Trending In Culture: Current Marketing Trends In Hip-Hop Culture (Q2 '23)
Seasons aren’t the only things that change every ninety days or so. Trends in hip-hop culture also change during that time span as well. But not just trends—brands, artists, and even media platforms that were hot in the culture last season, could easily become an afterthought amongst the masses in the culture this season.
If one of your brand’s objectives consists of appealing to consumers within hip-hop culture (which it should be), it is imperative that you and your brand stay aware of what is currently trending in the culture. Which is why at Decryption, as representatives and advocates of hip-hop culture—we created a quarterly series (Trending In Culture) to help your brand do just that.
Without further delay, these are the hottest trends, brands, artists, media platforms and television shows, that are currently trending in hip-hop culture for Q2 ‘23.
Who’s hot in music
Although Q1 2023 was relatively quiet as far as album releases from hip-hop’s heavy hitters, plenty of artists still rode high from their q4 2022 releases, as well as made their presence felt within the culture by dropping hot singles and crushing features on other artists' projects.
In the era of music streaming, today’s artists—especially in hip-hop, are able to take full advantage of the fact that, thanks to YouTube and streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal—the shelf life of a hot album or song has been greatly extended.
In spite of the fact that none of these artists have dropped a complete album so far this year—the residual effect of heat they dropped last year, as well as their moves outside of the booth are the key reasons why they are currently the hottest artists in hip-hop:
SZA — There aren't five artists on the planet currently hotter than SZA is at the moment—regardless of genre. The 2023 Billboard Woman of the Year award winner, is still riding high from the huge success of her latest album SOS, which spent 10 weeks atop the Billboard charts and is now certified platinum.
Also, tickets for her SOS Tour (which ended March 23rd and reportedly sold out every show) were some of the most coveted items amongst consumers in the culture. And while she’s mostly known by the masses as a singer, true SZA fans know that she’s definitely a hip-hop artist. The hottest one in the world at that.
Nicki Minaj — In the history of hip-hop, there has never been a more opportune moment for female rappers. And over the last 13 years, Nicki Minaj has reigned as the undisputed queen of hip-hop. Regardless of the influx of competitors entering the rap game.
The latest single from the Queens, New York native, Red Ruby Da Sleeze, is currently sitting atop Billboard’s hip-hop singles charts—serving as a reminder that although many female MCs have come for her throne—Nicki is still thwarting all challengers.
Ice Spice — Speaking of the hip-hop monarchy, a new princess of hip-hop was recently crowned by queen Nicki herself. And that princess is one Isis Gatson. Better known to the world as Ice Spice.
Released January 20th of this year, Ice’s debut EP, Like…? was welcomed by fans with both open arms and ears mostly due to the success of its singles Munch (Feelin’ U) and In Ha Mood.
Not only that, her recent collaboration with Pink Pantheress on their hit song, Boys a liar PT.2 (which now has over 236 million streams on Spotify), has made one thing apparent—Ice Spice won't be cooling down anytime soon.
Lil Baby — Since the release of his debut album Harder Than Ever, back in 2018, Lil Baby has consistently remained relevant in the culture. Whether he has new music out or not—his endorsements deals with brands like Reebok, Rap Snacks, Axe, and most recently, Rockstar Energy (which resulted in a commercial that aired during this Super Bowl LVII) has helped keep Lil Baby lit.
But make no mistake, the reason why he's been able to secure all of those endorsement deals is because of the success of his music. His latest album, It’s Only Me, debuted number-one on Billboard’s top 200 charts when it was released in October of last year and is still in heavy rotation in the streets.
Metro Boomin — One of the many perks of being the hottest producer in hip-hop is that not only do you get the opportunity to put out an album of your own—plenty of big named artists jump at the opportunity to be featured on it.
As is the case with hip-hop’s hottest producer—Metro Boomin’s second studio album titled, Heroes & Villains.
