Don’t look now, but Rap appears to be the new Pop. That’s because for the first time in four years, the genre is dominating the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10, and the way they’re doing it this time is monumental. Thanks to Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty and Kyle rap will represent five of the top 10 songs, four years to the week since that feat was last accomplished.
What makes this time some special is the sonic makeup of the tracks in the Top 10. Back in 2013, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ songs “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Thrift Shop” landed at No. 2 and 3 respectively, PSY’s “Gentleman” came in at No. 5, Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera was No. 9 and Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” rounded out the Top 10 at No. 10.
This time around, Kendrick’s “Humble” and “DNA” come in at No. 1 and 4, respectively, while Future’s “Mask Off” is No. 5, Kyle’s “iSpy,” featuring Lil Yachty lands at No. 6 and Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour LIif3” is No. 10. The more pop friendly tunes of 2013 have given way to a vast array of rap sounds, including rap’s premiere talent Kendrick, as well as two of it’s surging up and comers — despite however much they may be detested by the old guard — in Uzi and Yachty. For Future, “Mask Off” is his highest charting song to date.
It continues a trend where grittier and more authentic rap i beginning to be appreciated by the masses, without chasing radio, meaning rappers don’t have to bend and contort their works to chase pop radio. Instead, they’re making songs that sound how they want, and are about what they want them to be about, and letting the radio and Hot 100 charts come to them and appreciate the songs for what they are.