2018 has been jam-packed in terms of musical moments. New album releases by Drake, J Cole, Post Malone, Father John Misty, Arctic Monkeys and Cardi B have kept us all glued to our respective streaming services and the emergence of Hip-Hop as the dominating genre (as EDM was in 2017) have changed the popular music landscape. However, there have a been a number of truly massive music moments that have transcended music to become a cultural phenomenon in their own right.
Childish Gambino – The Is America
This is America just came out of nowhere. The song was first performed on Saturday Night Live in May and the music video was simultaneously released on Youtube, gaining 24 million views in 24 hours and garnered universal praise for its commentary on gun violence, race issues, and the American societies unwillingness to address these concerns. The song peaked at number 1 all around the world and started many conversations regarding the issues it highlights. It also heralded in the era of the multimedia experience which has also been used by Janelle Monáe with her Dirty Picture – An Emotion Picture.
Kayne West and the Wyoming Sessions
I don’t really know what to think about Kayne West anymore. Before his last two albums came out, West said some severely over the top stuff (see here) which gives me the impression that he does it as a free marketing tool for his new projects. He also tried to live stream his listening parties on the WAV app (whatever that is) which just ended in steamers spending hours waiting for nothing. On a positive note, he produced a 5 album run for himself, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Nas and Teyana Taylor each with only 7 tracks which could provide the footprint for how albums are consumed in the future. Kayne’s Ye was an overall let down but KIDS SEE GHOSTS with Kid Cudi was good enough to cover for the shortfalls of Ye. Kayne’s next offer must be better but all 5 albums were events that many people plugged into
Beyonce At Coachella
There are live performances that will be talked about as long as music exists. The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969 and Queen at Live Aid in 1985 and I am comfortable in saying that Beyonce’s set at Coachella in April that can be added to that list. Her performance was grand and steeped in black culture with unprecedented levels of choreography and musical direction. It was the first time that a black woman had headlined Coachella and Beyonce went all in, giving everything she could have given and it was literally everywhere (thanks to the set being streamed live on Youtube). People on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were singing praises almost immediately and critical response was just as positive. It was truly a big event and it will not be forgotten any time soon.
Kendrick Lamar: Pulitzer Prize Winner
The Pulitzer Prize is an American award for achievement in journalism, literature and music composition that is awarded yearly. Consistently, Pulitzer’s have focused on more traditional forms of artistic expression with the previous four winners being from either the classical or operatic genre but not this year. Lamar’s award-winning album “DAMN” was groundbreaking and met with widespread acclaim and with Lamar winning the Pulitzer price, Hip Hop and Rap music can now be considered as a form of art. It is a meeting of traditional and popular music that will set musical sensibilities in a new direction in the years to come. It is an amalgam of old and new that will only have a positive after effect in verifying not only the work of Lamar but also the recognition of Hip-Hop and Raps position in the overall musical zeitgeist.