Best and Worst Hip-Hop Moments of 2013
2013 was a wild ride full of valleys and peaks in hip-hop. On one hand, we saw twerking become a mainstream craze, (er, thanks Miley Cyrus) and Rick Ross end up in hot water with Reebok and critics for a date rape-y lyric. But on the flipside, we saw Kanye West become a proud dad and heard Kendrick Lamar deliver a verse that sparked countless debates about rap and almost as many response records. Those are just a few of the memorable marks of the year so take a look back with us as we highlight the Best and Worst Hip-Hop Moments of 2013.
Rapper Danny Brown became the center of media attention and social media speculation when he received unsolicited oral sex from an overly eager female audience member during a performance in Minneapolis in April. A very NSFW photo and video of the overzealous fan with her face buried in Brown's crotch began circulating the web soon after the show. Kendrick Lamar later tweeted Brown, “u really just got the head on stage stanny???” Brown replied, “and didn’t miss one bar bruh bruh.” The tweet, which one can assume was Brown bragging, was later deleted. His opening act, Kitty Pryde, witnessed the event and asserted that Brown wasn't the sexual aggressor as some believed but actually the victim of a sexual assault.
Kendrick Lamar caused more excitement on the Internets with his ‘Control’ verse -- a song that wasn’t even his -- than any other hip-hop body of work in 2013. Big Sean released the track two weeks before the his 'Hall of Fame' album debuted. (The song didn't make the album due to sample clearance issues.) K. Dot called out fellow rap peers J. Cole, Big K.R.I,T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Jay Electronica, Tyler the Creator and Mac Miller, declaring his intention to out-rap them all. “I got love for you all / But I'm tryna murder you n----s / Trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you n----s,” raps Lamar. Along with teasingly crowning himself the “King of New York” on the song, K. Dot had a good hand in stirring up energy in hip-hop this year.
In March, Rick Ross was criticized for his rape-y rap lines on Rocko‘s ‘U.O.E.N.O.’ “Put molly all in her champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / She ain’t even know it,” he rapped. Rozay originally tried to do damage control during an interview with New Orleans radio station Q93.3. “I would never use the term rape, you know, in my lyrics. And as far as my camp, hip-hop don’t condone that, the streets don’t condone that, nobody condones that,” the Miami native explained. He then issued a second apology of sorts via Twitter as those protesting the song demanded Reebok drop an endorsement deal with the rapper. “I don’t condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS [sic],” Rozay wrote. The MC subsequently lost his deal with the athletic company.
TMZ is known for sensationalist reporting, but they reached new lows when they perpetuated the rumor that rapper Lil Wayne was on his deathbed in March. Those close to Weezy blasted the gossip news site for the fabricated story. Many also speculated that his health condition was tied to overdosing on codeine. “It’s his work ethic,” the rapper’s mentor Birdman explained in an interview on Hot 97′s 'The Angie Martinez Show.' “[It's] how hard he works. How much dedication he gives to music, to his fans, and what he’s trying to accomplish in life.” Soon after being released in March, Wayne said that he had always been an epileptic, unbeknownst to the public. Weezy suffered from another seizure in April and was hospitalized again.
While Game was in Australia, he met an African teenager who told him a story of hardship that touched the West Coast rapper’s heart. He gave the youth a $20 Australian bill -- all the money he had on him at the time -- and said he couldn’t shake the feeling that he didn’t have more to offer. So he decided he would give away $1 million of his own money to those in need across the world -- all by Christmas. The Robin Hood Project is the official name of his big-hearted crusade. So far, he has paid for funerals and hospital bills for those in need. Celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Khloe Kardashian have gotten involved in his mission to help others as well.
This was not a good year for Gucci Mane, who decided to air out all of his dirty laundry for the world to read on Twitter in September. He took aim at some major players in the hip-hop and R&B world including Nicki Minaj, Ciara, Drake, Fantasia and more. The troubled rhymer, who has been in serious trouble with the law this year, went on a rant calling out fellow rhymers and singers artists for being “fake” and all about “greed.” He tweeted f-bombs to Drizzy, T.I., Jeezy and others. He also claimed to have had sex with several female artists. “Ask ciara did she ride dat bike 4 gucci in cali while she was with 50 ask kelly did she cum to patchwork and onyx while she was wit shaka,” Mane tweeted. Things have only fallen downhill for the Atlanta native since then, as he currently faces federal gun possession charges that could leave him locked up for up to 20 years.
Can’t stop, won’t stop Diddy in all his enterprises. The mogul added a new level to his brand with the launch of Revolt TV in October. He kicked things off by paying homage to his late friend the Notorious B.I.G. and stood in front of the rapper's old Brookly, N.Y., home before counting down to the first music video which was 'Juicy.' “Biggie and I had this dream. We set off on a journey together,” he said while he went on an inspirational spiel. “Today, that dream becomes a reality. This is not my network, this is your network.” At least Diddy can say he has something in common with Oprah now. The network can be viewed on Comcast Xfinity TV and Time Warner Cable.
Many thought hip-hop’s “dynasty” had fallen for good, so many were shocked to see Jay Z and Damon Dash grinning and embracing each other in an Instagram photo the later posted on the social networking site. The former Roc-A-Fella label co-owners had separated as business partners after falling out over ownership of the label and its future direction almost 10 years ago. Following the breakup, Dash launched BluRoc records and Hov signed with Live Nation to build the Roc Nation label. It’s great to see the two still show each other love after first rising together in the rap game almost 20 years ago.
Singer Miley Cyrus took twerking to the national stage when she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in August. She brought out giant teddy bears that later revealed themselves to be bodacious ladies jiggling their assets for the evening. During her performance, she bent over and shook her derriere in front of Robin Thicke. This year, Cyrus was seen getting really close with notable hip-hop producer Mike WiLL Made It, hanging with Lil' Kim and Pharrell Williams defended her controversial image. Jay Z even mentioned her on his record 'Somewhereinamerica,' rapping “Twerk Miley, twerk.” We’re not sure if the singer really made hip-hop better or worse, but it is clear that she wanted to be down very badly.
Kanye West added father to his long list of jobs this year, but you can already tell he’s a proud dad. The rapper, who is now engaged to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, showed the world the first photo of their baby girl, North West, during an interview on the 'Kris Jenner Show.' Yeezy gushed about his new responsibility. “My only goal as a dad is to protect my daughter, that’s my instinct to give my daughter as many opportunities to just be a child,” he said. He continued that he and his fiancée are more connected because of the new addition. “It's really brought [Kim and I] closer because there is someone more important to us than us for the first time,” the Chicago native explained.