NEW YORK - 2022 was a banner year for Hip-Hop in many ways. All the clubs were open, there was a full schedule of concerts and tours, and exciting new music from established and emerging artists. There were some tragic goodbyes as well, as the culture looks towards its upcoming 50th anniversary.
Hip-Hop female artists like Glorilla, who debuted her first EP are going hard with her bars and beats. Bronx native Ice Spice got a thumbs-up from Drake after her hit song "Munch" went viral. Hip-Hop's biggest stars like Future and Kendrick Lamar made their mark too, says Billboard's Deputy Director, Carl Lamarre.
"This was a great year overall. It was great to see the heavyweights come out like a Kendrick Lamar, who had a five-year hiatus, to see him come back with a new album and tour and rack up eight Grammy nominations. It lets us know real rap is still appreciated," Lamarre said.
While Hip-Hop dominated the charts, there was tragedy the community had to endure. The murder of Migos superstar Takeoff, who was an innocent bystander in a Houston, shooting, stunned and saddened millions of fans around the world.
Carl Lamarre says, "I think we lost somebody who was an underrated specimen with the pen and who had so much more to give to Hip-Hop and music."
The deadly armed robbery that took the life of PNB rock was another inescapable reminder that no matter how famous or successful, the threat of gun violence is everywhere.
Hip-Hop artist Albee Al, says, "Losing one of my friends in the game, PnB Rock, it makes me feel like do you ever really make it? Like PnB Rock he made it in the music, made it out of his hood, moved to Cali, was living his life."
Albert Robinson, better known as rapper Albee Al, was recently released from Bergen County Correctional Center after pleading guilty to a charge of pointing a weapon at someone, according to his attorney, Jay Surgent.
Albee Al says a new deal with Empire records is giving him the chance to trade New Jersey's most dangerous streets for a recording studio.
Albee Al says, "I change my negatives into a positive. I am a real success story. I'm a product of my environment. I'm not only changing my life, but others as I go along. I've got a story to tell. I'm just a kid from the projects with a story to tell."
Hot 97, DJ Drewski pulled off one of the year's biggest surprises when he brought out Cardi B on the Summer Jam Festival stage. The multi-platinum superstar jumped on the song with drill artist Dougie B, and the crowd went wild.
Drewski says the Hip-Hop subgenre of drill continues to thrive, despite concerns about violence. The New York and New Jersey scene is expanding with artists like the multi-faceted Ron Suno, Atlantic records' 22GZ, Brooklyn's Ciggy, Blacc, and AMG records, baby ATM.
Atlantic records artist Sha, EK celebrated making Billboard's Heat Seekers chart with a dinner at a Midtown restaurant.
DJ Drewski says, "It's still going, we're still getting young drill artists, we're still getting artists like DD Osama who is 16, 17 years old, signed to major record labels off of drill music."
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