What a year it was for hip-hop. Living legends and fresh artists alike produced hits that dominated the charts. Individual rappers came together and formed a beastly crew that rocked the hip-hop scene. Surprise performances were thrown, unexpected collaborations were conceived, organic rap tracks were dropped. And yet, there were the shameless scandals, the controversial brawls, and the celebrity lawsuits that kept us talking all year.
From the highs to the lows and all in-between, here’s a look at the biggest stories that ruled the hip-hop headlines in 2012.
The Newsmakers and the Scandals
Halloween was the perfect excuse to dress up any way you want, and Chris Brown decided to be a Taliban terrorist for a day. Sporting a long robe, a traditional turban, and a string of fake bullets across his chest, Brown hit up Greystone Manor Supperclub to attend the 2012 Halloween Carnival, which was hosted by his ex-girlfriend (and rumored rekindled lover) Rihanna.
Rapper Game released the artwork for his new album titled Jesus Piece and created mixed feelings among his fans. The cover featured Jesus Christ personified just like the rapper, pictured with a red bandana around the mouth, wearing a gold chain, and sporting a teardrop tattoo on his cheek. The artwork was stylized with a stained-glass backdrop decorated with marijuana leaves and palm trees.
In September, rumors of a Kanye sex tape floated around, featuring the rapper a Kim Kardashian look-alike.
Pop singer Rihanna was caught on camera making a beeline to her ex Chris Brown’s seat for a congratulatory hug and kiss … on the lips. Although it was short and sweet and most probably meant nothing, the gesture caught the public’s attention, and it has been the talk of the Internet world all night, especially because of the fact that Brown was still dating model Karrueche Tran.
The media buzzed about Snoop Dogg’s latest moniker, Snoop Lion, which was part of his latest project, Reincarnated. The Reincarnated project included a reggae album produced by Diplo and the Major Lazer production team, a documentary, a photo book, and a non-profit initiative called Mind Garden.
Late on the night of July 3, one unexpected announcement shook both the hip-hop scene and the gay community. OFWGKTA member Frank Ocean confessed via his Tumblr page that his first love was a man.
The Projects and the Collaborations
Dropping on September 4, Cruel Summer will feature the lead singles “Mercy” and “New God Flow,” as well as other tracks from the G.O.O.D Music artists, including Pusha T, Common, John Legend, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Teyana Tailor, Hit-Boy, and Kanye himself.
Rapper Snoop Dogg reportedly released a smoke-able lyrics book called “Rolling Words.” The book’s content was entirely printed on rolling paper, made with the help of San Francisco-based agency, Periera & O’Dell.
The Beefs and the Brawls
It seems like the Nicki Minaj/Hot 97 feud has yet to be resolved. The Harajuku Barbie reportedly demanded the New York radio station stop playing her music.
Rapper 50 Cent confirmed via Twitter that he and Floyd Mayweather called it quits with their joint boxing promotion company, TMT Promotions a.k.a. The Money Team. Now that The Money Team has been dissolved, the former friends put their gloves on and went head-to-head with Twitter blows last weekend to air out their issues for the world to see.
A huge fight broke out between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on American Idol‘s audition taping that took place on October 2.
The Assaults and the Lawsuits
Members of Odd Future were accused of severely beating up a 17-year-old fan, named Chassan Rasagi, after he jumped on stage during the crew’s December 8 show in San Antonio, Texas.
TMZ got hold of information about an arrest made back in August involving the R&B hitmaker Trey Songz. Trey, whose real name is Tremaine Neverson, reportedly threw a wad of dollar bills at a woman and was arrested for assault.
Footage of Gunplay’s violent altercation back in April reportedly surfaced, and the rapper could face life in prison. Gunplay, whose real name is Robert Morales, voluntarily turned himself in to the custody of Miami-Dade Police for armed robbery and assault charges.
Christopher Dorsey, famously known as B.G. or Baby Gangsta, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for gun possession and witness tampering.
We often see this happening with male rappers, but it has now been proven that female artists can be just as careless as their male counterparts when it comes to taxes. Former Fugee group member Lauryn Hill pled guilty on three counts of failure to file tax returns for the years 2005 to 2007.
The Late and the Great
Sad news hit the hip-hop community on Christmas Eve. Jamal Dewar, best known for his stage name Capital Steez, passed away at young age of 19.
On November 3, Blaque member Natina Reed was laid to rest in her hometown in Lithonia, Georgia.
Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty was found dead with suicide as the cause of death. Lighty, who managed Mariah Carey, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, Ja Rule, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, is known for his forward vision for the hip-hop industry.
In face of what may be a disappointing year, hip-hop celebrated individualism, promoted diversity, and pushed boundaries. What a year it was … and will be. Let’s look ahead to what hip-hop has in store for us in 2013. Cheers!
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