Hip Hop is as vulnerable as ever: that’s a good thing

Rod Wave

Rod Wave

   Hip Hop has been a staple in the music industry for a few decades now, with it growing bigger and bigger every second. Hip Hops recent chart topping success continues to show the genres growth and acceptance into mainstream ears. With rap icons like Jay Z, J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar etc. aging and focusing on other ventures, there has sort of been an unofficial torch passing to a new generation of artists ready to prove their name and showcase their skill. The usual hardcore “Gangsta Rap,” once synonymous with Hip Hop because of artists like Tupac Shakur, N.W.A, 50 Cent is fading, and a new soulful and vulnerable sound is arising. 

   Drake is one of the biggest artists of all time, posting chart topping records from year to year and dominating streaming platforms with his music. Since bursting onto the mainstream scene in 2009, the lover boy feels have gravitated to people around the world. With all of his first five solo albums going number one on Billboard, 35 top ten hits,  and the largest first day debut in Spotify history (132 Million streams on Scorpion), he’s a force to be reckoned with. Arguably Drake’s most iconic song “Marvins Room” is about an ex lover and his reminiscing of all the great times they shared together, encouraging her to leave her lover. This feeling of heartbreak is a constant theme on early Drake projects and has helped him build his fanbase immensely.

   Mid 2010’s Hip Hop a new generation of artists arose, but not through the usual path. This time there was Soundcloud. Soundcloud is a music app built to make the task of creating and uploading music as easy as ever. It has opened the doors for teenagers all across the globe to experiment and get their art on a platform. Some of the platform’s most notable artists, XXXTentaction, Lil Uzi Vert and Juice Wrld have gone on to be household names in the music industry while having their first breakthrough here. Kendrick Lamar once reshared XXXTentacion’s album 17 on Twitter with good praise, stating: 

   “ Listen to this album if you feel anything. Raw Thoughts.”

   Juice Wrld, a rapper emerging from Chicago, Illinois, broke into mainstream attention with his song “Lucid Dreams.” After separating from his partner, it highlights the anguish and desolation he’s faced since then, dreaming about her at night without being able to take her off his mind. “Lucid Dreams” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

   As we stand today, rap is less and less based on violence, formally a staple of the genre. Trauma, relationships and mental thoughts are becoming more and more popular. Polo G’s “Rapstar” recently went #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, a huge achievement for him and the rest of his peers, showing this new era of music isn’t a trend, and is here to stay. Rod Wave debuted his album SoulFly in March 2021. It has sold over 430k units so far (HipHopNumbers) after just under two months since its release. A constant subject in Rod’s music is about his upbringing and the lessons he’s learned of disloyalty and the desire to grow from low income housing to a wealthy lifestyle. It seems every song he’s speaking on life experiences is like someone who’s been through decades of life, even though he is only 21.

   As music continues to grow and elevate day by day, It’s refreshing to see realness and authenticity gravitate the ears of listeners all around. Creating art is as easy as ever before, find a nice beat and speak your life. Hop Hop has taken notice and is executing this sound flawlessly.