Rap music has been around since the 1970s. However, with each generation, new technologies have meant a change in the means of consumption. During the 1980s, radio and MTV were the most prevalent music sources. MTV launched on August 1st, 1981, and was the sole provider of free hip-hop visuals until around 2007, when YouTube began to take off.
YouTube is accessible worldwide and can give musicians real insight into how many people are watching their music videos, their primary demographic and where they are based. Furthermore, it allows artists to store all their visuals in one place and gives individuals the agency to play the videos they want. It subsequently took the power away from establishments such as MTV.
However, with such a comprehensive insight into your popularity, it also lets artists know when demand for their content is waning and, using basic statistics, will highlight when interest in you and your material is declining. But on the flip side, it will point out when you are breaking boundaries and winning. Some music videos have accrued an unfathomable amount of views.
Nowadays, as more and more people gain access to the internet, it is relatively easy for individuals to go viral for trivial matters and attain over one million views on their videos. However, you must be a superstar to reach the coveted one billion. Very few individuals have achieved this incredible feat, and people acknowledge when they do.
There is a consensus amongst regular users of the video-sharing platform concerning a video’s relevancy. Most would assert that any video that has obtained over 100 million views on YouTube is highly significant and popular. Even visuals recorded before 2007 can rack up a mass of views, such as the video for the 1997 Biggie Smalls’ track ‘Hypnotize’, which currently has 538 million views. Unfortunately, some tracks and visuals are in such demand that they surpass 999 million and begin to enter the billions. This is a relatively new phenomenon and correlates with an increase in people’s access to the internet. Many genres have videos viewed over a billion times, and hip-hop is no different.
Usually, tracks with over one billion views have a cross-over appeal that causes fans of multiple genres to visit the video amplifying its relevancy. Songs such as Drake’s ‘Gods Plan’ (which has 1.4 Billion views) cater to the hip-hop, R’n’B and Afrobeat markets and subsequently draw in a considerable volume of people. However, there is one video that sits on top of the rest.
‘Love The Way You Lie’ is a 2010 track released by Eminem as the second single for his Recovery album and features the billionaire Bajan singer Rihanna. The song was released during the height of Rihanna’s popularity, and its rap-ballad love song fusion caused it to become a Diamond-certified, chart-topping single. The two renowned musicians performed the song at the 2010 VMAs to critical acclaim, with many calling it the best song of the Detroit rapper’s career. ‘Love The Way You Lie’ currently has 2.6 billion views and is the most-viewed hip-hop video.