Published Jan 05, 2017Hip-hop's generation gap was blown wide open in 2016, with young artists pushing the genre to strange extremes in a post-808s, post-BasedGod era. Predictably so, staunch defenders of Golden Age hip-hop's sound, style and legacy weren't on board. These five artists led the charge towards hip-hop's colourful and contentious future in 2016, whether the old heads liked it or not.
Lil Uzi Vert
A radio interview on Hot97 saw Lil Uzi Vert decline to freestyle on a beat from DJ Premier, ruffling the feathers of host Ebro Darden. Uzi then warned, "there's gonna be a lot of young guys comin' up here, and they ain't gonna want to rap on that."
Kodak Black's Lil B.I.G. Pac mixtape paid homage to both the coastal hip-hop icons in name and in its Ready to Die-inspired artwork. Any goodwill he had amongst the older crowd was soon lost when he proclaimed to XXL, "I'm better than Tupac and Biggie."
Indonesian MC Rich Chigga (born Brian Imanuel) learned English through watching rap videos, and only started spitting after losing a bet. While his stage name and clean-cut image caused a stir, his viral hit "Dat $tick" earned praise from Cam'ron, Desiigner and more, along with a remix featuring Ghostface Killah.
Whether for his enunciation or image, Young Thug has long been a target of new school detractors. This year, he continued to challenge the hardened masculinity of hip-hop's old guard by sporting a stylish androgynous dress on his Jeffrey mixtape. Never judge a tape by its cover.
The red-braided MC caught the ire of old heads when he admitted he couldn't name five songs from 2Pac or the Notorious B.I.G., promptly telling Billboard: "If I'm doing this my way and making all this money, why should I do it how everybody says it's supposed to be done?"