Hip Hop, or “Rap” as it is more commonly known, is officially turning 50 years old later this August. According to hip/hop historians, the genre’s conception dates all the way back to Aug. 11, 1973, when a couple of friends spawned one of the most popular and influential movements in music history. New York native, DJ Kool Herc, real name Clive Campbell, along with his friend, Coke La Rock kickstarted the beginning of Hip/Hop. At the time, both of the 18-year-olds lived in the Bronx and decided to host a “back to school” party at the end of the summer. That August night Campbell caused a shift in music culture and catalyzed other artists like Africa Babaataa, GrandMaster Flash, and the Sugar Hill Gang to inspire future generations of artists.
In the 50 years since the birth of hip/hop, the genre has traversed and navigated through various different subject matter, flows, styles, production changes, and countless personalities. What makes hip/hop truly special is the community it has built. The ebb and flow of different ideas in the hip/hop community, and new innovations in music production have created a never-ending cycle of inspiration among artists. Hip/hop symbolizes an entire generation’s worth of African-American influence on the entire world. Because of this community of like-minded, and diverse artists, hip-hop is more accessible to fans than ever before, and 2023 has the potential to be another landmark year in hip/hop.
So far in 2023, hip/hop and rap fans have already received projects from a number of upland coming artists like Ice Spice, with her EP Like.. ? featuring her hit songs “Munch (Feelin’ U)” and “Bikini Bottom,” which have combined for over 90 million streams on Spotify. She’s also featured alongside PinkPanthress on the song “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2” which has amassed over 200 million streams on Spotify, quickly establishing herself as one of the predominant female rappers in the genre. The Bronx artist has impressed so much that she’s even been anointed “princess of rap” by hip/hop legend Niki Minaj.
Another artist who exploded into the mainstream is Michigan native, BabyTron, dropping his EP Out On Bond as well as his highly anticipated album, Bin Reaper 3: New Testament. His satirical punchlines, production style, and off-beat flow has captured the hearts of rap fans around the globe. In his short career as a rapper on the internet, Tron’s following has already reached over 1,700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. This year, hip/hop fans have also been given projects from artists who have already etched their names into their hip/hop history books. Artists like Logic who unexpectedly released his album, College Park, and other artists like Key Glock, who dropped Glockoma 2, the follow-up to his 2018 album, and Conway The Machine’s Pain Provided Profit have been some of the most exciting projects to release in 2023.
There are also expected projects from the likes of hip/hop legends J. Cole with the highly anticipated sequel to The Off-Season. Expected to release later this year, It’s A Boy, will be the second album of a three-part trilogy ending with The Fall Off. Virginia rap legend Pusha T is also gearing up for the follow-up release to his hit 2022 album, It’s Almost Dry, pairing up alongside legendary producer DJ Drama. Pusha T discussed the duo’s upcoming project Gansta Grillz in an interview with XXL Magazine back in December.
Other projects due to release in 2023 include Music by Playboi Carti, the elusive project that fans have been clamoring for ever since he dropped the album, Whole Lotta Red in December of 2020. Philadelphia native, Lil Uzi Vert is also expected to drop The Pink Tape, which has already garnered a massive amount of hype among hip/hop fandom in recent months with the release of singles like “Just Wanna Rock”. Dropping a project in 2023, alongside his fellow 2016 XXL Magazine freshman, fans can also expect Travis Scott to bounce back onto the scene. News on his upcoming album, Utopia has been quiet. Although he hasn’t released anything, he has made appearances on several different projects within the past year, plus a rollout of billboards advertising the project should put fans’ worries at rest.