Hip-HopVibe.com Staff Writer
Quite a bit took place, during the summer of 2017, but Cardi B ended up being the winner. That says a lot in a summer where Chris Brown came ready for business, DJ Khaled put in his second straight career year, Future, Kendrick, and French did work. A lot of good music.
DJ Khaled put in an MVP year in 2016, closing the year by welcoming his baby boy, Asahd, to the fold. The minute 2017 rolled around, Khaled dropped a single with Jay-Z and Beyonce. As big as the song sounded, it didn’t perform well, but it set the precedent.
When the summer months hit, DJ Khaled got things in full gear for his album, Grateful. He launched the summer with “I’m The One,” his massive single with Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne. The song reached number one on Billboard Hot 100.
Similar to Jay-Z, one isn’t enough for DJ Khaled, he needs two, at least. Khaled went back in and joined sampled the classic Santana single, “Maria Maria,” which Wyclef produced. Tweaking the instrumental, DJ Khaled went about creating “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, helping cement the latter as a star.
Elsewhere, Future was coming off a 2016, where he dropped his album early in the year, in conjunction with Khaled to launch his Apple Music show. Since then, Future had only released one off singles, closing the year with “Used to This,” featuring Drake, which led his self-titled album. The record did well and Future released his self-titled album and then dropped the single, “Selfish,” featuring Rihanna, before dropping HNDRXX just one week later.
As summer approached, Future scored a massive hit in “Mask Off,” which rose to number five on Billboard Hot 100, by far the biggest single of his career. With the summer in full swing, Future delivered the official music video, definitely looking to make a huge impact. He did just that with Amber Rose cast as his leading lady, showing the evolution of his journey, over the past six years.
Meanwhile, few people were anticipating 2011-2012 phenoms, Kendrick Lamar and French Montana making any noise in 2017. In the case of Kendrick, he spurned his commercial appeal with To Pimp A Butterfly, which went platinum with no massive singles, and won critical acclaim. With Mike WiLL Made It, Kendrick Lamar formed an unlikely duo and delivered “Humble.,” the biggest single of his career.
Kendrick Lamar didn’t stop there, as DAMN. was released to strong commercial and critical success. He also scored a major hit in “DNA.,” which alongside “Humble.,” were used by the NBA during the 2017 playoffs. Ultimately, Kendrick Lamar would close the summer with his single, “Loyalty.,” featuring Rihanna, making her one of the summer’s biggest stars, with no singles of her own.
French Montana, on the other hand, saw so many reschedules on his debut album that it dropped in 2013. Having a penchant for making hits, French had one in “Don’t Panic,” but he never fully pushed it, and scrapped the album he had planned for it, turning it into a mixtape. Spending 2016 doing movies and other work, French was overlooked, in early 2017, as an artist.
Definitely, French had no hard feelings, as he just dropped a single when the summer approached. Once again, there was an unlikely duo, as French turned to Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee for his single. The single ended up being “Unforgettable,” and Swae Lee’s bellowing hook was addictive, pushing French to number three on Billboard, also making for the biggest single of his career, propelling his album, Jungle Rules, to its highest sales.
The success of French Montana highlighted a strong year for New York rappers, as Cardi B made her move. In 2016, prior to her second season on “Love & Hip Hop,” she told Ebro and company that she was done with reality TV, shocking the world. Cardi B, who was popular before the show, said she was leaving after season seven, to focus more on her music.
Cardi B began dating Offset and delivered her single, “Lick,” which made some noise in the early summer. Not long after her final “Love & Hip Hop” season ended, Cardi B signed a $10 million deal with Atlantic Records. When summer got into full swing, Cardi B released “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” which consistently climbed the charts, until it hit number one on Billboard Hot 100, making Cardi the leader of the new school.
