Whether you consider it a good 365 days or not, 2015 was a hell of a year for Hip hop.
The argument of whether it was a good year for the genre itself is of course entirely your own opinion. Naturally, there were high and there were lows through out the seasons with new projects coming out everyday, and as per usual there were thousands of arguments across the internet about who had the strongest year overall. The music will always split people, and Hip hop’s community is definitely one of the more vocal ones when it comes to modern-day genres and who’s on top.
From Joey Badass’ B4.DA.$$ in January (which feels like it dropped eons ago) to the more recent Kid Inks’s Summer in the Winter, 2015 had its fair share of varied music, and even now the fans will still be debating why the numbers don’t mean shit and Kendrick could out-rap Drake any day. We could go on for days about which artist held more prevalence.
However one thing is for certain, Hip hop ruled the internet last year.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were dominated by news, images, videos and stats that emerged from events that occurred within the community. Turn your mind back to the beginning of the year, with the sudden death of A$AP Yams (the founder of the A$AP Mob). While the news didn’t exactly make the headlines of your local broadcast station, it erupted across the internet and many offered their condolences to those close to him.
This was but one of a number of deaths of Hip hop artists, including The Jacka, Pumpkinhead and Koopsta Knicca. Not only did the those in the same genre as them show their grief, but others that belonged to Pop, Rock and R&B. It was great to see the average twitter user reach out and share their sadness on the subject, not just assuming a death in Hip hop meant another gang war or another innocent person shot.
On a lighter note, July brought us the seemingly never-ending beef between Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill and Toronto-born Drake. What started off as a single tweet: “Stop comparing drake to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!” evolved into a full-blown war of words with fans on both sides calling out the opposition’s MC on their ability. Meek, evidently torn up about Drake not promoting his album Dreams Worth More Than Money, went on to state that the Canadian didn’t write his own raps. This was the spark. Artists like Lupe Fiasco and Rick Ross went in defence of Drizzy, claiming ‘ghost-writing’ wasn’t a new thing. An initial track from Drake that was (apparently, but not confirmed) a diss dropped while Meek was touring with partner and Hip hop’s own barbie Nicki Minaj, though the song was considered “as soft as baby lotion”. In the midst of this confusion Drake dropped the now-infamous Back To Back track, one which featured the line that many would argue ended the beef there and then: “Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?/ I know that you gotta be a thug for her/ This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more.” Meek replied with his own diss track Wanna Know… but the less said about that the better. What followed was an onslaught of internet memes that almost ended the man’s career. While a few are pictured here, you can search for them yourself and witness both the creativity and brutality of the internet against a rapper that started something he shouldn’t have.
Finally of course, we have the surprising (or unsurprising if you like) success of Hip hop in the Grammy nominations. In particular, TDE’s Kendrick Lamar picking up ELEVEN nominations across 5 genre categories. It has undoubtedly been K.Dot’s year with the huge success of his album To Pimp A Butterfly, released back in March. While the album sold incredibly across the globe, there’s no doubt that it’s impact wouldn’t have been as great if it hadn’t sparked such important analysis across the internet. The albums subject matter of black empowerment and the strife of a black person in American society, as well as that final recording/interview with Tupac stimulated both debate and discussion not just inside but also outside of the Hip hop community. No one summed up the feeling towards the LP quite like Kanye West:
In conclusion, Hip hop had a significant year with 2015. Regardless of your view on the quality of music that was released, it cannot be understated how much the recognition the genre received, whether it was through social events, deaths or memes. Personally? I thought the standard of music was amazing, but that’s another story for another post. While I, like many others, will still listen to the many projects released last year; there’s a quiet sense of excitement going into the next.
I cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring.