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Predictions for 2004

I never really liked year end wrap-ups so I didn't spit mine out there or read anyone else's (though if I did I'd be sure to follow the 8 simple rules). So instead of looking back, I'll courageously predict the trends that will shape this new year in hip-hop! I seemed to have gotten the reggae thing right, so maybe I'll get lucky again. Let's go-

1. More Hip-hop Concerts and Tours- especially from the midlevel acts who make great music and almost go gold. Expect mid-sized and small venues who have traditionally booked only rock acts to drop their fears of violent crowds and open their doors to roving hip-hop groups. The untold story of 50 Cent's popularity is that he has been touring incessantly since before "Get Rich..." dropped. He went on the road with the Clipse, then Eminem, then Jay-Z, then his own with G-Unit. Journalist dummies- it's not just the mixtapes and Eminem that made 50 so big last year. But even if the magazine writers haven't caught on I'm sure the artists are paying close attention.

Also, indie groups such as Atmosphere and Blackalicious have sold thousands of units and broke onto MTV through the buzz their live shows created. So in 2004 expect your favorite rapper, underground or otherwise to hop on the bandwagon, literally.

2. The "Regular Dude" is Born or The "Backpacker" Returns - People are buzzin about Kanye West's College Dropout album not because of his flow (which sounds amateurish half the time) or his soulful beats, but because of what he's saying on his debut. He doesn't talk about guns and selling crack, yet he's not a usual "positive" or "conscious" rapper- Kanye admits to enjoying fast cars and going to strip clubs. But he's no p.i.m.p. either. Instead, he has a song about Jesus and lines that confess that he and his industry counter parts stunt not out of confidence but insecurity. He's a regular dude, like me and you. And expect to see more of them signed by record companies this year. Common has already ditched his neo-soul persona and girlfriend and plans to return to his "Can I Borrow a Dollar" days on the next album. Joe Budden was marketed as a hip-hop "everyman" by Def Jam who saw the light on this emerging trend a months ago. Yeah, Joe didn't do well in sales but that was because of his lackluster beats and inability to tour (see prediction 1) due to throat problems.

These guys and others will spark the "regular dude" trend which will resemble the anti-glam, grunge trend in rock years ago. The press will mislabel this as backpacker rap, but it's not.

3. The Mixtape Will Rule- With the album format dying due to digital downloads of single songs, expect to see a (continued) rise in the popularity of mixtapes and bundled hits like the Now That's What I Call Music! series. The first music download store to offer the ability to create your own mixes to share (like Amazon.com's Listmania) will be blessed.

My only hope is that DJ's will get away from the dominance of the DJ Clue style exclusive mixtape and get back to the thematic mix of songs like P Cutta's Street Wars series and Green Lantern's Throwback Classics.

That's it. So what are your predictions?

January 3, 2004 in Commentary | Link Me | Related Searches | Related Music

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Tracked on Jan 4, 2004 3:40:57 PM


Happy 2004, bro. I like your predictions.

Prediction 2004: Hip-Hop Blog Network will be launched.
(yeah, that was easy.)


Posted by: Trent at Jan 3, 2004 10:26:10 PM

Madison! Good stuff! How funny... I've been working on a list of future happenings -- mostly long-term stuff -- but still focusing on the future. Keen observations you make.

Posted by: eric at Jan 4, 2004 4:12:27 PM

Some good insights into what might happen this year but I'd still be curious as to what moved you from last year :-)

Posted by: ian at Jan 5, 2004 10:56:34 AM

Great list yo. And I'm with you on the mixtapes, I've been telling folks they role since '02. Why buy albums when you can have mixtapes, not only with the latest joints, but with freestyles too. Mixtape awards are tomorrow - what are your predictions for that?

Posted by: lynne at Jan 14, 2004 2:22:05 AM


Posted by: big nigg at Jan 13, 2005 7:43:16 PM