Hip-hop in 2017: What Happens in the Underground?

Over the years, global interest in rap music has risen exponentially. Since the very beginning, hip-hop has been a voice for the voiceless, combining political discourse with musical expression. Artists like Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest, J. Cole, Jamila Woods, Joey Bada$$, Anderson .Paak, and a number of others have released tracks and albums that are challenging the very way society thinks. At the same time, artists such as Syd, Noname, Mykki Blanco, Beyoncé, and Kamaiyah, have expressed themselves from the perspective of the female experience.

From Mainstream to Underground

photo by Paola Kudacki

Hip-hop was, and is, the genre that created a direct language that allowed to speak about what it’s like to live in a modern society. So, it’s no wonder it’s become increasingly popular over the years, in a world that’s been turned upside down more than once. This whirlwind not only made hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake some of the best selling artists in the world, but was also quintessential for hip-hop artists to network, ignite cyphers in the street and create names for themselves.

Worldwide, young artists made hip-hop their weapon. By easily adapting it to their own local cultures, they use it to express themselves – with statements blunt or eloquent, on anything that bothers their young hearts, from love and abandonment, to corruption and war.

Hip-Hop Trends of 2017 – Young Artists Taking Over

Progress is often a young person’s game. By keeping an eye on the younger generation in hip-hop, we can see who’s picking up steam, and what new trends are in the making. Let’s see about some of our favorites.

photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

You may know her from the Saturday Night Live season finale, when Chance the Rapper brought her out to perform Finish Line/Drown together – after a long hiatus Noname is coming back to build her solo career. Her delivery is one-of-a-kind, and her expressive language simply cannot leave you indifferent. Her last year’s debut Telefone gives reason to expect a lot more from this Chicago native.

Part of a Berlin collective, Austrian hip-hop artist Yung Hurn is being celebrated in both countries. His authentic music, known for ironic lyrics and spacey production – like the most recent single OK Cool, – landed him a spot the forefront of Europe’s rising Cloud Rap scene. However, he draws inspiration from entirely different genres in music – he’s known to give Tame Impala, The Beatles, and Falco to be his major musical influences.

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photo by Mina Melad

As we already said, hip-hop has become the voice of the voiceless, of the fighters, and there’s no better proof than the rising generation of Arabic rappers. Social and political restrictions in the Islamic world made it difficult for hip-hop culture to grow. But still, artists try to fight their way through. For example, the 22-year-old Mohamed Ehab, Egyptian rapper also known as Dawsha, truthfully describes his life and experiences with his music and his spitfire style.

What’s In Store for the Future?

No matter the fashion trends, honesty and authenticity will always find a welcome audience. As we can see, hip-hop goes different ways in different parts of the world, but what counts is the poetic power of this genre, it’s special ability to be heard through waves of social rage, and political turbulences. Being already one of the most innovative music genres in the world, hip-hop will keep surprising us with new turns and new artists.

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