Superstar or Bust: 2022 Edition

The rap game is kind of like a hierarchy, the way artists increase or decrease in popularity based on every move they make. You have your staples like Drake, Kanye and Kendrick, with various other artists trying to get to that peak. Below that you have your current Lil Wayne's, Travis Scott's and Future, rap superstars. Artists like Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti have blown up to superstar level in the past year in my opinion. Tonight I'm going to talk about ten artists who have the opportunity to jump to superstar level with their next release.


$NOT

After growing a strong underground fanbase and his track, Gosha, popping off he garnered some attention. Moon & Stars, which was also off of his album +TRAGEDY- got eyes on him as well. His second album had some other songs like Mean and Like Me that went viral pretty quick and things have been looking bright for him ever since. After dropping singles Whipski with Lil Skies, which put up some numbers, as well as his first huge hit, Tell Em' with Cochise, it's safe to say all eyes are on him. If $NOT's next album brings multiple hits I think he could truly solidify himself as a Hip-Hop superstar. We have seen his hit making potential, and he brings a new and diverse sound to the mainstream and the ball is really in his court despite him being silent for months.


Baby Keem

The Melodic Blue was a huge success for Keem, to say the least. His first week sales were pretty great and his recent collaborations with Kanye West and Don Toliver have given him some energy as well. Not to mention his Family Ties track with Kendrick Lamar, which has been a huge hit on the charts. I think he can be a very prominent artist if he's able to follow it up. It may be awhile before we hear anything but features from him but he truly has the potential to run the 2020's.


Benny The Butcher

With lyrical and gangsta rap resurfacing recently, it's only a matter of time before it reaches a larger audience. Although veterans like Pusha T and Freddie Gibbs only continue to rise in popularity with each release, I think Benny is the perfect face for the new movement. His luxurious, grimey and dangerous sound dominate every track and is able to make more accessible sounds like his perfectly polished, Burden Of Proof. He is one real hit away from pleasing the masses. His fanbase is dedicated and as soon as he's able to get to a superstar level it will only continue to grow bigger and stronger.


Cordae

With From A Bird's Eye View seeming to be right around the corner Cordae could become a superstar by next year, or it might take a couple years longer. With the first single from the album dropping earlier this week it's only a matter of time. Earlier songs like RNP with Anderson .Paak and Have Mercy doing fairly well we know he has what it takes to entertain the masses. He is in the spotlight right now and if he's able to muster up a big hit or two on his next album, I won't be surprised if he becomes a highly recognizable name soon. Cordae still needs to secure several hits before he's a superstar but he's a great personality and I'd assume his album will sell fairly well.


Gunna

As an artist Gunna is a trap juggernaut who is always being talked about, however on the charts Gunna struggles to find success by himself. Solo his biggest song may be SKYBOX which wasn't too big but it was a hit. However when teamed up with artists like Lil Baby, Young Thug, Roddy Rich, Don Toliver and others he is seemingly unstoppable. What Gunna needs in his career is that solo smash hit as he is widely referred to as a feature artist. When it comes then we can talk about Gunna and Lil Baby being on the same level.


Jack Harlow

Some people may view this as an odd pick because Jack has been huge ever since What's Poppin was a smash hit. He is yet to repeat it but he's managed to be relevant and largely loved by the people since then. Jack Harlow is everywhere without putting out much music which says a lot about how popular he really is. Some people may say he's a superstar but I think he has higher potential than that. That's why he's here, if he's able to continue to put out hits, his personality will always keep him in the media so if he has the numbers behind it he could be a true goliath in the music industry as a whole


JID

I have talked about JID a couple times this year and my thoughts are still the same. The Forever Story remains as an opportunity for JID not only to garner even more respect from the Hip-Hop community but become a more mainstream act. He's had moments like 151 Rum and Off Deez, not to mention his spotlight on Revenge Of The Dreamers III, where his contributions to hits like Down Bad were praised highly. We know JID has it, and if he can bring it together he has a lot of mainstream appeal and will only continue to get bigger.


Joey Bada$$

Definitely an interesting pick since he's been in the game for around a decade now. Joey has shown us he can make hits with big songs like DEVASTATED and TEMPTATION on his critically acclaimed ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. Those songs are not why I think this though. It was The Light Pack that really got me thinking Joey could become a chart topper. It's partially because there is a resurgence in the popularity of lyrical rap but more of The Light Pack being the most polished work Joey has ever put out. He is able to make a cleaner and more appealing sound without compromising his talent or lyrical ability, and I think that's just what Hip-Hop fans are looking for.


Nas

This one will shock some people without a doubt. Being a prominent name in the industry for around thirty years I'd understand why. In 2018 many people thought it was really over for Nas, I expected him to retire. However in 2020 with King's Disease he showed he could successfully adapt to modern Hip-Hop without compromising his talent or integrity. Then this year King's Disease II took that even further and Nas has been talked about more than he has in years. KD2 was incredible and only further showed that Nas is aging incredibly. If he continues to evolve like he has been I think he could get back to a more mainstream presence.


Sleepy Hallow

Hot take but I think Sleepy will have more success than Fivio Foreign when it's all said and done. Sleepy Hallow is evolving the sound of drill music adding more personal and depressing elements to it opposed to the constant anger and oppression. Not only that he has hits like Deep End Freestyle and 2055 as well as a dedicated fanbase who loves his music. His deluxe dropped this week and I think it did nothing more but show his dedication to evolving drill music as well as putting his peers on. Sleepy has some real staying power in the Hip-Hop realm and I think he'll hit it.


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