Billboard announces first ever Hip Hop Power List

Billboard Reveals the High Wattage Artists, Executives and Innovators who are Redefining the Hip-Hop Industry

Billboard Magazine, the world’s largest and most influential music brand, has released its first ever “Hip-Hop Power List,” a definitive look at today’s top artists, tastemakers, influencers and leaders in the genre. For the first time, hip-hop dominates every genre, claiming a quarter of all music consumption. Billboard’s Hip-Hop Power List recognizes 72 industry leaders taking the culture to new heights—chief among them hip-hop royalty Kendrick Lamar, who covers the issue alongside Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).

“Kendrick and Top are perfect for the cover as they exhibit the old school values of hip-hop in brotherhood, loyalty, creative freedom and culture, while handling business on a corporate level and providing for their home base community (Watts and Compton, Cali.) socially,” says Datwon Thomas, Editor-In-Chief of Vibe, who wrote Lamar and Tiffith’s cover story.

As hip-hop continues to reach new stratospheres of influence and popularity, Billboard’s list of power players highlights the genre’s cultural impact. The list’s honorees—which features names ranging from Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z to Sylvia Rhone and Mike WiLL Made-It, among other talented artists and shrewd industry executives—are recognized for their ability to push boundaries and redefine success in a genre where creativity and talent are at their peak.

In a rare joint interview, Lamar and Tiffith, who discovered Lamar at age 15, discuss what’s next for TDE and provide insight into the creative process behind Lamar’s latest—the double platinum album Damn that served to cement his reputation as one of the best rappers alive.

In the interview, Lamar praised Tiffith and TDE for their unique approach to the recording process. “You hear about homies going to studios and they’ve got to rush their verses, hurry up before somebody else comes in,” says Lamar. “I got to actually do a verse, scrap it, do it over and just perfect my whole sound. And that gave me the upper hand among other artists. Everybody [else] was just trying to get a hit record.”

While Lamar currently holds one of the top spots, Billboard’s Hip-Hop Power List spotlights a wide range of the genre’s most influential figures. “From superstars to unsung heroes, the innovators that make up Billboard’s inaugural list understand and enrich its cultural impact,” states Billboard’s Editorial Director Jason Lipshutz. “The music industry is extremely lucky to have these talented individuals, and Billboard is proud to celebrate them.”

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.