What do Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Peep, Lil Pump and Lil Xan all have in common? You guessed right, the star power and potential to completely dismantle your current top five dead or alive ranking. Millenials are forever indebted to Soundcloud for creating the careers of some of the best talent we have seen in decades.
The app has created an environment in which anyone, literally anyone, can share their music and jump start a flourishing career. This is how just about all of the “Lil’s” first displayed their musical debuts and built fan bases. That is of course discluding Lil Wayne, whose more than two decade long career in rap music is overrated and lacking of any real success. So he has gone platinum a few times, owns his own label, jump started the careers of countless other rappers and had more Billboard hot 100’s than Elvis Presley, but none of that matters now does it?
To be honest, none of those statistics live up to rainbow grills or being part of the Gucci gang. Regardless, Soundcloud has been just a small part of hip hop’s dramatic style shift. Instead of elaborate album trilogies like that of Kanye West rap music is all about the single now. Instead of detailed storytelling like J. Cole catchy part anthems rapped through a barely open mouth are welcomed.
Instead of looking up to rap icons like Tupac and Biggie, hoping to someday compete for G.O.A.T. status, it is about who is hot and who is not within the last 24 hours. The new, and obviously far better, era of rap music has begun. The big question many critics pose to this era of new artists is always, “What about the culture?” With all due respect, this generation is not concerned with rap culture unless we are talking about the album by Migos. Sure artists like G-Eazy and Post Malone use stylized rap to their advantage without actually addressing the urban culture behind hip hop. But their combined 22 hot 100’s shows this culture is irrelevant, right?
Social commentators like Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z can combined only boast 119 more hot 100’s than this due to their use of pop superstars like Rihanna and Beyonce. Without them their careers probably would have died along with the rest of rap’s has beens who were popular 10 years ago. Forget about the struggle, forget about studying from the greats, and forget about culture, it is time to embrace the unsung heroes of this new era of hip hop.
Soundcloud rappers who use their mother’s basement as a studio. Artists who mumble and yell rather than enunciate. White boys who label their music as rap when it is really poorly done pop. These are the type of artists who should fill your top five dead or alive charts. What’s that? Facts.