State Of The Hip-Hop Union 2020: Look Past The Big Name Releases
Welcome to 2020 everyone! We made it through another decade and another year alive! For some of us that is an achievement in itself so before we begin, give yourself a pat on the back.
So last year I wrote my first "SOTHHU", all about Trap and how it's already plateaued. I'm not sure about you, but I think that was pretty on point an observation. I did do a defacto one the year before but I didn't give it the label I have now. (but go peep it anyway!) After last year, I thought I make this a yearly thing. Give a little observation ahead of the New Year of heat we're about to receive.
This year's address is partly a response to last year and a call to the future of how we consume music. Let's start with the latter. 2019 was a historically dead year when looking at the extremely small lens of mainstream Hip-Hop. Not many artists that are universally known dropped. Or they did and they weren't the best.
But I want to make a point that I have been making on several platforms over the past few months and put it on digital wax...
THERE'S. ALWAYS. SOMEBODY. DROPPING. HEAT.
I had some weeks where I spun 5-10 projects in a 4-day period and all I saw near the end of '19 were people saying "2019 was a shit year for music". Let me rephrase that for all of you that said that or hold that opinion.
2019 was a shit year for YOUR music. If your're one of those that rely on a few artists to drop whenever you feel the itch to listen to new things, you're doing something wrong. With all that time you spent re-spinning that one album you love, you could've easily hopped onto your streaming platform of choice and hop on a few playlists. Better yet, go to you favourite artist and look at their "Related artists"!
I know I'm toning this with an air of condescension. But I'm not, I just want to state the fact that complaining about the year of music is purely a subjective thought and you plopping it on Twitter doesn't make it objective fact. For all of the negatives we can think of as it pertains to "Social" Media & Streaming platforms, a genuine positive is that it has never been easier to find new artists or discover old works.You can fall down a rabbit hole of new music in less than a minute. It would take hours at the beginning of the Century. Days in the previous Century. So when you say it's been a shit year. Understand that we as consumers are drowning in an embarrassment of riches when it comes to how much music we have at our disposal.
Which brings me to part two of this State Of The Hip-Hop Union address. The point that is hinted at in the title. 2020 is looking like a year where plenty of big names will drop some work. I just want to say, try to look past them. For every Drake drop, Rihanna drop, Kendrick drop, there are 5 other drops happening on the same day that could potentially be better than the "event drop" of that week.
Let me use a film anecdote right quick. I went to see two films this week, (as of writing) Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker & Guy Ritchie's "The Gentleman". Would you like to take a guess which film I loved and which film I didn't?
That's obviously one example and you can take that with a pinch of salt if you want. But you see the point I'm making. Take it from me. Out of my Top 20 Albums of 2019, nine of them were from artists I listened to for the first time that year or it was their first album.
Hip-Hop is expanding so much. Every year there is a new sound just waiting to push Trap off the throne. There's always an artist that deserves recognition. We just need to widen our nets. The more all of us do that, the healthier Hip-Hop will be as an entity. And will leave the powers that be scrambling to keep a hold of the status quo.
Discover for yourself, look past the big names and who knows, maybe you'll discover the next big name years before everyone else does...