In My Opinion: The future of Hip-Hop

27 Jun

Hip-Hop isn’t dead. The torch is brighter now than it has been for years and young, exciting artists like A$AP Rocky, Meek, Big Sean and Earl look to keep that flame burning for a long time. And every one of those acts have one thing in common, a team.

Teams are great for Hip-Hop. YMCMB have proved that over the last few years. Not only do people want to see teams in Hip-Hop, they want to feel like they belong in those teams. So the brilliant marketing minds behind YMCMB come up with a stupid genius idea and decide to put out jumpers, t-shirts, £20 snapbacks; the lot. And the shocking thing is, people ate it up. People desperately wanted to become part of the team whose members put out revolutionary tracks such as Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe” and Lil Wayne’s, Pusha T diss “Goulish”.

But that’s the thing about teams. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how bad something is, people who identify themselves with that team will defend it. Fans pick sides during beefs like the epic underwhelming beef between YMCMB and GOOD Music, started by Pusha’s “Exodus”. And that can benefit Hip-Hop as a whole. People want to support their team by buying their records and merchandise, which is fantastic for the industry. The people who do may well be considered mindless consumers by others, but that sense of belonging to the team may really make some people happy…

To each his own.

Teams aren’t just for the fans though. They’ve got to be good financially for the people/labels they’re signed to. Birdman’s YMCMB make him so much money because having a team means he can get into every market. Tyga, Drake and Nicki Minaj are all very different artists, but between them they cover a massive proportion of the Hip-Hop and pop markets.

What’s more, teams support each other. If Big Sean needed a feature he wouldn’t have to pay the premium Kanye wants for a verse. And often when teams support each other, we get results. The first 2 singles from GOOD Music’s upcoming compilation album, “Cruel Summer” were brilliant. Kanye and co. killed “Mercy” and improved on Chief Keef’s already catchy “I Don’t Like”, and Odd Futures chaotic, disorganised live shows are a must see.

But sometimes teams mean great individual artists are overlooked. Odd Future can often seem like the Tyler and friends show and I have no doubt that GOOD Music releases favour Kanye’s schedule. This means really great rappers like Hodgy Beats (I really can’t hype this rapper up enough. Go get his Untitled EP… now) often get overlooked when they deserve to be standing out from the rest of their team. Even Big Sean openly voiced his frustrations about GOOD Music delaying his album on the “Say You Will” freestyle.

With the veterans now joining the bandwagon it looks like teams are set to play a massive part in the future of Hip-Hop. Joe Budden and Co. have teamed up to make Slaughterhouse and their first single from their “Our House” album, “Hammer Dance” was a relative success. Even Jay and Ye’s Watch the Throne is essentially a 2 man Hip-Hop team.

The days of Hip-Hop being compared to boxing, where individuals compete for the number 1 spot could soon be gone.


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