The album, which debuted number-one on the US Billboard 200, has remained in heavy rotation in the streets since its release in December of last year. Putting other producers as well as the world on notice—Metro Boomin wants some more.
Drake and 21 Savage — Already hugely popular in their own right as solo artists, Drake and 21 Savage joined forces late last year to release their collaborative album Her Loss.
The album (which was one of the most streamed hip-hop albums of 2022) has been such a success—Drake recently announced that the duo will be touring together this summer. Driving fans in a frenzy trying to find the cash to pay for the tickets—which will reportedly cost a pretty penny.
EST Gee — Regardless of how instrumental hip-hop has become in cultivating pop culture—hip-hop will always belong to the streets. And when it comes to the streets—Louisville, Kentucky’s own Est Gee, is most definitely one of the hottest rappers in the game at the moment.
Finesse2Tymes — Given the amount of views that his music videos receive on YouTube, you wouldn't be able to tell that Finesse2Tymes has never released an album. But it's true. However, his freestyles and mixtapes have supplied the streets enough heat—that his debut album is now one of the most anticipated projects in hip-hop this year.
What’s hot in non-traditional media
There was once a time, not many years ago—if you were to ask a hip-hop fan what their favorite podcast was—they would probably question if you had a social life (sounds crazy, I know). But as previously stated, things change very quickly in the culture.
And the stigma that once came along with being a listener of a podcast is definitely something that has changed quickly—for the better.
These days, if someone couldn’t name a hip-hop podcast that they listen to—they’re the one that would now be perceived as being out of the loop. Podcasts have become extremely popular in the culture. With the following being the hottest at the moment:
Club Shay Shay
Joe Budden Podcast
Million Dollaz Worth Of Game
Off The Record With DJ Akademiks
Say Cheese TV
The Art Of Dialogue
What’s hot in fashion
You can’t mention present day fashion trends without mentioning hip-hop. That’s due to the fact that unequivocally—hip-hop culture is paramount in determining what is trendy in the world of fashion.
In the ever changing world of fashion, these apparel brands are currently the hottest in the culture:
What’s hot in traditional media
Most hip-hop historians would tell you that—at least from a lyrical standpoint, the golden era of hip-hop music was from the late 80s to the late 90s. However, when it comes to programming that appeals to hip-hop culture—we’re currently witnessing the golden era of television.
More than ever before, there are television shows spread across various networks specifically geared towards hip-hop culture. Amongst the many shows—these are the hottest in the culture at the moment:
Godfather Of Harlem
Power Book II: Ghost
Wu Tang: An American Saga
Hottest social media platforms
One of the most consistent trends when it comes to social media, is that once a social media platform is embraced by the culture (besides Myspace and Black Planet), that platform typically remains relevant within the culture for at least five years.
The most dynamic aspect when it comes to social media apps—is where they rank as far as their popularity within the culture at any given time. These are those rankings at the moment:
Last December, a brand that was adored by millions of people around the world—especially those within hip-hop culture—announced that it was ending its business operations. Causing many fans of the brand to reminisce on fond memories and the impact it had on their childhood.
That brand is Eastbay—the mail-order catalog that was extremely popular in the 90s.
Before the term hypebeast was even a thing, sneakerheads turned to Eastbay (which many referred to as a magazine) to help them stay informed as well as purchase the latest sneakers and athletic apparel.
While it is totally understandable how the emergence of sneaker blogs and websites have made catalogs like Eastbay irrelevant to consumers, Eastbay finally shutting down serves as a forewarning of the inevitable fate of something that many people currently take for granted—magazines.
Long gone are the days when if a brand wanted to be seen by fans of hip-hop, all it had to do was place an ad in publications like The Source, Vibe, and XXL. Since the emergence of hip-hop as a preeminent force in popular culture—magazines that were devoted to hip-hop have always played a huge role in uplifting the culture.
But today’s hip-hop fan rarely reads hip-hop magazines—let alone purchases them. Which is why as it pertains to hip-hop—magazines are definitely fading from the culture.