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What Artist Has Made the Biggest Impact in 2013 (So Far)?

Posted by Lucas G. on 06/27/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Debates, RH Nation Answers
While it might be hard to believe, July 1, will mark the half-way point of 2013. It feels like just yesterday we were still discussing "Good Kid m.A.A.d City" and ringing in the new year and in the blink of en eye we will go from talking "Yeezus" and "Born Sinner" to whatever projects will dominate the fall. Considering it is the halfway point in the year it’s a good time to look back at the half-year that was. Like Ferris Bueller said, “moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” With that in mind, there was only one thing we could ask for the latest Question Of The Week is: Who has had the biggest impact so far this year?

Now before we delve in, lets talk about what “impact” means, and how we are judging the candidates. Obviously, the emcee in question would have to have released a major album or mixtape within the past 6 months. While you could make an argument for Kendrick, still, I just don’t think its fair, considering how many other great projects have been put out, to consider an album from 2012. I think guest features, too, is an important component in this discussion. An emcee who is truly making an impact not only does it with his own work, but puts somebody else on the map with a guest spot. Guest features also show that other artists are recognizing the emcee’s hot streak and want to get in on the action. There is also an X-factor component that, while non-music related, definitely generates a bigger buzz around the artist; maybe they did a memorable show, gave a great interview, or appeared in the gossip column/news for something. While its not music related, it still creates an aura around the emcee and helps increase their impact.

While plenty of emcees are deserving of the nod, I think it comes down to two artists. We will discuss the others later but the top choices are Chance The Rapper and J. Cole, with the edge going to Chance by the slimmest of margins. While Cole’s reach is greater, I still think all things considered Chance has had more of an impact. Chance has a totally unique style which seems to have really caught peoples attention and is vastly different from anything else anybody does, but still has grabbed a lot of people. In addition to putting Chicago back on the map (not that it ever really was off but he has started a mini-revival) he has also really pushed his Savemoney crew into the spotlight. His success has not only impacted his career, but those of his close friends like Alex Wiley and Vic Mensa. His collab resume is great too, sharing the mic with the likes of Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Childish Gambino, and Ab-Soul.



I understand "Born Sinner" was a big project, but Cole already had the attention whereas Chance went from virtually unknown to the leader of the newer generation. In addition to touring with Mac Miller, Chance played at SXSW, Lollapalooza and is hitting the road with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for a European tour. That’s pretty impressive company; clearly he has caught the eye of some heavy-hitters. Chance has also had an impact outside of the music industry, he has drawn major attention to the violence that has been rampant in his hometown of Chicago. Songs like “Pushaman” have brought it to light, and Chance often speaks out on behalf of his city. He is making an impact on something much bigger than music. His music ain’t half bad either!



Aside from Cole, there are a few others who you could say are in the running. A$AP Rocky might seem like a distant memory, but "Long Live A$AP" owned the winter and is not to be overlooked. K.R.I.T dropped King Remembered In Time along with a few impressive solo cut. You can even make a case for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, whose reach is immeasurable. I know Cole is a tempting pick, and you can easily make a case for him—how many other emcees can say they inspired Nas to make a song - but Chance’s status now, considering where he started, is more impressive so I’ll take the underdog and say Chance had the biggest impact of 2013.

2013 has already been a great year for music. In six months, we easily have a year’s worth of quality material. I know big projects come every year, but there seems to be even more epic releases this year and its only June. The conversation could completely change by years end—who knows who might make a running for biggest impact this summer—but lets not get ahead of ourselves; we are here to discuss the past half-year. So what do you think, Refined Hype Nation? Which emcee has had the biggest impact in 2013?

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