In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been no shortage of blockbuster releases from rap’s heavyweights and emerging talent. In particular, the past years have seen a number of rap’s newest stars taking the industry by storm and staking their claim on the charts while crafting definitive bodies of works.
There’s no further testament of that than DaBaby, who released an acclaimed three albums — Baby on Baby, KIRK, and Blame It On Baby — within just a few months of each other to extend his indomitable run into 2020.
Fresh off the success of her Fever mixtape, Megan Thee Stallion returned with Suga, which further bolstered her position at the upper echelons of hip hop. Amid a busy start to the new year, in a least-expected moment, Roddy Ricch put his name up at the top as one of rap’s most promising talents with the release of his debut album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. And, that’s just a sample of the enormous talent that will be celebrated at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards, which will air on BET on October 27 at 8/9c.
Here’s a look at all of the rap’s brightest stars who are nominated for Album of the Year.
DABABY — KIRK
You can’t argue that DaBaby isn’t one of the hardest working rappers on the scene right now. In just a few short years, North Carolina-bred MC has become one of the most popular artists in hip-hop. He barreled his way into the mainstream collective consciousness with his smash hit, “Suge,” off of his well-received debut, Baby on Baby. In what would’ve been a tough act for other artists to follow up, DaBaby kept the hot streak going with his sophomore effort, KIRK, nearly seven months later. This earned his first No.1 and the 28-year-old hasn’t let up since.
DABABY — BLAME IT ON BABY
Whereas others might have rested on their success, DaBaby further extended his unstoppable run into 2020. In April, he released his third studio project, Blame It On Baby, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. In a further testament to his growing star power, the album bumped The Weeknd from the top spot upon its debut, which is no small feat. As evidenced by his smash hit, “Rockstar” DaBaby is slowly but surely on the way to becoming one of rap’s next generation leaders.
FUTURE - HIGH OFF LIFE
Future’s spot as one of the most influential rappers of his generation is cemented. With a musical output that far outstrips most of his peers, his signature AutoTune-laden sound has reshaped not just rap music but also pop music; a testament that was further proved when the Atlanta trapeteer made his return with High Off Life. His first album since 2019’s The Wzrd, the 21-track album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This marked his seventh chart-topping album and notched him another career milestone.
LIL BABY - MY TURN
Similar to DaBaby, Lil Baby has had a remarkably fast rise to the top.There is no shortage of musical achievements that the Atlanta-bred MC has accomplished in the past three years. The 24-year-old rapper’s career took another turn with the release of his full-length album, My Turn, in February. As it was a premonition, the album was a marquee moment for Lil Baby. It garnered him his first No. 1 album, which he held in position for five weeks, and was the most popular album from January through July, according to Billboard.
Few other artists have had a bigger breakout year than Megan Thee Stallion, who has been steadily burning up the charts with her cocky, unapologetic anthems. And 2020 was no different for the Hot Girl leader. In spite of a dispute with her label, the Houston rapper dropped her EP, Suga, and it further showed off Megan’s ingenuity, lyrical prowess and affinity for tapping into pop culture zeitgeist with creatively-titled tracks like “Captain Hook” and “Savage.”
In a least-expected moment, Roddy Ricch set himself apart as a front-runner of the rap’s next gen. In December of 2019, the 21-year-old Compton rap artist dropped his highly anticipated debut studio album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. Upon its release, the album rapidly took over the Billboard 200 chart, catapulted by the viral success of “The Box,” where it became the longest-running No. 1 debut rap album in nearly two decades since 50 Cent’s 2003 seminal Get Rich or Die Tryin’, according to TIME. The single, “Ballin” earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance.