What a year hip-hop has had in 2017. There have been incredible album releases both surprise and anticipated, hit songs that captivated the public and emerging artists who helped the genre continue to grow and evolve.
In addition to all of the incredible music released and consumed in 2017, artists made waves for moves outside of the booth as well. Record sales and high chart position may be the numbers that drive the music industry, but artists locked down monumental business ventures, pushed charitable and philanthropic initiatives and even completed pursuits of higher education—achievements that further the hip-hop community as a whole.
Chance The Rapper Wins Grammy Award for Best New Artist
In addition to being active on the musical front, Chance has been one of the more outspoken MCs when it comes to matters pertaining to his community, resulting in the rapper being honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2017 BET Awards. Presented by Walmart, the Humanitarian Award highlights those who have lent their voice and platform to affect change within the Black community and beyond, with past recipients including Muhammad Ali, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Quincy Jones, and Al Sharpton. From helping spearhead the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge with former President Barack Obama to his pledged to donate $1 million to Chicago public schools, Chance The Rapper put on for his hometown throughout 2017, as well as the hip-hop community as whole.
Future Becomes First Artist to Release Two No. 1 Albums in Consecutive Weeks
Nicki Minaj Breaks Aretha Franklin’s Billboard Hot 100 Record
Eminem’s Curtain Call Becomes Longest Charting Hip-Hop Album in History
Big Sean Awarded Key to Detroit
Honored for his contributions through his Sean Anderson Foundation, as well as his Mogul Prep program, the hometown hero posted a message on Instagram showing his gratitude for the accolade.
“Today I got one of the highest honors a person can receive, the key to the City Of Detroit,” Big Sean wrote. “The mayor said he’s given it to 3 people… Stevie Wonder, Berry Gordy, and Me. I’m the youngest person to receive this in the history of the city!”
Big Sean, who has stayed active in his community, would also be honored by Project Knapsack after 20,000 knapsacks filled with school supplies were donated to children in need in his foundation’s name, another example of the platinum rapper’s charitable nature.
Drake Sets Record at Billboard Music Awards
Wyclef Jean Inducted Into New Jersey Hall of Fame
Tupac Shakur Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
“While many remember him now as some kind of thugged-out superhero, 2Pac knew that he was only human,” he said. “To be human is to be many things at once, strong and vulnerable, hardheaded and intellectual, courageous and afraid, revolutionary and—oh yeah, don’t get it fucked up—gangsta.”
After delivering the speech, Snoop was joined onstage by Alicia Keys, YG, Treach of Naughty by Nature and T.I. to perform a medley of ‘Pac classics that included “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” Ambitionz As a Ridah,” “Changes,” “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” “Hail Mary” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” The first solo rap act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2Pac joined a list of members that includes seminal rap groups the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and N.W.A.
JAY-Z Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame
Ice Cube Honored at Hollywood Walk of Fame
“You know, you don’t get here by yourself and when you’re coming up doing music, movies, just trying to be creative, you never figure you’ll be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one day,” Cube said during his acceptance speech. “So today is not really about Ice Cube, it’s about all the people who helped me get here.”
Joined by his N.W.A. group members Dr. Dre. MC Ren and DJ Yella, Ice Cube became among the first wave of rap artists to receive the honor and continues to be a trailblazer in hip-hop.
Hip-Hop/R&B Becomes Most Dominant Genre in U.S. for First Time in History
Cardi B MAKES BILLBOARD HISTORY
Diddy Honored With Hollywood Documentary Award
Swizz Beatz Graduates From Harvard Business School
Lil Uzi Vert Earns 2018 Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist
Kendrick Lamar Honored With Hitmaker of the Year Award
“To own and hone in the title of a hitmaker means a lot because we put a lot of time and a lot of effort [in the studio],” Kendrick told the crowd. “I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to evolve and let me make these weird ass songs that y’all like. These songs represent me and who I am. I want to continue to push that envelope and hopefully I continue to have y’all ears to do so.”