This is my third year making these predictions, which means I’ve been in this read/respond/repeat cycle for a long time, way before blogging became a way to keep your name hot between book deals.
I’ve had these predictions waiting in the que since the end of last year, but I kept forgetting to put the polish on and publish it. I know it’s silly to forecast for a year when a whole season has passed by, but hip-hop is so unpredictable that it’s not like a shortened time frame gives me any advantage.
So, here we go:
1. The exodus of platinum talent from Def Jam that started with Cam’ron and DMX will continue with Ludacris and Ja-Rule jumping ship, probably to Warner Music. The rumor will be that the focus on Jay-Z’s projects is what made the artists leave.
2. In the same way that every website feels compelled to pitch a forum in their backyard, expect social networks to be attached to all of your favorite web destinations, especially the ones about music. I thought up this prediction before I saw Atlantic Record’s MySpace clone, but that is certainly the direction I’m thinking about. Oh yeah, most of the corporate backed ones will fail, because building community online is something you can brand your way into.
3. T.I. and Ludacris, who are fighting for the same attention not just in music, but in movies, will clash again. Expect an Ether/Takeover style battle instead of the jabs they landed last time.
4. The Boondocks season 1 DVD will be huge, and will set off a gold rush for racially charged humor that’s smart and hip, and full of the N-word.
5. Someone will create a microformat for publishing music reviews, and a set of structured blogging tools and aggregators will sprout up around it. Very few music bloggers will care to adopt those standards, especially in the hip-hop circle.
7. A bunch of old-school hip-hop artists will go on a successful tour that attracts the aging hip-hop audience that got into the music in the 80’s, and now feel alienated by all that darn snap music, hyphy and such. That generation of fans will then be labeled and marketed to.
S'all for now. See you next year.