’s those who epitomizes the weird and abnormal sound/culture of hip hop which has now become contemporary, and only artist fits the criteria best: Young Thug. Whether it may be his choice of clothing, his gang affiliations, or his high-pitched ladylike voice, we can all agree to say we haven’t seen anything like Thugger.
I’m not alone when I say he has been consistently putting out the hottest songs in hip hop. Additionally, one of the biggest and influential artists in all of music, Elton John, recently expressed his love for the rapper. Elton John played some of Young Thug’s music on his Apple Radio station, Rocket Hour. In fact, rumors have surfaced that the two artists are collaborating for a song.
It’s hard to say what it is about Young Thug that makes his music so great. His appearance and behavior is what one would associate with an 80’s Rock star, as opposed to a typical rapper. The content of his lyrics are polar-opposite to his voice and appearance, as he explicitly raps about the lifestyle of a trapper.
He fearlessly fires back at anyone who opposes him, even if you’re his idol like Lil Wayne, as he raps “Pussy boy, I’ll leave you dead and call it dead-ication”. At the same time, he embodies a unique and mysterious melody so distinct it isn’t replicated. Just last week he released the video for ‘For My People’, which is off his new album. Watch the video and give the song a listen right here fam.
I can’t fully explain to you why these peculiar styles have caught my attention, but that’s the point: listeners, including myself and Elton John, have become so fascinated with the wide variety of rappers that poses a sound so enigmatic and special that elevates them to higher ground.
Consequently, those rappers revolutionized the industry entirely for 2016, as they are unable to get a foot through the door unless they could provide a sound that is, put simply, different. It’s pretty fucking cool that fans have become highly accepting of rappers as distinctive from one another, leaving those who mimic (copy cats, fuccbois, style-biters) quite easily shunned. At least for now, the destruction and twisting of hip-hop formalities embedded in the art form’s history has become the new norm.
Hip hop is an important staple for us Millennials, and I honestly do believe it is the most powerful genre of music at the time. By no means am I sending shots to those who listen to genres outside of hip hop. You could see where I’m coming from by opening up your iPhone, launching your music app, and seeing how rap is dominating the charts across the world.
If you truly follow all that’s going on in hip hop, and even if you don’t, the evolution of it’s underground scene is, undeniably, one of the most intriguing aspects of ALL musical genres to date: with its foundation loaded with oddball, idiosyncratic internet sensations who are, shockingly, prospering with remarkable success.