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Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

Zach Wagner

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Over the last five years, hip-hop has evolved immensely in many different aspects: The sound, the way listeners consume it, and the way new artists are discovered are the main changes we have seen throughout the last half decade. The mixture of hip-hop and other genres has become more common, resulting in a experimental age of hip-hop. Streaming services like Soundcloud has opened an avenue for aspiring artist to post their music for free in effort to hopefully catch the right ear.

There is a group of artists that are responsible for this experimental era of Hip-hop. Here are five of the most influential acts that have helped guide hip-hop to where it is today.

5. Metro Boomin

Through his various collaborations, distinct sound, and accolades, Metro Boomin has been able to redefine the meaning of a hip-hop producer. Adopting the trap sound of Atlanta, Metro Boomin added his own twist.

His sound is simple, very clean and full of smooth synths mixed with slapping 808s. Bringing artists together for collaboration tapes is his specialty. Working with some of the industries biggest names like Drake, Future, 21 Savage, and Offset. Metro Boomin brings the already superstars to a new untapped level.

Working with no more than two artists at a time, Metro Boomin highlights the strengths of his collaborators, producing classic tapes like What a Time to Be Alive and Without Warning.

Metro Boomin throughout his career has done a good job of separating himself from his peers, getting artist type attention as a producer. His success has helped fans and everyone involved in Hip-hop give producers the recognition they deserve, opening new avenues for different types of musicians.

4. Future

Using the Atlanta trap sound, a mixture of booming 808s and dark synths, Future has used his raw vocals in experiments with many different sounds and vibes.

From hard trap to R&B, he has bent his sound all over the spectrum, proving there are no ceilings when it comes to the creation.

He may not have the best singing voice or the best lyrics, but through his experiments it has encouraged up and coming artist to go outside the box.

3. Migos

As one of Hip-Hop’s most dominant groups in recent memory, Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff have used their unique triplet flow to take over the mainstream hip-hop scene.

Catchy hooks, sharp ad-libs, and fast paced songs have all been part of the recipe for success for the Atlanta-based group. Their style has been influential for many artists that have surfaced in the recent years. Artist like Rich the Kid, DaBaby , and Smokepurpp may not be possible without the trio.

The structure of their albums, Culture I and Culture II have been used as a guide to further the sound of hip-hop.  

2. Travis Scott

Coming up out of Houston, Travis Scott has created his own sound, taking the hip-hop world by storm. With a heavy use of auto tune on his vocals, Scott uses the flaws in his voice to create psychedelic masterpieces and melodies.

When it comes to experimenting, Scott may be one of the best in the industry. While using some of the most unique sounds, Scott ties in the original fundamentals of trap music to create out of this world tracks. His influence has helped breakdown barriers in hip-hop, allowing artist to be more free and creative with their sound. Artists like Post Malone, Lil Nas X, and Lil Uzi Vert may not be possible without Scott.

1. Drake

For more than a decade, Drake has been one of the most profound acts in all of music. Dominating the charts year after year, he seems to never go out of style.

If he’s rapping or singing Drake is always in key, hardly ever making a bad song. Drake stands at number one on this list for his consistency and dominance.

Without Drizzy, the other four on this list may not even exist. His influence is endless, making him one of the best hip-hop artists to ever grip the mic.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Born and raised in Syracuse, NY. Zach Wagner looks to expand his horizons in effort to pave his way into the Entertainment Journalism Scene. Currently a student at SUNY Brockport, Wagner has done some work as Staff Writer for the school newspaper, The Stylus, focusing on mostly music and entertainment. With big plans for his career, CMN is the start of a long journey for the aspiring journalist.

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