As we edge closer to the end of 2021, we look back at the most talked about moments in Hip Hop this year;
THE DONDA ROLLOUT
Kanye West can never be accused of humility. For the release of his highly anticipated 10th studio album DONDA, Ye treated fans to splashy festivals and moments of intrigue that captured the culture for months on end. There were the album listening sessions in stadiums to sold out crowds, a theatrical renewal of wedding vows with Kim Kardashian, bits with him setting himself on some kind of fire, the release date delays followed by an unexpected drop. He also went icognito with a mask for all the shows. A LOT happened for that album rollout. Are we surprised? No. Kanye West is the culture.
RELATED: INSIDE THE DONDA LISTENING SESSION
NAS GRAMMY WIN
It's hard to believe that a dynamite like Nas has had to wait decades to bag his first Grammy. 2021 became the year that finally came with the flowers for the G.O.A.T, who is revered for influencing the entire Hip Hop landscape as one of the certified greats. Nas walked away with the coveted Best Rap Album Grammy for his 13th studio album King's Disease. The big triumph comes after 14 Grammy nominations in total, which came with no joy. The culture welcomed the win as a moment in history, with a deserving legend finally getting a nod for his contributions.
REST IN PEACE DMX
Less celebratory was the passing of Rap legend DMX, who's passing sent shock waves across the planet in April 2021. Real name Earl Simmons, the famed Hip Hop native was reported to have succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 50. A certified titan, DMX became the first ever artist to debt an album at #1 five times consecutively on the Billboard 200 charts. His solid discography also garnered him sales exceeding 74 million records throughout his career. Rest in Peace DMX.
JAY Z HALL OF FAME
Rap icon turned billionaire Jay Z is certainly an over-achiever. Having cemented his place atop the throne of Hip Hop greats, with many giving him the disctinction of possibly being the best rapper of all time, and killing it securing bags in business, his work is now honoured beyond the scapes of Hip Hop. On 20 October, Jay Z was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where his two and a half's worth of excellent records and cultural influences would be on display. It's no surprise; the 52 year old's pioneering innovations have led constant shifts in Hip Hop so often that his stamp of approval on anything is a currency.
CERTIFIED BOY LOVER COVER
Drake's highly anticipated 5th studio album is without a doubt one of the year's most talked about sensations. One, because it's Drake. He's built a blockbuster career packed with anthems and stadium fillers. Secondly, the rivalry between him and Kanye West certainly dominated conversations in Pop culture through the year. And if the quality of the tape itself left many divided on whether the fave is losing his touch, the interest marketing tools surrounding the project were enough to help him become the most streamed artist of 2021. Those tactics included an album cover that featured emoji illustrations of pregnant women, perhaps to hop in on a brutal diss we won't get into here. The style of the cover became another viral sensation for Gen Z, brands and clout chasers.