Trending In Culture: Current Marketing Trends In Hip-Hop Culture (Q4 '23)
To say that 2023 has been an interesting year in hip-hop would be a huge understatement. Between the wave of dominance on the Billboard charts from female MCs, the reemergence of a few forgotten fashion trends, and the influx of podcasts and other media platforms dedicated to hip-hop culture—2023 showed us that hip-hop isn’t just surviving—it’s thriving in ways that it never has before.
This year, hip-hop celebrated its 50th birthday. And although the culture has now turned the big five-o, it is just as vibrant—and most importantly—as influential as it has ever been. Especially when it comes to positively impacting the bottom line of a myriad of brands around the world.
As we all know, by their very nature, trends change often. And they certainly change faster in the culture that sets the trends most adopted in mainstream societies all over the world—which is hip-hop.
With that in mind, our quarterly series, Trending In Culture, was created to keep you and your brand apprised of what is currently trending in hip-hop culture at the moment to help you have a better understanding of all things hot in hip-hop culture. And here's what's trending in the culture in Q4 of 2023.
Who’s hot in music
Since its inception in 1973, each year, cynics of hip-hop culture have predicted that whichever year they were currently in—it would be the year that hip-hop music would fall off and be supplanted by another genre of music—much like what happened to the disco era in the late 1970s.
And 2023 was no exception. Especially when for the first time since 1993, no hip-hop artist had landed a spot atop of Billboard’s hot 100 charts for the year (that’s until Latto reached No. 1 on the charts in July for her feature with Jung Kook for their song, Seven).
Unfortunately for the naysayers, they’ll have to wait another year to claim that hip-hop music is on its way out. Not only has hip-hop continued to take up prime real estate on the Billboard charts, hip-hop music has continued to influence every other major genre of music that is on the charts—even K-pop.
These are the hottest artists in hip-hop at the moment:
Drake — Historically, in hip-hop, the fourth quarter has always been reserved for album releases from the artists with the biggest buzz or those with the most popularity. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Drake—the biggest artist in hip-hop—chose Q4 to roll out his latest project.
As he wraps up his It’s All a Blur tour (which is on pace to become the highest grossing tour headlined by a hip-hop artist), Drake is just days away from the release of his highly-anticipated eighth studio album titled, For All The Dogs.
The album’s first single, Slime You Out, featuring SZA, is currently No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; making Drake just one No. 1 shy of tying Michael Jackson’s record for male soloist with the most No. 1 songs.
Latto — 2023 was a monumental year for one Alyssa Michelle Stephens, better known by the world as Latto. Even without having released an album this calendar year, the Georgia-based rapper has impressively made her presence felt on the streets, the charts, as well as social media by dropping hot singles of her own and killing every feature she's been on with other artists for their singles.
The video for her latest single, Issa Party, which features rapper Baby Drill, received over 150,000 views on YouTube the first day of its release, making it a strong follow-up to her previous single, the Cardi B featured, Put It The Floor Again, which has now received over 64 million views on YouTube.
Doja Cat — Prior to the release of her latest album, Scarlet, Doja Cat put the world on notice that she was out to prove to everyone that not only could she rap—she actually had bars. Now that the album has officially dropped, even some of the most hypercritical of hip-hop fans are admitting that Doja is nice on the mic.
Released on September 23rd of this year, the album’s first single, a lyrical and punchline-driven track titled, Paint The Town Red, has been the biggest song on the Billboard’s Global 200 for four weeks in a row; making it apparent that not only is Doja Cat a pop star—she’s also a mean MC.
Nicki Minaj — Speaking of mean MCs, many would refer to Nicki Minaj as being that for a couple of reasons. One being that she’s obviously a menace on the microphone. The other being that fans of other female rappers often accuse Nicki of bullying her competitors overtly on social media and also subliminally in the booth.
In any case, Nicki is set to make her competitors even more uncomfortable with the upcoming release of her long-awaited fifth studio album, Pink Friday 2. Which is set to drop on November 17th of this year.
Also, having not only hosted, but crushing it as a performer as well at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, Nicki is showing the streets that despite the wave of new female MCs emerging in hip-hop—Nicki’s reign as queen remains supreme.
