With the exception of Kendrick Lamar, the Rap/Hip Hop genre of 2012 proved to be more of the same household names rather than breakout artists. At one point I tuned into three separate radio stations to hear the same “insert song name” by “insert Young Money artist” featuring Lil’ Wayne and/or 2 Chainz. Please note that this statement isn’t a jab to YMCME as much as it is a mere observation and a testament to their influential stronghold on the industry. However, my honest opinion is the rap game became less creative with little progression as the year came to an end. Now that 2013 has arrived, there’s a certain song that takes us out of the luxuries of designer clothing and into the “Thrift Shop”. With a refreshingly new style and unique delivery, there’s no doubt that all eyes are now on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The stereotypical precedence of lyrical satire set by Eminem in 1999 (“Slim Shady”) parallels the witty work of these two young stars. I only hope their visionary progress goes beyond boundaries the same way E did in his later years.
Another artist to look out for this year is Jitta On The Track. This rising star from Connecticut has a poetic delivery that recaptures the lost art of lyricism and I have the upmost of confidence you will see his name for many years to come.
Similar to Rap/Hip Hop, nothing much new can be said about the Pop/R&B industry in 2012. The same names with the same styles we fell in love with dominated the radio waves and iTunes sales. At the end of the year Bruno Mars provided an “Unorthodox Jukebox” that was worth every quarter (or dollar in this day and age).
Now that 2013 has arrived, an artist has finally come back to give me what I’ve sorely missed. To the young cats that have heard Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” and say it’s something new, I would beg to differ. This hit is similar to something I would listen to back in the day while getting ready to go out to the club as a teenager. If you can paint a portrait using 112’s “Only You” and R.Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love”, the final picture would have me doing the snake like Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour” while putting on jeans, a black button-down shirt, and Obsession for Men. That figuratively was my suit and tie back in the days so I say thank you JT. On that note, I have a feeling that his new album will provide a mix between old and new school and I can’t wait.
While some genre’s remained content this past year, there was a significant movement in what I call a fusion of Folk, Bluegrass, and Rock. Delta Rae and The Lumineers provided inspirational albums and Mumford and Sons took live performance to another level. One can only predict that the rise of artists in this mixed genre will only escalate in 2013. There are two particular bands I have seen live that have my attention. Bronze Radio Return’s newest single “Further On” has recently been featured in an ESPN commercial for the PGA Tour and continues to gain recognition. Harper Blynn really took flight with their rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” and their latest hits have been featured on ABC’s “Revenge” and Showtime’s “House of Lies”. Both bands should be coming out with promising albums this year so I strongly suggest keeping an eye out for these artists.