The Rap Olympics: How Would American Hip-Hop Stand in a Global Music Free For All?

Photo by Terry Richardson

Over centuries of human achievements and innovations, the Olympics are probably one of the oldest and most celebrated events globally between nations. Honestly who can complain about a minor competitive rivalry between nations when the next alternative is a full on population annihilating, nuclear strike? As we yap over the sacredness of the flag and other American values, it just begs the question how would Americans hold up as a culture on the world stage?

Now with Hip-Hop creating this global web of influence from the airwaves to fashion, similar styles have sprung up literally in countries all over the world. Grime is most notably at the top of this list has almost the same parallel effect on pop culture in the UK as hip-hop has had in America to date. Taking a node from Dj Khaled, if we even had to create a super group from the current active list of rosters who exactly would make the cut?

Producer:

Without a sound you have nothing to work with so making sure you have a consistent tone is imperative. There are so many different sub-genres of musical beats and rhythms that picking someone who’s diverse enough to pull from different sounds would be most ideal. One obvious name would be Missouri native Metro Boomin, whose heavy bass influenced music has numb-skulled kids begging for more and more. Mike-Will Made It who hails from Arizona also has proven his producer chops by effortlessly creating chart toppers for extensive weeks. Going against Canadians 40 and producer Nineteen85 also proves to be tough competition from up north. Of course who can forget super producer Swiss Beatz? His collaboration on Yeezy’s “Famous” proves he still has what it takes to make an iconic smash hit.

First Artist

This spot has to go to the biggest artist in the hip-hop game right now. Memes float on the Internet of people dreaming of collaged fantasies of rappers like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and ASAP Rocky all on the same track. Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical feats continue to amaze critics from an artistic perspective. J. Cole still knows how to dig deep in everyone’s hearts while balancing a commercial friendly constructive conscience. Future can really turn up a party quite like no other. Assuming Drake reps Canada, we would have to go with Kanye for the top spot. He’s still the most influential hip-hop artist from America no matter how much of an asshole people think he is. Plus would one complain about having Kanye West in his production room? I think not.

Photography via MTV

Singer

Between boastful raps hooks are the icing on the cake that brings all songs together. A singer is a breath of fresh air for any hip-hop group and nearly every crew has one. Partynextdoor and The Weeknd are two popular options until their Toronto affiliations severed those ties. Kentucky native Bryson Tiller has a voice that makes everyone miss the love they never had but he still has a long way to go to show his range over different styles. On the female side, artist like SZA, and Syd The Kid have grown into huge success off the strength of their vocals. Still considered in the prime of his career commercially, R&B singer Chris Brown is still an undeniable force in music. He can sing in many different sub-genres and has already proven to be a global success as an American.

Photography via Yuri Hasegawa

Artist 2

You always need at least one other lyricist on a team in order to keep things balance. Two talented artists complimenting each other with two different personas wins everyone over. Future is hard choice not to choose here because his cadence is such a unique and popular attribute in music and his run with Kanye has been impressive. ASAP Rocky brings a certain raw unapologetic swag that also seems to have a lot of potential with someone like Kanye. However, Kendrick Lamar tends to show his muscle hardest when up against top talent. G.O.O.D Music signee Big Sean tends to always bring the best flows out of K.Dot in a strange way. The two artist together could be an impressive duo.

DJ

Without question DJ Khaled is slowly becoming a household name all thanks to his Snapchat notoriety where he shows us his hilarious life moments. On the production side of things he kills it commercially with his ear for good melodies and his aura of bringing all types of talent together. He triples his values by serving as a pretty good producer, respected Dj, and a entertaining hype man all in one. Notable nods also should be delivered to DJ Esco, DJ Clue, and DJ Drama. Drama has struck gold in managing the career of rising young talent Lil Uzi Vert as of late as well.

While theres no accurate way to create an analytical breakdown of hip-hop’s most efficient squad, this can at least get your mind racing. America may not be the best place to be but no doubt the birth of hip-hop out of the struggle has been a clear rose in the concrete for fans and artist alike.

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