As we are in the last month of 2016, I want to reflect a little differently than in the past. While many will talk about their favorite songs, verses and albums and the sleepers, [because there’s always sleepers] I want to talk about the front runners, flag planters and torch carriers for the game in 2016.
Chance The Rapper: No question Chance was the biggest breakout star of this year. I’ve called him the Indie Artist Blueprint for the new era. It’s not that what everyone else is doing isn’t functioning on a high level. It’s that Chance and Save Money have revolutionized the Independent Grind in a time where some people and entities still haven’t quite figured out how to brand and sell music in the streaming era. We talking national tour dates, national radio show and festival appearances, Being on Ellen, Kit Kat Commercials and Having your own Festival in your hometown…WITHIN 12 MONTHS! Respect to Chance and all the work him and his team put in this year.
Lil Yachty: Everybody Hates Yachty; But he benefits from it. Many of you may know 1 or 2 Yachty songs, but his slander and “disrespect to culture” comments have made him a household name. You probably can’t name 1 bar from “One Night” or his verse on “Broccoli” but you know how he feel about Pac, Biggie and “You old ni**as”. You also played and shared his freestyles for Radio and XXL several times and added your disgust in the caption. You didn’t think that would help him win, but it did. Love or Hate Yachty, the attention keeps him popping and eventually, he’s going to make a song that even YOUR Hip-Hop Elitist A$$ is going to mess with, lol.
Quavo: The Migos need to start being in the conversation of most influential artist/groups of all time. They did and are doing a lot more for the culture than many want to admit and honestly, this era sounds looks and moves different if they’re not around. On the not so low, Quavo has gotten his Bars up and his features and songs bang. I’m calling it now; Quavo/The Migos might be dropping the next undeniable classic for this era of rap music.
Future: Just when you thought Trap Ni**as was losing, Future goes on tour with Drake and got white kids knowing to shoot you if Young Metro don’t trust you. Future didn’t do anything special, he just grabbed a bigger audience. Y’all called his style “Mumble Rap” and now them words getting crystal clear. Future even got his style hijacked and he still won on a higher level. You couldn’t have told me Future would matter 5-6 years ago when “Tony Montana” dropped. As we go into 2017, Im wondering how many projects will Hendrix drop or will he let all his music he dropped this year live till the 4th quarter of next year.
Desiigner: You thought Panda was a Future record. You laughed at the Timmy Turner Freestyle, but then you kept listening. Then you realized Kanye West, Pusha T and G.O.O.D Music had his back and now, you should realize the young teen from Brooklyn isn’t going anywhere.
Lil Uzi Vert: Many kicked and screamed at this XXL Freshmen list selection. That Hot 97 interview and freestyle sent all the hip-hop purist in a cardiac arrest. Then we seen him rapping with what I’ll say is a “Man bag and Scarf” and you said “This ain’t hip-hop, this is mumble rap, WTF!?!?!?! or I’m bout to Play Reasonable Doubt. Well, again your slander helped and like it or not “You Was Right” is one of the best songs of 2016. You don’t have to be a fan to realize Uzi has a ton of charisma and he is actually making some strong songs and melodies. You can argue that Uzi is the only real musical W Philly got this year. Let the kid live. A whole city is on his back right now.
Rae Sremmurd: Rae Sremmurd is really turning out to be Kriss Kross on steroids. These young guys make SMASH RECORDS! In 2030 when people ask about standout groups and singles from the 2010’s They’re going to play about 10 Rae Sremmurd records and they only got 2 albums out right now. You want more confirmation they popping? Check Beyonce’s Lemonade credits. BLACK BEATLE BIH! ME AND PAUL McCARTNEY RELATED!
Young M.A: OOOUUU…So this may be the new “Hot N*gga”, but I got the feeling that Young MA is going to stay out of trouble and have 50 Cent E.P her album and turn NY out next year. “Summer Story” should have got a bigger push and I want to hear, M.A, Maino and Uncle Murda on a track. Let’s make New York Scary Again!
Drake: Views dropped and Drake just might be the biggest artist in the WORLD today in his official 10th year.
21 Savage: As you may recall, I was scared of this young man after a couple videos I saw earlier this year. After a couple interviews and a few more songs, I’m interested in what 21 Savage is going to do with his life. He really has one of the most interesting stories in hip-hop.
Young Thug: Jeffery was the most talked about album cover of the year. Many people will tell you on the low “Young Thug got hits”. He’s the new “Guilty Pleasure in hip-hop”.
Kanye West: The Life of Pablo dropped like 6 times this year, Ye went on tour and reportedly had a breakdown. Long story short, there is not a year since College Dropout where Kanye has not been one of the hottest in hip-hop, but I think we can all agree, maybe he needs to take a rest and recharge.
Many of you may not like this list, but your only option is to Support what you love instead of bashing what you hate. A lot of great emcees and their projects got buried this year because of lack of support. So no need to tell me “who’s nice” or “what about…” cause what you saying is probably right, but right now, the people don’t agree.
This era is about who can trend the longest. Singles are like Microwave popcorn in this era. Who making Pop Secret, Orville Redenbacher, ACT II and Jolly Time? Who still using the bag of seeds with the popcorn maker?
Is Travis Scott a rapper? I wasn’t sure so I didn’t put him on this list.
The New Era has officially taken over for a whole year. Don’t blame me, blame the game…