Rod Wave — Rod Wave is a name that unless you’re a true fan of contemporary hip-hop and soul-trap music—you've probably never heard of. However, even the biggest Rod Wave fans may be surprised to know that he is the only rapper to have a No. 1 album in 2021, 2022, and now in 2023.
The St. Petersburg, Florida native’s latest album, the recently released, Nostalgia, is currently sizzling both the streets and the charts.
Sexyy Red — One of the many things that separates hip-hop music from any other genre is the fact that an artist could become famous in a very short amount of time despite not having been signed to a major record label—simply by dropping either a hot song or mixtape that catches fire in the streets.
In the case of Sexyy Red, both occurred. Which would explain her somewhat meteoric rise in popularity this year in the culture. The St. Louis Missouri native became this year’s breakout hip-hop artist by releasing multiple hot singles from the June release of her second mixtape, Hood Hottest Princess.
With over 8.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 70 million streams of her mixtape’s singles (Pound Town parts 1 & 2, SkeeYee, and Hellcats SRTs parts 1 & 2) alone on the platform—Sexyy Red is an artist that people can no longer dismiss as being a novelty act.
Lil Durk — Still buzzing from the success of his eighth studio album, Almost Healed, released in May of this year, Durk’s era of dominance and relevancy in the culture has shown no signs of coming to an end anytime soon.
His most recent feature on Sexyy Red’s, Hellcats SRTs 2, only solidifies the fact that Durk will continue to be the voice of the streets heading into 2024.
What’s hot in non-traditional media
If it wasn’t for hip-hop music videos being played on traditional media outlets like MTV’s YO! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City, hip-hop certainly would not be the predominant genre and culture that it is around the world today.
Unfortunately, daily television shows like those that highlighted hip-hop culture on major networks like MTV and BET are now a thing of the past.
Although mainstream television networks no longer have music video programs as they once did, thankfully, there are now plenty of non-traditional media platforms like podcasts and vlogs that have become extremely popular by embracing hip-hop music and culture.
These are the hottest non-traditional media platforms in the culture at the moment:
Club Shay Shay
It Is What It Is
Joe Budden Podcast
Million Dollaz Worth Of Game
My Expert Opinion
What’s hot in fashion
You don’t have to be Cathy Horyn to know that fashion has some of the most unpredictable trends of any industry in the world. It’s because of that unpredictability of trends and the ever-changing nature in the world of fashion—every season, fashionistas around the world look forward to seeing the latest and upcoming designs at seasonal fashion shows.
Now that fall is officially here, these are the hottest fashion brands in the culture at the moment:
What’s hot in traditional media
Due to The Writers Guild of America strike in Hollywood, many of the television shows that the culture have come to love and have been looking forward to premiering in August and September—have been pushed back. Now that the strike finally over, those shows are slated to return in the coming weeks and months.
Which is why although some of these shows have not yet aired this season, they are still favorites in the culture that are sure to remain the hottest once they do return:
Love & Hip Hop Miami
Power Book IV: Force
Power Book III: Raising Kanan
Hottest social media platforms
Whether you consider yourself as part of hip-hop culture or not, for the most part, we all pretty much frequent the same top social media sites. The only thing that really shifts in regards to social media apps used by the culture is their order of popularity at any given time.
These are the most popular social media platforms in the culture at the moment:
Once upon a time, not very long ago, one of the biggest aspirations for just about every young adult growing up in the culture was to one day be able to purchase the car of their dreams; and instantly put a nice set of custom rims on it.
Depending on how old you were and which car you dreamed of having, the rims you desired may have been chrome rims (20 inches and up), gold or silver Dayton rims, or they may have even been Spreewells (the spinning rims that were extremely popular in the early 2000s).
Custom rims were once such a staple in hip-hop culture, some of the biggest rappers in hip-hop recorded songs solely dedicated to their affinity for their favorite type of rims.
But much like gas costing under $3 a gallon, those days are mere memories. Today, especially depending on where you live, expensive custom rims are considered more of a burden by car owners than a prize—as car owners are now perfectly okay with riding on stock rims and tires.
Maybe it’s due to the rise in auto thefts in many cities across America, but whatever the reason, the era of expensive custom car rims is definitely something that is fading in the culture.