The end of the year comes with an ultimate tallying of wins and losses endured throughout the past 365 days.
For hip-hop artists, consecutive wins on the charts and on the ‘gram can translate into monumental career years. In 2019 artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, Lizzo and, Saweetie achieved successes that will be noted as career-changing. As 2020 approaches, however, the opportunity to takeover is open to multiple acts. The potential to lead Hip-Hop movements entering the new decade relies on each act playing to their advantage. There is a possibility that rappers who currently hold the crown will continue to reign supreme, however, a few rap-stars have the conceivable chance to make 2020 synonymous with their stage names.
Below are 10 hip-hop acts projected to win big after the ball drops.
“Yung Miami held me down, that’s a bi** ace” raps JT on her “First Day Out” freestyle and no truer words were rapped in 2019. The Miami duo faced a potential setback as JT entered prison as their ascension began. From festival stages to feature verses, Yung Miami delivered her feisty bars growing in skill each go-around. As JT finished up her sentence, Yung Miami carried a child. Her daughter, Summer Miami, was born closely following JT’s early release. Now, the rap group has the potential to produce another hit with the dominating caliber of Act Up, and with both members ready, they have free-range. Their first track released since JT’s release and Yung Miami’s pregnancy You Tried It sets the tone for an upcoming year of unabashed music. With the Quality Control machine behind them, City Girls have the potential to make 2020 a banner year.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion took the world by storm in 2019, gaining a large fandom in a short period of time. Her ‘Hot Girl Summer’ mantra took over an entire season. While newer hotties, as she affectionately calls her fans, gained familiar with Megan Thee Stallion’s 2018 mixtape Tina Snow, the Houston artist delivered Fever, a mixtape heavy in bars and bops. After a solid year of viral freestyles, concert stages and driving the boat, Megan Thee Stallion is ready to release her debut album.
“I felt like my mixtapes were me flirting with my fans,” she said. “I never wanted to do an album ’cause I was like, ‘Oh, that feel like a marriage. That’s a commitment.’ But now, I’m ready to settle down with an album.” says Megan Thee Stallion in conversation with NPR.
The metaphorical comparison of her album to life-long vows solidifies that in 2020, Megan Thee Stallion means business. As she continues to improve with every verse, the thus far untitled album is sure to contain heat that could only come from Texas.
Positioned to release her anticipated album Nightmare Vacation Rico Nasty is due for a mainstream breakthrough. The DMV-bred artist consistently delivers across multiple landscapes. From music to merchandise to performances to fashion-shows, Rico Nasty brings her kinetic energy through various mediums. Musically, her 2019 collaborative project Anger Management with producer Kenny Beats took listeners through a range of emotions and sounds highlighting Rico Nasty’s lyrical abilities. The 2019 XXL Freshman needs one major hit to reach the next level and if she follows her own footsteps, 2020 the world will dwell inside the sugar trap.
If any single rapper won the 2019 trophy, DaBaby makes the strongest case and at his pace, he could easily go back-to-back. In 2019, DaBaby delivered not one, but two complete albums and earned two 2020 Grammy nominations for his hit single Suge. Beyond his rap skills, DaBaby’s charisma and gleaming gold grin keeps him at the forefront of mainstream Hip-Hop power players. Whether he’s channeling that energy to an on-stage performance such as his late-night takeover of Saturday Night Live or meeting excited fans, DaBaby sets his own pace and wins every time.
