This brand new series of mine will help decipher who is the true commercial king of hip-hop at the time. Is it Drake? Is it Kendrick? Could Future sneak his way in? Who is the new kid destined to become the top dog? All these questions will be answered every other month by this top 10, which will take into consideration chart positions, commercial value and current relevancy as we find out who is the rapper on everyone’s lips at this moment in time? So without further ado, here is the March/April edition of the Hip-Hop Power Rankings.
10. Rick Ross
With his highly anticipated ninth studio album ‘Rather You Than Me’ being released on St. Patrick’s Day this year, Rozay has continued his legacy as a pop rap icon, going 15 years strong as a truly relevant artist. His longevity is unrivalled in this list and the commercial success he has enjoyed from his latest album has been right up there with his biggest to date. Lead single ‘Trap Trap Trap’ with Young Thug and Wale is a chart smash hit while ‘I Think She Like Me’ with Ty Dolla $ign is a slick hip-hop vibe track. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 which suggests that Rick Ross is far from a finished entity and he still has plenty left in the tank yet.
9. Lil Yachty
He’s announced his debut album, ‘Teenage Emotions’ and is releasing it on the 26th May. The cover prompted excitement and joy across the internet as it embraced all walks of life, from homosexuality to mental health sufferers. Lil Boat also released two singles alongside this announcement, the most successful of this being ‘Peek A Boo’ featuring Migos, a song which has charted well in America upon its release. Yachty could well leap above a couple of these names if his album is a success; if it is a failure, we could see the beginning of the demise for Yachty as a limelight artist. Only time will tell.
8. Joey Bada$$
He may well have released album of the year so far in ‘ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$’ but that wasn’t enough for him to dominate the charts quite like other artists higher in this list have. Nonetheless, Joey has seen a big push into the commercial limelight as a result of his album, with singles ‘DEVASTATED’, ‘LAND OF THE FREE’ & ‘ROCKABYE BABY’ have gained millions of plays over the last month and created a new radio-friendly sound for the New York Rapper. Despite this, don’t expect a rapper like Joey to feature regularly here, as he has his Lane of conscious rap which will bring its own fans.
7. Young Thug
Perhaps a harsh placement for Thugger seeing as he had two highly regarded features on Drake’s ‘More Life’ project, as well as a standout involvement on Rick Ross’ lead single ‘Trap Trap Trap’; but you just feel as though Young Thug will be soaring up this list for the next couple of months. The reason for this is the announcement and buzz around his “singing album” titled ‘Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls’ which has, according to Jeffery himself, been executive produced by Drake.
6. Lil Uzi Vert
Uzi’s remarkable claim that he was the equivalent of a hip-hop rockstar doesn’t seem too far-fetched given his persona and recent successes. Just when you thought he couldn’t top hits such as ‘Money Longer’ and ‘You Was Right’ he goes and brings us ‘XO TOUR Llif3’, a song which was influenced by going on tour with The Weeknd, pretty self explanatory really. It was and still is a top 10 hit in America, gaining tens of millions of streams every week. As well as this he’s recently hit 100 million Spotify streams on a few of his songs and has joined the upper bracket of rappers, easily becoming the king of new wave rap.
5. Travis Scott
As I predicted in my feature post a couple of months ago, LA Flame will not burn out and it’s still shining strong. Travis Scott gained a number one song and album recently with his 2016 release ‘Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight’ and corresponding single ‘Goosebumps’. He’s also witnessed his Young Thug collaboration ‘Pick Up The Phone’ go platinum and his colossal hit ‘Antidote’ go triple platinum in the last couple of months. His features have set alight too as he comes to life on Drake’s hit ‘Portland’ and SZA’s recent banger ‘Love Galore’. It’s been a huge couple of months for Travis and with two projects coming this year, don’t be surprised to see him rub shoulders with the elite in the forthcoming lists.
Is there any stopping these Atlanta trap lords? It started with ‘Bad & Boujee’, then came the album ‘Culture’ which was a phenomenon boasting hits such as ‘Get Right Witcha’ and ‘T Shirt’; and now they have collaboration hits all across the board. Their involvement on Calvin Harris’ smash hit ‘Slide’ is fantastic, they steal the show on Lil Yachty’s ‘Peek A Boo’ and they offer something different on Katy Perry’s ‘Bon Appetit’. Away from the group, Quavo has also seen success by providing a great verse on DJ Khaled’s sure to be summer smash ‘I’m The One’ and he has a collab project on the way with Travis Scott. Anyone who claimed the hype would fade is being forced to eat their words.
The only artist in chart history to be number one on the album charts in consecutive weeks with different albums. That is a quote stunning accomplishment and it moved Future from mumble rap pioneer to mainstream god. His monumental hit ‘Mask Off’ went platinum in record time for Future as well as topping the Billboard charts, its plain to see why this Rapper is now amongst the top of the game right now. It seems as though every couple of months Future drops a banger or two that soars up the charts so he will be a regular on this hot list.
He broke Ed Sheeran’s streaming records and still isn’t number one on this list. ‘More Life’ shook the earth when it was released and it completely dominated the charts, with ‘Passionfruit’ becoming one of the anthems of the summer already and remaining in the top 5 for the duration of its release. His ‘Boy Meets World’ tour has been gaining rave reviews as Drake performed to millions of people over its course, solidifying his spot as one of the biggest mainstream artists on earth at the present moment. His influence upon other artists and giving them the coverage they deserve has seen Drake gain more plaudits, particularly his work with Young Thug and UK Artists such as Skepta and Giggs. Chart dominance, huge influence and a name recognised universally, so how the hell isn’t he 1st? Well there’s still one man we are yet to talk about..
1. Kendrick Lamar
Remember those streaming records that Drake broke? Kendrick went on to break those with ‘DAMN.’ and as a result reclaimed his throne at the top of the rap game. ‘DAMN.’ now has the highest first week sales figures of any album this year and also has three top 10 singles already in ‘LOYALTY.’, ‘DNA.’ & ‘HUMBLE.’, the latter of which went to number one. He’s proved that he can not only be a role model and somewhat of a prophet with his words like he did with ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ but also has the ability to conquer the popular market by making chart bangers and slick hooks. If that wasn’t enough for him to be number one, the icing on the cake was his headline sets at Coachella this year, both of which were mind blowing in terms of the numbers he drew in to watch as well as his quality within the performance. Kung-Fu Kenny has also promised his fans plenty of feature verses on fellow artists’ projects this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed at the top for quite some time this year.