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Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has been a force on the billboard chart for decades.
Despite its influence on world culture, hip-hop has yet to score a No. 1 hit song or album on the Billboard Hot 100 or Billboard 200 charts in 2023. It has been thirty years (1993) since hip-hop has gone this long without a No.1 song or album on the two Billboard charts.
“We was praisin’ Billboard but we were young
Now I look at Billboard like ‘Is you dumb?'” – Jay Z
The albums to reach the pinnacle of the charts were Gunna’s “DS4EVER”, Lil Durk’s “7220”, Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers”, Tyler, The Creator’s “Call Me If You Get Lost” which dropped in 2021 but resurged after a vinyl release. Jack Harlow’s “First Class” and Future Feat. Drake “Wait For You” eclipsed all songs by the midyear mark in 2022.
In such a pinnacle year for hip-hop, one would think that some of the best music would be made for today’s time, to celebrate its growth and everything the culture has brought to the world. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, currently.
So, what gives?
According to Billboard, in June of 2022, six artists had albums earn the No. 1 status atop the Billboard Hot 100, and two singles, respectively.
In the previous decade, established heavy hitters dropped singles or albums in the beginning of the calendar year. For instance, last year Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Future were among the artists who dropped an album or featured on a song.
Newer school rappers such as Gunna, Lil Baby and Lil Durk have gained a healthy following over the years, yet despite the success, none of their released projects or singles have topped the charts in 2023. Lil Durk’s recent single “All My Life” featuring J. Cole did peak at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, respectively.
One plausible explanation hip-hop hasn’t been at the top of the charts is because country music has been killing it. Country singer Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” has been No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart since March 18.
The landscape of hip-hop has changed, there are so many artists in the spotlight competing for the top stop. With everyone splitting a piece of the proverbial pie and very few separating themselves from the pack, rappers will have to magnify their voice in an increasingly crowded field of artists with something to say.