Billboard reports during DaBaby’s Toronto show, Drake hit the stage, surprising the audience and announcing a collaboration between the two. With all things working in the Charlotte rapper’s favor, a Drake cosign can push DaBaby’s 2020 to be just as successful as the year before.
and haven’t dropped a song of my own since 2018 ?? https://t.co/Bg7gGIacQx
— black (@6LACK) November 26, 2019
While 6LACK did not release a solo project in 2019, a handful of artists showcased his penchant for words. he self-proclaimed “R&B nigga with a Hip-Hop core” effortlessly delivers flawless blends of the two genres, creating a unique sound. In just 2019, the Atlanta artist made appearances on music with Snoh Alegra, Wale, ScHoolboy Q, Summer Walker, Kehlani, Tinashe and more. With such a strong presence on other artist’s projects, fans await a full-length from 6LACK who last delivered East Atlanta Love Letter in 2018. In these cases, the addition of 6LACK takes average songs to stand-out collaborations. Slated to perform during Pharrell’s Something In The Water Festival 2020, 6LACK may have new music on the way. The floor is open in 2020 for 6LACK to deliver an album, mixtape or EP full of the personal tracks fans keep on repeat.
Mulatto has a quiet banger on her hands with Bitch From The Souf, but a remix featuring Saweetie and Trina may help the catchy-track pick up steam. Just as her female rap contemporary and now collaborator, Saweetie did with her breakout hit Icy Girl, Mulatto can use this song to reach new heights. On Bitch From The Souf Mulatto’s simple but impactful bars match the beat perfectly as her southern accent adds flair to her delivery. Beginning practicing rap music at a young age, she won Queen Latifah and Jermaine Dupri-produced Lifetime reality TV rap show The Rap Game at age 16 under the Miss Mulatto tag. 2019 saw Mulatto release both Hit The Latto and, Big Latto, two projects that cement the abandonment of her teenage persona. Now at age 20 and dropping the ‘miss’ from her stage name, Mulatto has the opportunity to ride a wave and push through to mainstream audiences.
Adding a new sound to Florida music, Rod Wave and his Ghetto Gospel took music fans by surprise. Executive produced by Kevin Gates, the debut project from Rod Wave explored the underlying beauty in pain, vulnerable singing about the traumas of his past. During an interview with XXL, Rod Wave cites Kanye West, Kevin Gates and Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie as artists who shape his musical tastes. The 21-year-old artist continues to rack up YouTube views and grows his audience every release. Cuban Links a standout track from Ghetto Gospel featuring Kevin Gates earned over 31 million views and counting. At this rate, Rod Wave is grounding his sound and solidifying loyal fan-base, two things needed to blow-up.
Proving she’s much more than a meme, Doja Cat’s popularity grew in 2019 as she delivered lyrically strong songs with captivating music videos to back them up. Doja Cat’s slow but steady rise to mainstream conversations comes with evolution in sound. Now operating in her prime, Doja Cat sits on Hot Pink, her sophomore album with playful lyricism and buttery flows that glaze each beat. Doja Cat frequently explores multi-genre sounds fusing Hip-Hop, rock and R&B, sometimes on the same song. As pop stars like Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Post Malone continue to push the genre-bending agenda, Doja Cat perfected her own unique sound. With both songs that are fun to listen to and videos that are fun to watch, Doja Cat can take Hot Pink and expand her horizons, setting 2020 up to be her best yet.
Earning a Grammy nomination for “Best Rap Album” for his debut work is an accomplishment in itself however YBN Cordae can only continue to rise. YBN Cordae came out the gate ready to lap the entire rap-game. On The Lost Boy fans new and old to experience a fully formed YBN Cordae, flaws and all. Though the album has a few eager missteps, YBN Cordae holds his own next to artists such as Pusha T and Meek Mill. Win or lose come the 2020 Grammy Awards, being nominated can introduce YBN Cordae to a new audience offering the opportunity to capitalize on the platform. As he continues to mature, 2020 can prove to be game-changing for YBN Cordae.
After gifting the world with Whack History Month in 2019, we can only anticipate Tierra Whack has been quietly working on more musical gold. During the months of February and March, the Philadelphia rapper released a new song and video across 5-weeks. Not many artists of any genre have perfected the short-song like Tierra Whack and as streaming makes the under 3-minute cuts more popular, Tierra Whack’s intricate, concise style remains supreme. Whether her 2020 offering comes in the form of singles released across a 28-day time period or a full-length album, Tierra Whack has already proven she has what it takes. We just have to sit and wait patiently for her to unleash.