The final piece of our Hip-Hop Family Tree segment.
Family is everything. The odds are uncontrollable, and blood binds a family together, creating an inseparable bond. Hip-hop artists are no different than the rest of us when it comes to family, and entire waves of cousins, brothers, sisters, and parents have shared success in the rap game. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern who’s related for real, and who’s just a close friend or mentor that has earned the title of “cousin” or “uncle.” For the purpose of this family tree, blood or marriage are the only determining factors of relation.
For the final chapter of our Hip-Hop Family Tree segment, families that have found success in The New School Era are the focus. The New School guys catch the most heat, many rap fans and critics have been vehemently vocal regarding how they feel about today’s leading artists. Clothing went from baggy to fitted, and melodies have become the most important engine behind successful rap singles. Although lyricists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, and an assembly of others, have enjoyed success in the 2010’s, the charts don’t lie. Rappers that rely more on swag, vibe, and melody, such as Young Thug, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and Post Malone have taken the game by storm.
Now, this isn’t the first time in hip-hop history that the overabundance of melodic tunes has come under fire. 50 Cent ran an entire campaign that derailed Ja Rule’s talent for creating chart-toppers that heavily relied on sing-song raps. Nelly, arguably one of the most successful melodic rappers ever, lost his reign on the charts after hip-hop fans became weary of his sing-song antics. Still, the 2010’s revived the commercial viability of the melodic rapper (Drake was the direct catalyst for this revival).
The most famous hip-hop family in 2018 is Migos. The rap crew ascended the charts and reaffirmed Atlanta’s stranglehold on Billboard. The follow-up to their rap rattling album Culture, appropriately entitled Culture II, was released last week. Migos isn’t the only family that was able to capitalize on the hip-hop game during this decade. During rap’s most eclectic generation, these are the relatives that held it down.
1. Young Nudy & 21 Savage
After featuring on his cousin’s track “Air It Out,” Young Nudy decided to go all in on the rap game. 21 Savage is of Caribbean descent, although he spent most of his youth in the Atlanta area. Savage aka The Slaughter King climbed the hip-hop ladder on the strength of his mixtapes, which landed him co-signs from Drake, Future, Metro Boomin’, T.I., and Gucci Mane, among others. Since his introduction to the world, Nudy has released the Slime Ball mixtape series.
2. Chance The Rapper & Taylor Bennett
“Am I the only nigga still care about mixtapes,” asked Chance the Rapper on his Coloring Book tape. The free project earned Chance the Best New Artist Grammy, something that has never happened in the history of music ever. His brother, Taylor Bennett, may be much less famous, but he is no less talented. The two bothers were influenced by the same artist, Kanye West, something that can be discerned from listening to their music.
3. Migos & YRN Lingo
In the last few years, Migos has become a powerhouse in the hip-hop industry. While many rappers might call themselves “fam,” these gentlemen are actually family. The trio was raised together in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta. Quavo, who is Takeoff’s uncle, is only four years older than his nephew. Offset, Quavo’s cousin, rounds out “The Beatles of this generation,” as Childish Gambino appointed them. Migos affiliate YRN Lingo, is also cousins with Takeoff, expanding the family empire.
4. MadeinTYO & 24hrs
Another Atlanta native, MadeinTYO, ignited Billboard with his single “Uber Everywhere” in 2016. MadeinTYO spent six years of his youth at an army base in Yokosuka, which is what inspired his name. 24hrs, TYO’s blood brother, caught the nation’s attention after OVO Radio featured his music. The two brothers have released a joint EP called 24hrs in Tokyo.
5. Playboi Carti & UNO The Activist
Atlanta is churning out talent. ATLiens Playboi Carti and his cousin UNO the Activist created the group TFZ together in high school. The pair went their separate ways creatively and began to work on solo music, landing Playboi a deal through Interscope Records. UNO, on the other hand, signed a deal with Republic Records. The cousins still collaborate, although their solo careers keep them busy.
6. Big Pun & Chris Rivers
Chris Rivers, who once went by the stage name of “Baby Pun,” stepped out of his father’s shadow in the mid-2010’s. Big Pun, a lyricist of the highest calibre, passed away in 2000 after his weight caused a heart attack and respiratory failure. Chris once belonged to a rap group alongside Benzino’s son, but the seed of the BX borough legend decided to go solo after the group failed to gain much success. Rivers released Delorean last summer, an album that proves the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.