July ‘23 Fireworks: No #1 Rap Songs For The First Time Since ‘93

It’s the 4th of July. We’re celebrating America’s Independence. Fireworks. Because that’s how fire works – it changes things. So what’s changing in America in 2023? 

There’s a weird stat that’s worked its way into my head and (I think) has a much broader cultural point:

As of June 2023, this is the first year since 1993 where no rap single or album has been at the top of the Billboard charts. 

There are lots of likely reasons – from the way the charts are calculated, to the influence of social media, to the “in the past 30 years has hip-hop ever even tried for a #1 the way pop stars do?”

All valid. 

But the most important point has to be – 

In the 40+ years the rap genre has existed, with 30ish years of the genre being acknowledged (charted), is hip-hop finally as baked into every other genre as rock? As jazz before it? 

I think so. 

Some critics do too. 

Hip-hop is in rock. It’s in country. It’s even in jazz now. And pop? Can you even tell the difference when we’re talking about chart-toppers these days? 

Popular stories become engrained in generations. As one generation grows up, their narratives alter the experience of the next generations. 

Call it a turning (Howe). Call it the next chapter in the tanning of America (Stoute). Just notice it is always happening, and usually concurrently. If we’re seeing it in music, we’re probably seeing it elsewhere too.