Music has been around since the beginning of time, from the natives clapping on drums and dancing around the campfire to the Beatles all the way to Jackson’s hit, “Thriller”. Soul reigned in the 50s and 60s. Disco had its time in the 70s. Rock was dominant in the 90s and early 2000s along with Pop. However, one genre has taken over America in recent years.
I’m talking about rap, hip hop, and r&b. Originally hailing from Harlem, rap made its way onto the scene and is thriving more than ever today. Looking at the latest billboard charts, out of 100 songs, a whopping 52 are rap songs by respective artists, and additional seven feature hip hop artists. That is almost 60 songs, meaning 3 out of 5 songs trending today are rap songs.
Silly rap names aside, (Bhad Bhabie, Lil Baby, Lil Dickey, Rich the Kid), the music industry is booming right now and rap songs are “hip” (pun intended). For every Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, rap counters with Cardi B, Drake, Post Malone, Childish Gambino, and Kendrick Lamar. Heck, even J. Cole found success recently with his latest album KOD.
Just look at what the listed artists above have accomplished. Cardi B became the first female rap artist to notch a #1 hit solo with “Bodak Yellow”. She also became the third artist in billboard history to have her first three singles all in the top 10. Drake, who holds the record for most weeks consecutively on the charts with 431 (8 years), set a new one. He is the only artist to replace himself with back-to-back debuting singles. The first was “God’s Plan” which reigned for 10 weeks before “Nice for What” was released.
Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone are rappers on the rise and thriving in the spotlight. Lamar has 12 Grammys and his came away with the 2018 album of the year, DAMN! Malone’s “Rockstar” shattered the record for most weeks at #1 on Spotify as it was streaming on top for 17 weeks. J. Cole even returned with a bang, debuting four singles in the top 10, again something that no one has ever done before.
Lastly, Childish Gambino literally shot his way up the ranks with his eye-opening song and video, “This is America.” All the memes and public manipulation aside, Gambino’s video highlighted important issues happening in America today: police brutality, gun violence, and racial profiling. Never has an artist, let alone comedian, put on a political display and had such a huge impact. His hit debuted at #1 and has stayed in the top 5 since.
With how dominant the genre has been, it’s difficult to see it’s reign coming to an end anytime soon. Popular music will always have its place on the charts, that’s a given. Country never goes away completely either, as it has the diehards and loyal fans. Latin music has been in the spotlight recently also, with “Despacito” and “Mi Gente” being a few hits. In particular Justin Beiber’s remix of the former ties the all-time record for most weeks at #1 with 16 weeks, sharing that coveted spot with artists Mariah Carey and Boyz to Men’s “One Sweet Day”. But rock continues to fade into oblivion as only one song exists on the hot 100.
Time will tell where, when, and who the next group, song, or genre comes from underneath to take its spot. Maybe the KPOP band, BTS, can make some magic happen, although it’s highly doubtful. Although, their hit “Fake Love” debuted at #10, making them the first KPOP band to hit the top 10 in Billboard history. Just keep your eyes and ears open for what’s hot in the next few months or years. My friend tells me rock will make its comeback, though, so I guess that means you’ll be rocking out in no time soon.