This year, we all cautiously emerged from last year's lockdowns. The quiet year was a boon for a lot of creators, and there's a lot being released that was in the works before. In other news, hip hop continues its domination of pop culture, with more recognition than ever before. A few of the year's highlights:
1. Megan Thee Stallion Becomes Thee Graduate
The Houston rapper made a promise to her mother that she'd finish school. Earlier this year, she told interviewers that, even while touring and recording, she was taking classes online a couple at a time. Megan announced that she'd be walking at a December 11 graduation from Texas Southern University. The H-Town Hottie has a degree in healthcare administration.
2. Nas Won a Grammy
Thirteenth time's the charm, right? This rap veteran was finally recognized at the 2021 Grammys, going home with Best Rap Album. King's Disease beat out With by Royce 5'9", Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist, D Smoke, and Jay Electronica to win the prize. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, making it Nas's 14th top ten album. Not one to rest on his laurels, Nas quickly followed up with King's Disease II.
3. J Cole Released an Album
On schedule! Despite worries of delays, J. Cole's highly anticipated album, The Off-Season, was released in midsummer. The album quickly achieved the largest streaming week of the year, with over 325.5 listens in its first week. This is Cole's sixth number one album.
4. Tyler, the Creator received the BET Hip-Hop Awards' first-ever Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award
Hip hop's increasing influence on mainstream culture has been evident for years. In September, BET made it official by awarding the first Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award. The award, presented to Tyler, the Creator,, honored the artist's decade plus of innovative contributions.
5. Yung Bleu's Breakout Continues
This Alabama rapper scooped up both Best New Artist at the BET Soul Train Awards and Best New Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. He is the first artist to do so since Chance the Rapper grabbed both awards in 2016. Additionally, Yung Bleu earned a Grammy nomination for his contributions to H.E.R's Back of My Mind.