The controversial rap group Dead Prez once made a song that was an underground hit (Hip-Hop), mostly due in part to repeating the chant, “It’s bigger than hip-hop” in the song’s chorus. But when it comes to the culture most responsible for setting trends—not only in the U.S., but around the world—there is none bigger than hip-hop culture.
Much like the stock market, hip-hop culture often shifts significantly every quarter. Which has certainly been the case with some of the changes regarding the hottest trends and brands within hip-hop culture from Q3 ‘22 to Q4 ‘22.
As a culture, the only sure thing about hip-hop—is that constant change is imminent. Which is one of the reasons the culture many thought was just a fad at its inception—has been able to remain so resilient and influential over the last fifty years.
So, for the final quarter of 2022—let’s get into what’s trending in the culture.
Who’s hot in music
There was once a time in hip-hop, when some of the biggest artists in the genre relented the first three quarters of the year to other artists—just so they could release their album during the most lucrative quarter in retail—the fourth quarter.
And while that strategy has become far less prevalent in recent years, in 2022—it seems to be making a comeback; as some of the biggest hip-hop artists are slated to release new albums in Q4 2022.
Overall, 2022 was a very good year for many hip-hop artists as it pertains to sales, streams, and views. Unfortunately, for most of those artists—only those that are the hottest at the moment could make our list. These are those artists:
GloRilla – In every industry, trends are a lot like waves. Those fortunate enough to hop on the right wave, at the right time—are often able to ride that wave onto the shores of success. And those that fail to see the wave coming—often get wiped out.
At this moment in hip-hop, the biggest wave in the genre is the resurgence of female rappers. In fact, there has never been a more fortuitous time in hip-hop to be a female MC.
Sitting atop of that wave at the moment is Memphis rapper GloRilla. Fresh off her 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards win for ‘Best Breakthrough Hip Hop Artist,’ GloRilla scorched both the spring and summer with her anthem F.N.F (Let’s Go), along with her recent collaboration with fellow female MC Cardi B on the song Tomorrow 2. The success of both songs has only increased the anticipation for her debut album titled, Anyways, Life’s Great, which is set to be released on 11/11/22.
Youngboy Never Broke Again — You’d have a hard time finding a hip-hop artist that had a better year than Youngboy Never Broke Again. In 2022 alone, the Baton Rouge rapper released a total of five projects. With his most recent, titled, 3800 Degrees, currently blazing the streets—it should come as no surprise if 2023 winds up being an even better year for Youngboy.
Quavo and Takeoff — As a trio, the Migos have been the quintessential hip-hop group of the 2010s—having ushered an ultra-modern style into the culture that’s been replicated by countless rappers—helping the group drop multiple platinum albums in an era where even an album going gold is a rare occurrence.
While rumors of a Migos break up made headlines this year (which all members deny), two of the group’s members, Quavo and Takeoff—recently released their debut album as a duo.
The album, titled, Only Built For Infinity Links, has been one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums of the year. And if things go as the pair plans—they’ll soon be back to a place that they’re very familiar with—which is on top of the Billboard charts.
Kendrick Lamar — Prior to this spring, it had been five years since Kendrick Lamar released his last album Damn. And every year since, hip-hop fans around the world have been anticipating his next album to the point that possible release dates for the project became mythology within the culture.
Fortunately for his millions of fans, Kendrick finally delivered on their demands in 2022 with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, his final studio album on Top Dawg Entertainment. The album was met with rave reviews by core hip-hop fans as well as the media—helping Kendrick secure trophies for BET’s Hip Hop Awards Album of the Year and Artist of the Year.
Lil Durk — You simply cannot create a list of the hottest artists in hip-hop at the moment without mentioning Lil Durk. It’s his era in hip-hop at the moment, we’re just witnessing it.
Tory Lanez — The lines between hip-hop and R&B music have never been more blurred than they are today. One of the artists that has helped blur those lines is Canadian rapper/singer Tory Lanez, whose seventh studio album, Sorry 4 What, released on September 30th—is currently being heralded as a masterpiece by both hip-hop and R&B fans—putting an even bigger spotlight on Lanez for his hit-making ability (no pun intended).
