“Celebrate what you want to see more of…” – Thomas Peters
With the turn of new year now in full affect, the affirmation is that there are many things to look forward to in 2018. 2017 was a great one for hip-hop; from the quality of music that was released, to the many highlights that were produced in media. We saw a few of the artists we were familiar with solidify their place in mainstream culture, while also seeing some of the newer musicians come of age. Due to its massive streaming numbers in 2017, hip-hop “officially” became the most popular music genre in the world. While one should marvel at the promise that this new year holds, we should also reflect on the amazing year that was, 2017.
There were many highs, lows and everything in between throughout 2017 in media. We saw the unlikely emergence of the rapper Joe Budden as a exceptional media personality; his podcast as well as the popular Everyday Struggle show achieved much success in 2017.
Unfortunately, one of the hottest names in the lane of podcasting, Taxstone was sentenced to prison; and we also lost the legendary Combat Jack to cancer during the final days of the fourth quarter. We all enjoyed some of the interviews that Charlamagne Tha God, N.O.R.E., and Angie Martinez conducted, while Everyday Struggle provided us with a multitude of viral moments for the public’s consumption. The digital age is the best time in history for a media personality to flourish. Social media, as well as sites like YouTube (and many others…) have given DIY’ers the platform to create, produce and release content without being restricted to the conventional ways of thinking.
Musically, it has been quite some time since hip-hop had an output of albums and mixtapes with this level of quality and consistency. Rap heavyweights such as Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar released amazing projects, while the raw, new acts like J.I.D. and Belly provided a refreshing reminder that the culture will remain in good hands for years to come. In 2017, some of those highly-anticipated albums that have evaded us for so long finally came to fruition. CyHi The Prynce and Big K.R.I.T both dropped bodies of work that were well worth the wait, and hopefully they will be able to release on a more frequent basis for the time being. Meek Mill, Big Sean, 2Chainz, Future, Tyler The Creator along with a bevy of others made their presence felt last year; and with Nas, Drake and Pusha T all slated for new music, 2018 will be an amazing year for any hip-hop enthusiast.
Hip-Hop also garnered heavy attention in television and film during 2017 as Donald Glover p.k.a. Childish Gambino received awards for his work on the unforeseen hit show Atlanta, while Lena Waithe was heralded for her performance on the Netflix original, Master of None. Lena and the incomparable Issa Rae and her unprecedented Insecure HBO series aren’t tied to hip-hop in the traditional sense, but they exude the culture and let that fact be known with every given opportunity. With all the accolades that the hit show Atlanta received during awards season, the anticipation of it’s second season has reached a fever pitch.
The year 2017 truly proved to be a roller coaster in every sense of the word. We all experienced the tragedies and triumphs associated with life as the top of 2017 rang in a new POTUS that we still disapprove of, but what this year showed was that regardless of how bad something seems, you can always get through it if you possess a positive mindset. Hip-hop reigned supreme in 2017 through it’s innovation in media, it’s content in film and television, along with its variety in music. With that being said, if this year is anything like the last, then we have plenty to look forward to in 2018.
With claiming week two to be in the bag, as such the other 50, as always, continue to assist in pushing the culture forward.
Have an amazing new year, folks.