1997 saw some incredible music releases in hip hop, rap, R&B and soul. This year I expect to see bigger and better things from urban music given how brilliant this decade has been to date. It is certainly a good time to be a fresh and new urban music artist with serious talent. The charts welcome you.
There are five artists in particular who I think deserve special attention – all released albums last year each with hit singles. Keep an eye on the talent in this list – because I have a feeling that the best is yet to come from these five.
5. Puff Daddy
The 28 year old New York label owner of Bad Boy Records can not only manage new talent, but he can rap too. Last year he released his first studio album “No Way Out” and let the world know “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” with his lead single off the LP. Sean Combs (Puff Daddy) was a close friend to rapper Notorious B.I.G before he was gunned down in March 1997 an alleged retaliation to Tupac Shakur’s murder month’s earlier.
Shortly after, Combs told Rolling Stone (August 7, 1997) he was wanted to give music away, wanted out and had never planned on this. A friend convinced him otherwise, saying it wouldn’t be right to leave B.I.G alone, and there was no way out from where his dreams had taken him.
“No Way Out” is well on the way to a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album with the single “I’ll Be Missing You” (dedicated to the late Notorious B.I.G) staying at #1 for an impressive eleven weeks straight, and singles “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” “It’s All About the Benjamins,” “Been Around the World” and “Victory” all performing well on the charts.
Mr Combs just might be the biggest rap music mogul of the decade.
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