Future and Kendrick Lamar were responsible for two of the year's biggest tracks.
There's no doubt that few hip-hop artists have dominated 2017 quite like Future and Kendrick Lamar. With Future and DAMN. respectively, both men have turned in some of their strongest work to date, galvanizing music consumers and putting themselves in a class that not many other emcees find themselves a part of. Now, Variety is confirming that the both rappers were responsible for a couple of most listened to tracks of the year.
Citing research that they did alongside BuzzAngle Music, Variety created a customized chart that attempted to single out which songs were really the cream of the crop when it came to consumption in 2017. Using a hybrid total that accounts for audio streams, video streams, song sales, radio spins and Shazam tags, the popularity of the tracks that make up the list are closer to a true representation of where the industry is at as a whole than most year-end round-ups you'll find. Kendrick's "Humble" came in at No. 3 overall, trailing only the remix to Luis Fonsi's "Despacito" and Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You."
The rest of the Top Ten is a who's-who of rap's biggest tastemakers, with Post Malone's "Congratulations" coming in at No. 5 and Future's "Mask Off" at No. 6 for overall consumption. Elsewhere, Lil Uzi Vert's "XO Tour Llif3" and DJ Khaled's "I'm The One" inched their way into the eighth and ninth spots respectively. "Bad and Boujee" from Migos and "iSpy" from Kyle just missed out on Top Ten territory, ranking at No. 11 and No. 12 respectively. Suffice it say that, for many hip-hop artists, crossover success was on the menu this past year.
He may have scored a big hit with "Humble," but back in the earliest stages of his career, Kendrick Lamar's longing for such a record have a negative impact on his work. "Early, early on, I really wanted to be signed. And that was a mistake, because it pushes you two steps backwards when you have this concept of ‘OK, I’ve got to make these three [commercial] songs in order to get out into the world and be heard,'" said the rapper in a recent interview. "So there were two or three years where I wanted to be signed so badly that I’m making these same two or three repetitive demo kinds of records, and I’m hindering my growth. The world could have got Kendrick Lamar two or three years earlier if I’d stuck to the script and continued to develop."