The month of April has been quite a rollercoaster ride for rap music enthusiasts. Whether it was through pop culture news or new album releases, rap music stayed a topic of conversation in the news cycle, and rightfully so.
1. Cardi B makes her mark
It seems as if it were just yesterday that everyone was indulging in the head-bobbing anthem “Bodak Yellow” when it was released in the summer of 2017. However, when rapper Cardi B released her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, on April 6, she outdid even herself. Not only did the she receive stamps of approval from celebrities such as Green Day, Oprah Winfrey and Sean “Diddy” Combs, but the album also shattered some major music records, some of which include breaking Apple Music’s streaming record, which was previously held by Taylor Swift.
The Bronx rapper also charted 14 songs simultaneously, breaking two of Billboard’s records for their Hot 100 list and Streaming Song’s charts, beating out Beyoncé’s Lemonade record. No stranger to the entertainment world, Cardi B says she is here to stay as she continues to work on new content while also nesting to prepare for her new family addition.
Okay so i might be off from doing performances for a couple of months but in the meantime imma be working my ass off .So many songs, features to do .Working on a lot of deals i sign up for and most importantly nesting .I️m already overwhelmed from the new work😩— iamcardib (@iamcardib) April 26, 2018
2. Kendrick Lamar makes history
Just days after the albums one-year anniversary, Kendrick Lamar makes history by being the first hip-hop artist to receive a Pulitzer Prize in music for his album DAMN. According to the New York Times, "Lamar is not only the first rapper to win the award since the Pulitzers expanded to music in 1943, but he is also the first winner who is not a classical or jazz musician." Although Lamar's album lost to Bruno Mars 24K Magic in the 2018 Grammy’s, the 14-track album broke barriers by providing a wide range of sounds while also proving the art behind musical storytelling.
3. J. Cole addresses addiction
Rapper J. Cole kept fans in the dark since the release of 4 Your Eyez Only in 2016, however when he announced a first come, first serve concert in New York on April 16, fans knew something was coming. That same night he broke the news on Twitter that his latest album, KOD, would debut on April 20. The album with three meanings, according to Cole, has since claimed the title of breaking Apple Music's 24-hour streaming record, having the biggest opening week of 2018 and being the number one album on Billboards 200 chart. Cole not only addresses multiple manifestations of addiction, but he also did so by sending a substantive message.
4. Meek Mill returns
The hashtag #FreeMeekMill became reality for fans on April 24 after Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill served nearly five months in prison due to violating his probation. According to CNN: "In 2008, Meek was convicted on gun and drug charges after he was arrested for illegally carrying a gun while walking to a corner store. He was sentenced to several months in prison and was released early with five years' parole." Since then, Mill has been convicted on numerous occasions for violating his lengthy parole. Many fans and celebrities have stood by Mill during this time seeing as though his convictions were seen as controversial. Due to his extended probation, his latest violation of "reckless endangerment" for popping wheelies and not wearing a helmet while driving his dirt bike in New York, left many to question whether his conviction was just.
Although social media credits Beyoncé for her saying "In the hood, hollerin', 'Free Meek'" in the recent hit "Top Off," make no mistake that Meek Mill is now a free man due to recent knowledge of Reginald Graham, the police officer who arrested Mill in 2008, being named as a police officer with ill intensions. Mill celebrated the first night of his release by attending a 76ers game with friends. He also released a statement on twitter following his release.
To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) April 24, 2018
In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) April 24, 2018
Mill’s full statement: "To the Philly District Attorney's office, I'm grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don't have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues," he tweeted. "In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career."
5. Kanye West talks politics
Chicago rapper Kanye West sent twitter into a frenzy due to statements he made regarding his views on politics. Although West is known for making controversial statements, many fans were dismayed by his assertions and support for President Trump while criticizing fellow Chicagoan and former President Barack Obama. The rapper tweeted the following:
Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
But, he and twitter didn't stop there. After West tweeted pictures of him in his “Make America Great Again” hat, fans became disapproving. So much so his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and celebrities such as John Legend and Chance the Rapper stepped in to express their thoughts on the matter. This prompting a conversation about the intersection of politics, free thought and influence as a public figure. West has since released a new song titled, "Ye vs. The People" while also promoting new music and projects set to release later this year.
To the media trying to demonize my husband let me just say this... your commentary on Kanye being erratic & his tweets being disturbing is actually scary. So quick to label him as having mental health issues for just being himself when he has always been expressive is not fair— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 25, 2018
Black people don’t have to be democrats.— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 25, 2018
I love that great, brilliant artists have the power to imagine a better future. But artists can't be blind to the truth.— John Legend (@johnlegend) April 25, 2018