March 20, 2014 via Pepsi
Hip-Hop Trends We Want To See More Of
Hip-hop is an ever-evolving art form, and as such, there are always emerging trends. Whether it’s a new sound, new technology, or even new slang, hip-hop is always giving fans something new to talk about. Some trends, like the reemergence of the supergroup, are welcome additions to hip-hop’s creative space. Others, like the incredibly beat-to-death motto “YOLO,” need to be left in 2013 (or even 2012, some might argue). The following is a list of trends we hope last, rather than become fads.
Moving Away From Regional Sound
It’s getting harder and harder these days to tell where a hip-hop artist is from…and that’s a great thing. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with championing where you’re from and displaying your influences, but in recent years, hip-hop has finally been able to let go of its constrictions that relegate an artist to his or her region. Anyone not intimately familiar with a Childish Gambino or an A$AP Rocky would be hard-pressed to accurately guess where they grew up.
The Reemergence of the Hip-Hop Supergroup
The supergroup is officially back. In the ‘90s, you had The Wu-Tang Clan, D.I.T.C., Def Squad, and a slew of other supergroups running the game. Now, A$AP Mob and Top Dawg Entertainment have brought that dynamic back. Though A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar’s crews have been around for some time, it was in 2013 when they established their dominance. A$AP Rocky’s debut album Long. Live. A$AP was excellent as expected, but it was A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord that confirmed the group had more than one star. And while TDE didn’t release an official album in 2013, ScHoolboy Q did manage to get everyone excited about his Oxymoron album, and the label signed exciting new acts Isaiah Rashad and SZA.
More than ever before, hip-hop artists are testing out uncharted sonic territory. An artist like Kid Cudi, who meshes rap, rock, R&B and other styles is not nearly as unusual as he was just two or three years ago. Detroit’s Danny Brown, a highly skilled rapper in his own right, can seamlessly integrate EDM into his repertoire and still find himself respected amongst his rapping brethren. This unprecedented exploration and acceptance of other genres allows hip-hop artists to be more creative than ever before.
Everyone likes a good return policy. You don’t like it? No sweat, just send it on back. In 2013, more than ever before, hip-hop music implemented its version of the return policy: they fully-streamed album. Ending up on Soundcloud, NPR, or any other of a number of sites, artists and music labels finally understood that the quality of the music should speak for itself. If the project is good, people will buy. If it’s not…well, that’s Darwinism, isn’t it? A slew of artists allowed fans to preview their releases in 2013, ranging from Big K.R.I.T. and B.o.B to Yelawolf and Action Bronson.
The Return of Competitive Hip-Hop
This one can be firmly be attributed to a single artist: Kendrick Lamar. K Dot decided he’d drop a verse on Big Sean’s “Control (HOF)” basically calling out almost every relevant new(ish) rapper in the game. After calling out J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Jay Electronica, Mac Miller, and Big Sean, Kendrick brought mainstream hip-hop back to its battling roots. Not only was the track the talk of music everywhere, but it set off a chain reaction of countless responses. Hip-hop, you’re on notice: Kendrick’s got his eyes on the throne.