The 10 Wildest Hip-Hop Moments of 2017
There's no shortage of adjectives to describe these past 12 months. Donald Trump may have assumed the Oval Office—in turn hogging media attention and garnering more headlines than ever before—but perhaps 2017's silver lining is the fact that hip-hop/R&B has become the most consumed genre in the United States. And with that, there were countless unforgettable, bizarre moments in the ever-evolving rap game.
XXL’s 2017 Freshman Class reached new highs (and lows), yesteryear's rap beefs were reheated and a legend was dethroned. If nothing else, it's all been fascinating AF to watch. From the celebratory to the cringe-worthy, the curious to the overall concerning, XXL takes a look back at 10 of the wildest hip-hop moments of 2017.
Gucci Mane’s wedding to his longtime girlfriend Keyshia Ka’oir in October was a star-studded affair that aired on national television. And that's wild. Consider this: One year earlier, in May 2016, Gucci was returning home after serving a two-year sentence in prison. Within a year's time, the Atlanta rapper rebranded himself so much—dropping the drugs and quite a bit of body weight, too—that some were convinced that Guwop had been replaced by a clone. And he became so media-friendly and mainstream-loved that his nuptials were captured by BET—it was a lavish ceremony that also doubled as the premiere of the Wopsters' BET reality series, The Mane Event. While Karrueche Tran and Kendall Kyndall hosted, and 2 Chainz, Diddy, Rick Ross, Lil Yachty, Monica, Big Sean, and Jhené Aiko attended, some of Gucci's close family members were curiously missing from the festivities.
Things got interesting during the fourth quarter of this year, thanks in part to the revival of Ma$e’s age-old beef with Cam’ron. Without warning, Ma$e aired some grievances in the form of a lethal diss track called “The Oracle.” During the song the former Bad Boy rapper goes for the jugular, calling out Cam’ron for his shady past behavior and business dealings. Cam’ron responded in less than 24 hours, first previewing his rebuttal on Instagram and later releasing the track "Dinner Time" in full, with his response referencing and diminishing Ma$e’s time as a pastor, among other jabs. Following this release, the pair went back and forth on Instagram, with their friendly commentary leaving hip-hop fans scratching their heads over the idea that the beef had seemingly ended just as quickly as it was reignited.
This June, XXXTentacion was sucker punched and consequently knocked out during a performance in San Diego—hometown to rival Rob Stone. X claimed that the venue’s security set him up, while Stone denied any involvement. It was also reported that someone in attendance was taken to the hospital, suffering from stab wounds during the chaos. The 2017 XXL Freshman later addressed the situation on social media, saying, “Next time make sure you kill me so I can’t talk shit.”
Kodak Black has had his fair share of wild moments, from saying "Lil Wayne can eat my ass" to accidentally exposing himself in the shower while on Instagram Live. However, Kodak Black surpassed his previous list of jaw-dropping (and eyebrow-raising) antics when he intentionally broadcasted a friend of his receiving oral sex and also streaming some footage from a gang bang taking place in his hotel. Many fans expressed their outrage on social media, pointing out that the move was in poor taste for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Kodak has been accused of sexual assault. He was indicted back in October, with his trial dates still pending. If convicted of the charges, he could face up to 30 years in jail.
2017 saw the beginning of hip-hop festival Rolling Loud’s formal expansion, with the Miami-born festival touching down in other cities. During its Bay Area stop, Lil B’s scheduled appearance didn’t go exactly as he planned. The Based God explained to fans that he was jumped by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and his crew backstage, who reportedly also stole his gear, preventing him from performing. The altercation, which was also caught on video, had rap heads up in arms given Lil B’s renowned peaceful demeanor. Still, Lil B said it was “all love,” displaying no ill will towards the rapper and adding that he’d even be down to collaborate. ScHoolboy Q also issued a PSA during his performance at the festival, calling for fans to “protect Lil B.” A Boogie and Lil B resolved their beef quickly, with the two rappers hopping on a phone call to make amends the very next day.
After suspecting that Nicki Minaj was taking shots on Gucci Mane's “Make Love” and Jason Derulo's “Swalla,” Remy Ma retaliated by unleashing the scathing diss song “ShETHER.” The seven-minute track, which borrowed the instrumental from Nas’ “Ether,” flipped the rap game upside-down, with many eagerly awaiting Nicki's response. Remy doubled down with a second diss track, “Another One,” before Nicki dropped "No Frauds" in response, claiming that Papoose wrote Remy’s bars. As for now, the saga continues, with Remy most recently calling out Minaj during the 2017 MTV VMAs.
Eminem’s lyrical onslaught of Donald Trump made for one of the wildest (and most impactful) moments of 2017. During his highly anticipated freestyle at the BET Awards, the veteran MC spent four-and-a-half minutes tearing Trump apart, as well as addressing his fans who support the 45th president. J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and countless others came forward to praise Em for his potent freestyle, as many awaited a response from the president's Twitter account. To date, Trump hasn’t acknowledged the message—or the harsh criticisms on Revival—but the freestyle was heard loud and clear by Eminem’s supporters, receiving more than two million retweets and 41 million views.
Meek Mill is currently serving time behind bars after violating his probation and being sentenced two to four years in prison. The verdict caused an uproar in the hip-hop community and beyond, with artists like JAY-Z, T.I. and Diddy taking to social media to stand in solidarity with Meek, and call attention to the unjust sentencing. JAY-Z eloquently wrote about it in an op-ed published in the New York Times:
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day. I saw this up close when I was growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a landmine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew.”
Meek’s lawyers are actively appealing his sentencing, calling for Philadelphia courts to investigate the ruling judge, Judge Genece Brinkley and to examine her ability to oversee the case without bias (Meek's lawyers have claimed she has a personal vendetta against the rapper), all while the nation continues to stand with Meek Mill.
Young Dolph’s Bulletproof examines the fact that he survived an assassination attempt earlier this year, with his SUV being shot at over 100 times. But it's more noteworthy that the Memphis rapper has survived a second attempt on his life, when he suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a shooting in Hollywood this fall. The rapper has been proving his resilience ever since, even emerging for his performance at Rolling Loud’s So Cal tour stop from a prop ambulance.
Russell Simmons has been at the center of more than a dozen sexual assault accusations. The music mogul has taken to social media to deny all the allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, rape and attempted rape that have been made against him. In the wake of the allegations, Simmons has stepped down from his companies, also revealing his plan to “properly defend” himself. The allegations detail incidents that date from the late '80s all the way up to 2014.
““These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” Simmons responded in a statement to the New York Times, following the paper's explosive report detailing the accounts of three women accusing Simmons of rape. "I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”
The investigation into Russell Simmons remains ongoing, with the New York Police Department’s SUV now reportedly involved.
Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on “The Original Sin” (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today... And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet. My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. #NotMe Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo . It’s just a statement about my innocence.