Staying Relevant In Hip Hop

Don’t let em forget.

Ever since Forgot About Dre, rappers (and producers) have been trynna stay relevant in the game. Now in 2015, though, it’s especially hard considering folks stop paying attention to even dope shit after like a week. Since you can’t just release an album every week, rappers gotta be smart to keep their names on peoples’ minds. Let’s see what some of the ways to stay relevant in hip hop are in 2015.


Freddie Gibbs - ProntoAgain, you obviously can’t just drop an album weekly (except maybe if you’re Lil B or guwop), but you can do shorter projects between albums. Freddie Gibbs showed this with Pronto, which was only 3 tracks but got everyone talking about him again right before Kendrick’s album dropped, and he was one of the few rappers folks were talking about after the world heard To Pimp A Butterfly. This is a great example, because dropping 3 tracks is a lot more doable than doing a whole like 12-track album.

Music Videos

This can also be accomplished with single track releases, but music videos do the job way better. As evidence by J. Cole with his incendiary G.O.M.D. video, there’s no better way to make waves (aside from dropping a few tracks/an album) than with a music video. Everyone was talking about the video, even though Kendrick, Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson had just released full (and well-liked) albums. Videos also give rappers an opportunity to reach new fans or send out more subtle messages (or sometimes less subtle messages) than their music does. It’s a good way for a rapper to see what they got outside of spitting verses, they legitimize hip hop, and most importantly they keep a rapper relevant without them having to record any more music.


Complex twitter KendrickNow, y’all know I love twitter but just hear me out. Twitter is a 100% free way for rapper to interact with fans, critics, and other musicians. With just a few minutes on twitter a day, rappers can come off as more relatable (by just tweeting dumb shit/talking to fans), supportive (by shouting out other rappers) and progressive (by tweeting about current events.) Most importantly, even when a rapper hasn’t dropped any new music in a while, they can still stay on folks’ minds. It’s also the best way for fans to stay up to date on hip hop.

Anything else?

How else do y’all think rappers can stay relevant nowadays? Appearing in TV shows or movies would definitely work, but what else? I still gotta say twitter’s the best way to do it (and the best way for fans to stay updated on all things hip hop), but that’s just me.

Spit Talking

3 comments on “Staying Relevant In Hip Hop

  1. Mikkimuse April 19, 2015 3:41 am

    What about using websites, Instagram and YouTube and working with hip hop bloggers to build audience? Also, collaborating with other artists (cross-promotion to each others’ fan bases), and innovating musically,

    • Joaquin April 19, 2015 12:47 pm

      You right! Instead of twitter I should have said social media/web presence in general. But collaborations with other artists are especially crucial, because like you said you can cross-promote to each other’s fan bases, whether it’s 2 different types of rappers or maybe even a rapper and someone outside of hip hop. For example, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib teaming up on Piñata probably really expanded both of their fan bases. Good points!

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