Between J. Cole dropping the album “4 Your Eyez Only” on December 10th, Childish Gambino dropping the album “Awaken, My Love” on December 2nd, Chance the Rapper receiving 7 Grammy nominations, and Beyonce having the potential to be the most winningest female in Grammy history with her nominations, the past couple of months have been pretty exceptional for black artists in the music industry.
Cole is a rapper from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He has been notorious for producing raps that speak on more than having sex with random girls and running game with his friends from the hood. He gives us real stories from his life on top of smooth beats that put listeners in a trance. Fans have hyped him up and compared him to rappers such as Tupac and Biggie. When word of new music from this artist hits the ears of listeners, the internet goes crazy. On his latest album “4 Your Eyez Only,” he has several songs that talk about the current problem the USA is having with its people of color and the mistreatment they have faced. The issue seems to have a personal meaning to him since the final song in the album, fittingly titled, “4 Your Eyez Only” tells a story of one of Cole’s friends who was lost to inner city violence. The entire album has such meaning and has a powerful message for all who decide to listen to his music.
Childish Gambino (also known as Donald Glover) is an actor, producer, songwriter, comedian and of course a rapper. He began his career in Hollywood as a writer/comedian making cameos on the TV show 30 Rock. He began to release albums “Camp”, “Because the Internet” and finally “Awaken, My Love” while engaging in different acting opportunities (Magic Mike XXL being one of them) and producing his own television show Atlanta. He is an innovator of his craft; when compared to other actors, comedians, and writers, he has made just as many important contributions, but at a much younger age. His newest album, “Awaken, My Love” has a sound that is similar to funk than the R&B/Rap that Childish Gambino has gotten his fans used to. As stated earlier, Childish is an innovator and nothing but astonishing things could be expected from him in the future.
Chance the Rapper is a new musician in the rap field that has made waves by his lack of interest in signing to a label. All three of the mixtapes Chance has released have been completely online through streaming websites. The 23 year-old began his musical journey while he was still in high school and has made it onto Childish Gambino’s mixtape, “Recovery”, and then album, “Because the Internet” as well as Kanye’s “The Life of Pablo.” With the work he did on Kanye’s album combined with his most recent mixtape, “The Coloring Book,” Chance the Rapper is nominated for seven 2017 Grammy awards. This makes history as the first streaming-only album to receive a Grammy nomination. It also breaks down barriers for all the the African American fans of Chance’s work, to see someone they admire and potentially look up to get recognized for his music and the integrity he has kept up throughout his rising career.
Other moves made by singers/rappers such as Kanye West, Drake, Rihanna, Beyonce and even her sister Solange have been very instrumental in making moves for diversity in the musical world. It is very refreshing to hear different types of music, especially music that is meant to empower the people who are truly listening. The world will continue to look for J. Cole, Childish Gambino, and Chance the Rapper to break the status quo of music. One thing, however, is sure: the 2017 Grammy’s will be one to watch!