I’ve heard people define success and prosperity in many different ways. Some look at it as monetary value, some look at it as pushing your message and advancing culture. You can directly correlate that to the Hip-Hip game. You can use record sales/radio spins as your definition of success, or you can judge it on the influence of a particular artist/record on the overall Hip-Hop movement.
In the battle for having the best year in 2016, there’s only two guys that come to mind. Kendrick Lamar and Drake.
Drake is the mega star who is constantly in your ear, whether it be him dropping a mixtape out of nowhere like What A Time To Be Alive, along side Future. Or you can hear him about 56 times an hour on the radio with hits like Hotline Bling and Back to Back. The thing about him is that he’s not just on Hip-Hop stations, oh no, Drake’s records are being spun on Top 40 Stations, in other words, this guy has overcame the barrier that not many rappers can hurdle. For god sakes Drake is inked to Apple, APPLE! Yes, the biggest/greatest brand the world has ever seen, we could all wake up tomorrow and have Drake’s Views From The Sixth on our iPhones. Take a second to let that soak in, that’s ground breaking business. But if you ask me, that’s not going to be enough to overcome what Kendrick Lamar aka K.Dot has in store for us.
Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 will roll over into 2016 and it’s going to cause a downhill effect of political and self conscious thinking. With the unexpected release of his latest work Untitled, Kendrick delivered another body of art like we’ve never heard before. Have you noticed that every time Kendrick puts out an album it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before? It’s funky, fresh, original, and my favorite part about it is how infuses old school with the new school. That’s what I define as being successful, being able to be innovative and keep the overall message going.
Kendrick had the anthem for 2015 in his groundbreaking, politically charged song Alright. It embodied everything from that years events and he used his massive platform to bring even more awareness to the social issues affecting our communities today. From police brutality, to the Black Lives Matter movement, Kendrick channeled their energy and overall message and delivered it to the masses. They say you won’t live to see the changes that you want to see in the world, but Kendrick Lamar is definitely planting the seed. His music, his message, his intelligence, everything that Kendrick is will shine brighter than any other artist out there.
When you shine light on the issues affecting the communities you grew up in and bring awareness to just how messed up the world really is, you’ll eventually be considered the greatest. We need a voice that we can all relate to, someone we can rely on to carry the crown of the King Of Hip-Hop. You can have the record sales and be the most famous rapper in the world, nothing wrong with that. But in 2016, when the youth is becoming more socially aware, that doesn’t matter as much. You know what does? The ability to steer those same youth in the right direction, and no one is going to do that like Kendrick. 2016 will be his.