Hip hop is the heartbeat of 2018. Musically, culturally, and artistically, no genre has been as gigantic or significant to the pulse of pop culture this year. The 45-year old art form has achieved a presence in the mainstream that umbrellas the world. It is the soundtrack to lives, the language on tongues, the voice of vibes, and the centerpiece of influence extending across our planet. Hip hop is no longer a ripple in the underground, but an all-encompassing, massive tidal wave.
Music journalism is an essential form of historical documentation. Music, but especially hip hop in 2018, moves to a robust rhythm that’s ever-changing. There is no stillness; social media’s impact on the music industry is evident by how much and how fast new content is released. The task of a journalist isn't solely reviewing albums and interviewing artists, but living within the never ending flood of music and events to find, examine, dissect, and analyze.
Hip hop is a culture that challenges. The best journalism mirroring the medium must also challenge. Writing that inspires the reader to consider possible harsh truths and uncomfortable subjects about some of the world’s most famous entertainers. There’s an insatiable hunger for information in 2018. The world wants to know why as much as when and how. Thus, creating a need for journalists who are able to play the role of educator, along with historian, investigator and critic. In the space of music, this quaternary is most important in hip hop. The words pushed to hip hop’s forefront are think-pieces, op-eds, interviews, and critical observations feeding the culture a wealth of knowledge. Without the writers there would be a disconnect between the audience and how the industry is evolving.
'Best Damn Hip Hop Writing: 2018' is an anthology that promotes some of the finest hip hop related writing of the year. Less awards show and more voice amplifying, the yearly 'Best Damn Hip Hop Writing' series aims to tap into the collective psyche of hip hop culture for a given year and showcase a variety of defining voices in contemporary hip hop music journalism.