Over the year, infamous events have taken over the hip-hop arena. Highs such as Drake and Meek Mill resolving their differences, and lows such as the highly reported events surrounding 6ix9ine have continued to shape the genre. Over time, platforms in and around hip-hop in various forms, have dissected, documented and helped inform such narratives. The likes of Angie Martinez, Charlamagne Tha God and Funkmaster Flex are huge examples of this.
2018 has been no different, as hip-hop culture and its interrelated platforms have been in tandem. MEFeater looks back on the best of these outlets of the year that have paved the way for the masses.
The Joe Budden Podcast
Joe Budden has arrived. The power-house creative is well and truly integrated into his new career-avenue. Crafting hot-takes on Twitter, into soundbites that have gained cultural currency, the speaker teamed with Spotify in order to finally house ‘The Joe Budden Podcast’. Over 2018, the podcast has been able to leverage exclusive, up to date interviews with the likes of Pusha T (that broke the internet), Vince Staples and more. Budden has inserted himself firmly within hip-hops contemporary history and shows no-signs of letting up any-time soon.
State of the Culture
Every successful figure needs a dedicated team around them to enable continuous wins. With ‘State of the Culture’, this exact principle manifested in real time. On the back of ‘Everyday Struggle’, Joe Budden and Sean Combs alike sought to replicate it’s magic on Revolt. After months of rumours, Revolt unveiled it’s offering to the table featuring Remy Ma, Brandon ‘Jinx’ Jenkins, Scottie Beam and Budden himself at the helm.
As the debut season progressed, it became apparent that the contributions from everyone brought the show to life. Jinx added his industry experience to the table, with Scottie it was her social justice and unapologetic-ally Black commentary, and Remy Ma chimed in with her controversial and morally questionable two-cents. The show quickly adapted to find its feet and shortened segments where possible, allowed for balance, and faced the topics of hip-hop head on in a candid format.
With Season 2 getting an instant green-light from the Revolt network, it’ll be interesting to watch #SOTC continue to unfold before our eyes.
Starting just over a year ago, HipHopMadness now boasts over 60,000 subscribers on Youtube. Going viral for their Kevin Hart Vs. Jamie Foxx roast battle, the platform covers everything and anything in the realm of hip-hop. However, their real USP is how they document the events that surround the genre in bite-sized chunks that account for the bigger picture. Their covering of Drake’s background before OVO for example, is nuanced, yet simple in its approach. In a fast-paced industry that quickly disposes of artists, it’s important to have spaces such as HipHopMadness to document the scene.
The epicentre of Hip-hop journalism is without a doubt DJ Booth. Putting pen to e-paper for years, the news and commentary outlet has undeniably changed the way in which Hip-hop is documented. The talent that sit behind the site are the engineers for it’s continuous winning streak across 2018. From pieces such as ‘The Art of Fragmentation in Rap Music’ by Donna-Claire to ‘Growing Old in the Trap’ by Yoh Phillips, Booth continues to lead the pack in high quality hot-takes and layered, case by case thinking.
The evidence of their weight in the industry came in the form of a phone-call that arrived in early December. Following Yoh Phillips emotive piece on Jay-Z (‘A Letter to My Unborn Niece: 13 Life Lessons from JAY-Z’), Jay-Z contacted the platform to let them know that he found the piece “beautiful.” Anyone immersed in hip-hop is highly aware of leverage that DJ Booth possesses at this point in time.
Being an industry heavyweight comes with knowledge, wisdom and ultimately insight; Karlie Hustle naturally fits this bill. Currently at Beats 1 as the music manager for New York, the talented businesswoman also fronts her own podcast. Covering socially conscious topics from a real-life perspective, Hustle expresses herself in a knowledgeable and well thought out format leaving hundreds of takeaways each and every episode.
The podcast also delves into health and poverty in malnourished communities and continues to wave the flag for self-growth and progression. One of the most intriguing episodes featured Ivie Ani (Episode 36 – [KLOWT]). The duo unpack the politics of 6ix9ine and the importance of legal terminology when discussing, reporting and tweeting about open and legally resolved cases.
Love him or hate him, Akademiks continued to establish his marmite brand throughout the year via social media. Still a core part of the ‘Everyday Struggle’ platform, the commentator continued to stick with the Complex owned brand and enable its existence. On top of this, the frequent tweeter kept us highly informed on the likes of Chief Keef vs 6ix9ine and chart-rumours over the year.
On top of this, Akademiks provided bespoke information to the masses in regards to hip-hop beefs, which saw him replicate the tactics of platforms such as TMZ. A specific example was in April. The news-informant leaked the original verse on ‘Motorsport’, exposing Nicki Minaj for lying about not changing her lines on the song. Akademiks may have his “corny” moments, but he’s been integral to hip-hop moments in 2018.
Interesting takes and great commentary places Okayplayer in our “Best” list. The fantastic words that come from the likes of Ivie Ani, Elijah C. Watson have led the platform to being central-points for the unpacking of topical issues. From the top of the year, impressive pieces have continuously gone viral and sparked discussions across various social media platforms. In June, Twitter was set alight by Watson’s piece on Vic Mensa titled ‘Black Skinhead: Vic Mensa And The Distortion Of The Skinhead Subculture.’ Throughout, he examines the origins of skinhead culture in Black communities during the Windrush era and how the trend manifested in other enclaves.
The most striking piece of the year comes from freelance contributor Andre Gee. His article ‘The Rise and Fall of 6ix9ine: The Boy Who Cried Clout’ gained instant reception and his powerful words on the Trap artist made their rounds across the inter-web. Okayplayer is consistent in holding acts, institutions and communities to account beyond their neo-soul origins and organising strong narratives across the virtual realms.