By Elesha Nicholls
The 2010’s was an amazing era that allowed hip-hop fans around the world to connect and interact with their favourite artists by just pulling out their phones. It was a time where popular rappers were dropping their mixtapes on websites and crashing servers, and new artists were getting their start by showing their skills on music sharing websites. This decade, though purely digital, wasn’t any much different from the previous decades but what made it stand out was how more acceptive it was to new sounds and up and coming artists.
© Tommy Boy | YouTube
French Montana along with his rapper friends “Coke Boyz” dominated the mixtape era for the first couple of years in the decade. Their mixtapes were always heavily anticipated with fans on social media gearing up to download the new release. The release of Coke Boyz 3 & Coke Boyz 4 on mixtape sharing site DatPiff, caused the website’s servers to crash with the amount of traffic it brought.
Signed a year prior to Lil Wayne’s new label Young Money, Toronto’s very own Drake would see his career take off with hits like Find Your Love and Over that dominated the charts. Drake’s success came by way of him being able to fuse his love for singing and rapping witty bars into a song. By the end of the decade he would find himself to be the biggest hip-hop superstar in the world.
Sub genres in hip-hop were always being created through the years. But Drill music coming out of the south side of Chicago definitely shaped the new sound of hip-hop in more recent years. Artists like Chief Keef, Fredo Santana, and G Herbo were the godfathers of this new sound that the world never heard before. It was raw and aggressive to some, but highlighted their way of life on the southside. By the end of this decade New York and the U.K would adopt this sound as their own.
© Drake | YouTube
Some of the biggest rappers today were discovered on music sharing site, SoundCloud. Rappers like XXXTentacion, Post Malone, Migos, and 21 Savage were making waves on the popular site by uploading singles or full mixtapes. With fans being able to share their music amongst friends, and running up views on their music videos on YouTube, these rappers got their big break all thanks to this site.
Rappers allowed their fans access to them by using live streaming websites and apps earlier on in the decade. Coming closer to the end of the decade, the easiest way to see your favourite artist live was by tuning into their broadcasts on Instagram. On Instagram LIVE, fans can leave comments in hopes that the artists will reply to it. It’s a great interactive tool to let fans in on new music and updates.
© Post Malone | YouTube
Physical albums were still around and were being produced but not in major quantities like they once were. Streaming was the new way to get your hands on new albums and counted to album sales for artists. Music streaming cut out the costs of buying multiple albums and instead, charged a low monthly fee to use the platform. Drake was the most streamed artist of the decade while Post Malone closed the decade out by being the most streamed hip-hop artist in 2019.
Female Rap for much of the decade was dominated by Nicki Minaj, but with social media platforms and music sharing sites more female rappers were able to showcase their talent and gain traction from around the world. The new girls were coming with new flows, killer style and were based out of different states around the U.S. Female rap was revived by the end of the decade and would see much commercial success with Cardi Bwinning a Grammy for her debut album Invasion of Privacy.
The 2010’s brought new technology to hip-hop fans to enjoy the culture digitally. The culture is always changing and adapting but the core values remain. The great thing about hip-hop is it’s yours to create. By the next decade we’ll see hip-hop change once again and we’ll be ready.