4 the Culture: Rap has Officially Become the Most Popular Genre in Music

According to 2017’s End-of-Year music report conducted by Neilson.com, Hip-Hop music has officially surpassed every other genre when it comes to consumption. While this is not exactly new news, the statistics behind this observation are, in fact, groundbreaking.

R&B/Hip-Hop represented almost 25% of all music consumption within the United States. This is by far, the largest share and the first time that Hip-Hop has led the charts for a full 365 days. The popularity of R&B/Hip-Hop was powered by a 72% increase in on-demand audio streaming. Subsequently, rock music came in second place, landing just shy of 21%. With this year’s surge in music streaming the overall consumption of songs, albums, and audio grew to 12.5% over the past year. As music becomes even more digitized, there was a plummet in overall in-store album sales. Although some may have mixed feelings about music being streamed from phones instead of bought in stores and listened to on radios, the numbers prove that consumers of today would much rather pass the aux, than tune into their local radio station.

In 2017, Ed Sheeran ruled the charts (for a second year) with his third album Divide – shifting a whopping 2,764,000 album equivalent units. However, albums by Kendrick, Drake, Bruno Mars, Post Malone, Migos, The Weeknd, and Khalid did similar numbers, making the list dominated by R&B and Hip-Hop artists.

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. recently ranked in a BBC ‘poll of polls’ as critics’ favorite album of 2017 and was also the second-most-popular among music fans, only a little behind Ed Sheeran in sales with 2.747m album equivalent units. Viral hits such as Lil Uzi Vert’s XO Tour Llif3, Future’s Mask Off and Post Malone’s Congratulations ranked among the 10 best-selling tracks of last year. Rap up-and-comers Cardi B (Bodak Yellow) and Migos (Bad and Boujee) each spent multiple weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 with their respective singles, while four of the five Grammy nominees for album of the year were R&B or Hip-Hop artists.

After observing all of these statistics, it’s undebatable that Hip-Hop has not only come a long way from the corners and alleys of the Bronx but has also become a birthplace of new sounds and sub-genres which make up its broad spectrum. The beautiful thing about Hip-Hop is that the future of it is unpredictable, so it will be interesting to see what tops the charts in 2018!


KHEEEZUS, also known as Khalia Iris or LiiaFamouszx (on Myspace) is a 23-year-old DJ and content creator from Brooklyn, NY. Khalia is a proud Howard University Alumna and lover of all things Hip-Hop. She likes to dabble in fashion too from time to time ;-) Check her out: http://soundcloud.com/kheeezus | IG + Twitter: @Kheeezus

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