2018 Promises a Productive Year in Hip-Hop

Kendrick+Lamar

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Kendrick Lamar performing at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 28, 2015.

Meghan Mahar, Arts and Entertainment Editor

2017 was an exceptional year for hip-hop artists: for the first time ever, the highly-regarded Nielsen Music report has declared R&B and hip-hop as the top genre in the United States, dethroning rock’s consumption by 2.1 percent. For those who keep up with the latest and most successful releases, this is no surprise, as artists including Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars landed in 2017’s top ten album sales alongside Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton.

Hip-hop went out with a bang in 2017 with releases from Eminem, G-Eazy, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, and Punken in December. New artists such as Cardi B and Lil Pump proved that hip-hop’s growth alongside technology can solidify one’s reputation, scoring them unparalleled recognition on the charts and social media.

2018 has barely started and hip-hop fans are already being graced with releases from Migos and Drake. Drake released two songs under upcoming album Scary Hours: “God’s Plan” and “Diplomatic Immunity.” The highly-anticipated album Culture II will be released by Migos on Jan. 26 following the release of single “MotorSport” featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.

Kendrick Lamar follows the success of DAMN. as the producer and artist on the soundtrack for Marvel’s Black Panther film. Two tracks have been released so far: “All the Stars” featuring SZA and “King’s Dead”  by Jay Rock featuring Future, James Blake, and Lamar.

The release timeline of 2018 has yet to be defined, though fans are speculating album drops from Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, and ScHoolboy Q. These artists have all publicly discussed projects in the works, but nothing has happened as of yet. Social media amplifies these theories, with Kanye West being a prominent target: Twitter has been buzzing since West was spotted in Calabasas with his famous laptop, a sign that fans interpret as new music coming soon. This speculation also follows West promising a new album release for summer of 2017 that never happened.

Noteworthy artist releases to keep an eye out for this year are Brian (fka Rich Chigga) and Nipsey Hussle.

Brian’s release is set for Feb. 2 after he changed his name, citing naivete for the pseudonym that prevented hip-hop fans from taking him seriously as its wordplay was viewed as racist. Still, Brian celebrates success as he rebrands with his debut album Amen.

Nipsey Hussle just released the single and music video for “Last Time That I Checc’d” featuring YG, a fellow West Coast hip-hop artist. The pair come together for a boastful track about their success that perfectly captures both of their styles.As the year progresses, make sure to stay tuned with highlights from The Charger Bulletin.