Many people felt Cardi B kind of bit off Kodak Black, a fellow Atlantic Records artist, with “Bodak Yellow.” While that is up for debate, her momentum definitely surpassed his, as Kodak Black was the leader of the new generation. After a string of viral hits, dating back to 2015, leading up to features with DJ Khaled, Kodak Black scored his first radio hit in “Tunnel Vision,” a definite banger, where he tackled the cultural injustices, in the music video.
As always, the South is dominating the game, and 2017 saw Migos continue their run, as C U L T U R E finally dropped. Following the success of “Bad & Boujee,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, which topped Billboard, Migos were in need of another hit. When the warm weather approached, Migos delivered “T-Shirt,” a song that became an anthem as the early part of the year began.
The success of Migos showed there was a permanent shift to this new generation, cemented by Cardi B having her success, also topping Billboard, doing so in historic fashion. Much more poignant about the summer of 2017 is how longtime stalwarts, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Meek Mill mostly watched from the sidelines. It is a fact of reality that all artists must face, but it wasn’t Chris Brown’s fate, in summer 2017.
Chris Brown has become so consistent that he is easily overlooked, even when listening to his singles, and knowing the songs word-for-word. A lot of time has passed and Chris Brown is now considered the veteran, but he did not disappoint, closing 2016 with “Party,” a club banger featuring Usher and Gucci Mane. When 2017 hit, Chris Brown delivered “Privacy” and it quickly became a hit.
While Chris Brown has yet to deliver the album, he has delivered another big record, “Pills & Automobiles,” where he passed the torch to the newcomers. The track features rising stars, 2016’s phenom, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Kodak Black, one of 2017’s prominent up-and-comers, alongside Yo Gotti, who is also experiencing a career year. A lot of people were somewhat surprised by how Yo Gotti came back.
Yo Gotti was a year and a half removed from the success of “Down In The DM” success. The song became the biggest of his career and cemented him as a household name. When the second half of summer began, Yo Gotti revisited his project with Mike WiLL and dropped “Rake It Up,” featuring Nicki Minaj, who has silently been on the verge of a comeback, and delivered an action-packed, cash-filled video, complete with a Blac Chyna cameo.
Despite Nicki Minaj mostly being a background player in 2017, she showed her power, as her verse helped Yo Gotti finally crack the Billboard Hot 100’s top ten. Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj faced a lot of pressure, as Remy Ma jumped on her to kick the year of 2017 off. After playing nice for three years, following her prison stint, Remy took the gloves off and handed Nicki one, forcing her to defend her title.
Already, Remy Ma re-established herself as a household name, alongside Fat Joe. In 2016, they scored a huge summer anthem with “All The Way Up,” but they waited until 2017 to drop their album. To promote the album, they released another major record in “Money Showers,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, which became a pretty big record for the duo in the early warm months of 2017.
All in all, the summer of 2017 has marked a year of transition, showing a lot of new blood truly establish themselves as big names. Best of all, the likes of Fat Joe and Jay-Z still managed to come through with some records that were big and not just due to name recognition. In the middle of the summer, Jay-Z dropped 4:44 and got people to really think, but Cardi B kept climbing, and made those same people hit the dance floor, where they have yet to leave.
Bruno Mars is hip hop’s resident pop star, first showing up on B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You,” back in 2010. In the seven years since then, he’s continued bringing big records. None of those records matched “That’s What I Like” and the impact it’s had on 2017, similar to The Weeknd gifting the year with “I Feel It Coming.”
Given the genre-blending, it’s hard to complete the list without shoutouts to Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry for delivering some big crossover records that hip hop enjoyed, as well. Also, Maroon 5 is in this list, delivering “Cold” with Future, as is Charlie Puth. Then, there’s SZA keeping R&B alive, alongside Kehlani, Travis Scott doing his thing, continuing to make big records.
One of the craziest stories of summer 2017 belongs to Tay-K and his rise to fame with “The Race,” while actually being on the run. Find some of the top videos from the summer of 2017 in our list, in no particular order.
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