Lil Baby — Days away from the upcoming release of his third studio album, It's Only Me, Atlanta-based rapper Lil Baby has only helped build the buzz for the project, as well as increase his popularity in the culture, with the premier of his film, Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby, which was released on Amazon Prime this summer.
Nicki Minaj — Already rated the top public school in the country, officials from University of California, Berkeley may have bolstered that rating even more when they recently revealed that the school will be offering a semester-long course dedicated to Nicki Minaj.
Although the course will focus on hip-hop and feminism, one could make the case that an additional class on the Queens, NY rapper should also be offered to students. But that class should focus solely on her marketing prowess. Due to the fact that no female rapper in hip-hop history has remained as relevant to the culture as Nicki Minaj has over the last twelve years.
And 2022 was no exception, as Nicki added to her list of number-one singles with the success of her smash hit Super Freaky Girl.
What’s hot in non-traditional media
One of the great things about hip-hop culture—is its ability to adapt to the times. No matter the changes in society or technology—the culture finds a way to adapt and capitalize off of it in one way or another.
One of the biggest changes in recent years, has been the emergence of non-traditional media platforms; which hip-hop has also begun to take full advantage of.
These are the hottest non-traditional media outlets in the culture at the moment:
Fresh & Fit
Million Dollaz Worth Of Game
My Expert Opinion
Off The Record With DJ Akademiks
The Pivot Podcast
What’s hot in fashion
You’ve probably heard the term “Fashion is fickle” countless times before. That’s because it’s so true—especially in hip-hop. Fashion trends and brands that were in vogue last month—could get you laughed at today if you weren’t aware that it's no longer in style today.
With that being said, these are the hottest apparel brands in the culture at the moment:
The North Face
What’s hot in traditional media
Fall is always an exciting season for those that really enjoy watching a good series—either on a weekly basis or binging all episodes at once. And although we may not always watch shows the same way we once did—in our living rooms or bedrooms—as opposed to on our PCs and smartphones, we still find the time to watch the shows that interest us.
These are the hottest shows in the culture at the moment:
Power Book III: Raising Kanan
Hottest social media platforms
It’s time for us all to face the facts, as a society—social media has become a staple in most of our lives. Wherever we go, it’s there. Whether it’s when we’re at work. In class. Out shopping. At the gym. Or even when we’re out on a date—social media follows us everywhere, demanding our attention—to which we often capitulate.
And while everyone may have their own favorite, these are the rankings for the most popular social media platforms in the culture at the moment:
If you’re reading this, you’re probably old enough to recall the last days of a brand that once pioneered the prevalence of social media networking in America today as we know it—Myspace.
Looking back, as a social media site—Myspace was far ahead of its time. So much so, that if you could look back at your old MySpace page today (if you had one), you’d probably wonder how a site that most of your peers had an account on—could fall so fast—to the point where no one you knew had one anymore…in less than five years after you first discovered it at that.
Well, unfortunately, it appears as though the brand that helped expedite the end of Myspace’s reign of relevance; Facebook (Meta)—is now at the precipice of meeting a similar fate.
As crazy as it may seem, Facebook as a brand, has appeared to reach its zenith, and is now on the decline as it pertains to the brand’s popularity within hip-hop culture—even as the brand remains the biggest social media website in the world, with an estimated 2.9 million MAUs (monthly active users).
Despite the popularity of Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram—Facebook as a brand itself—doesn’t resonate with the culture as it once did. The navigation experience on the site—is very reminiscent of the last year of navigating Myspace when it was on top of the social media sphere. The only difference between the two brands at this point (besides Facebook’s capital advantage) is the fact that Facebook doesn’t have a direct competitor to assist in ending its reign on top.
Fortunately for Facebook, when it comes to trends—they could always turn back around. By next quarter, Facebook could find its stride and the culture as a whole, could feel how we once felt about the brand when we initially discovered it. But at the moment, it seems as though Facebook, as a brand—has officially fallen off.