Hip-hop is making history on the Billboard charts, but not in a good way. According to a new report from the publication, there hasn’t been a single hip-hop song or album that has topped the Billboard 200 or Hot 100 charts in 2023. The decline marks the first time in 30 years that hip-hop has been knocked off its top spot for this long of a stretch since 1993.
Last year, only six hip-hop artists — Tyler, the Creator, Future, Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T Gunna, and Lil Durk — saw top-charting albums, while Future, Drake and Tems’ “Wait for U” and Jack Harlow’s “First Class” became No. 1 singles.
Billboard theorizes that the decline is due to the “most popular and reliable artists,” like Megan Thee Stallion and Young Thug, not dropping new material due to mental and legal issues. Viral hip-hop favorites like Lil Durk and YoungBoy Never Broke Again have yet to reach crossover appeal. Pop and country albums like Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” and Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” have also seen lengthy runs on the Billboard Hot 100, unable to be knocked off by rap singles.
Artists with staying power, like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and J. Cole, were called “the Mount Rushmore of the 2010s” by Billboard, who says the rappers “are still going strong and outperforming the genre’s younger stars.” Minaj also caught wind of the sentiment on Twitter.
So how can hip-hop, also nearing its 50th anniversary, prevail during this questionable time? Billboard speculates that the genre could be nearing a dance-centric moment, while Latin music and EDM continue to rise.
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