Given the Grammys that included both rap stars for the nomination of their albums, Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z demonstrated a sense of understanding in the ways of the music industry. According to the trends of their searches within the United States, 2017 turned out to be the year of record breaking success for both artists with their respective projects of DAMN. and 4:44.
Trends on DAMN.
Lamar’s first single of the album, “Humble”, was released on March 30, 2017 through his Vevo page. Immediately, the rapper gained much media attention and audience craze. At this moment, the music video earned 431 million views on YouTube.
A few weeks following the release of “Humble”, DAMN. was released on April 14, 2017. The album obtained 14 tracks, including the singles “Humble,” “Loyalty” which featured Rihanna, and “Love.” Music videos for “Loyalty,” “DNA” starring alongside actor Don Cheadle, and “Element.”
One of the most interesting aspects in regards to the Google trends relating to the album is that Lamar’s album gained more attention in regards to beauty and fitness. This was evident as Lamar mentions a line within “Humble” that promotes women to embrace their natural beauty.
Trends on 4:44
Before the album was debuted, signs of 4:44 was displayed on billboards throughout the United States. This led to speculation and rumors in regards to what 4:44 was and what it meant to the audience. The increase in searches for 4:44 was prevalent at this time.
4:44 was released on June 30, 2017 nationwide through his video streaming site, Tidal, and Sprint. The album featured his wife, Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Damian Marley and his daughter Blue Ivy.
More attention was placed on the album as Jay-Z released the music video for “The Story of OJ,” which uses the essence of minstrel shows and cartoons to emphasize the place of Black people in America.
Many speculations in regards to 4:44 as the audience believes the album is in conjunction with Beyonce’s Lemonade, which allegedly addressed issues of Jay-Z’s cheating.
Interestingly enough, Jay-Z made mention of this by addressing Becky, who Beyonce refers to as “Becky with the good hair” in her song “Sorry.” He calls upon Beck to tell her to leave him alone in the song “Family Affair,” which a cameo appearance of both Beyonce and Blue Ivy.
While neither of the artists won a Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year, their work managed to cover a wide range of topics, including their growth and understanding of themselves and their emotion. Safe to say, these albums are indeed considered conscious rap albums, and the most important element of such is realization of self.