2012 has been a huge year for hip-hop, including both ups and downs. The year started in a bad way, YMCMB’s Cory Gunz was arrested for possessing a firearm, the same reason Weezy got taken down, it seems to be a reoccurring theme for the Young Money Cash Money Billionaire’s. Other than that, there was not much big news, music-wise, there were three stand out albums released – ScHoolboy Q’s Habits & Contradictions, Yo Gotti’s Live from the Kitchen and AraabMuzik’s Instrumental University. Both ScHoolboy and AraabMuzik gave new and different sounds to what the world of hip-hop had heard before. For AraabMuzik to release an album full of instrumentals showed the art of production, which, beforehand, may not have been a heavily recognized side of hip-hop; but now producers are getting the credit they deserve. ScHoolboy Q is part of the Black Hippy group, along with Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Kendrick Lamar, they all give an individual take on a new style of rap. ScHoolboy’s “Hands On The Wheel” with A$AP Rocky was a big hit with fans; listeners heard two new styles of rap come together and almost create a new sound. A$AP Rocky and ScHoolboy Q are very much alike, through their sound and flows; they collaborate well together on this track to produce one of the standout pieces from the album. Both ScHoolboy’s and Yo Gotti’s albums featured in the Billboard 200. Now, coming to February, Yeezy won not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 Grammy’s, for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. There was much controversy with Tyga’s debut album, as it had unauthorized usage of one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches; however, the problem was quickly resolved and forgotten about. But, Tyga’s album Careless World: Rise of the Last King was released, debuting at no. 3 on the Billboard 200, Chiddy Bang also released their album Breakfast, which debuted at no.5, Curren$y, Too $hort, Ja Rule also released albums. In March, T.I signed many artists to his Grand Hustle label – Iggy Azalea, Chip and Trae The Truth. Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) signed their first major with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment, it was also announced that Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city will be released through all three of the labels (TDE, Interscope and Aftermath), whereas all other Black Hippy productions will just be released through TDE and Interscope. Odd Future released their first buyable work of music, The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, MGK also released his Half Naked & Almost Famous, Diggy Simmons and Tech N9ne also released albums featuring in the Billboard 200. And who could forget Coachella in April, with the memorable 2Pac hologram; as onlookers saw Dr. Dre and Snoop do their thing, the crowd were stunned to see an unlikely sighting, 2Pac was there in spirit that night, it is clear to say that his legacy still lives on to this very day. Future, the Atlanta native, released his first popular album Pluto, featuring hit songs “Turn On The Lights”, “Same Damn Time” and “Tony Montana” with new pal and companion, Drake. In May, another rapper was sent to prison for possessing a firearm, this time it was Young Buck, a former member of G-Unit. 2 Chainz was also in trouble with the police as he got arrested for possessing a set of brass knuckles. The beef between Lil Wayne and Pusha T was publicized in May, in Pusha’s “Exodus 23:1”, causing much tension between fellow rappers and between both G.O.O.D Music and Cash Money Records. Ab-Soul released Control System, Big K.R.I.T released ReturnOf4Eva and Live from the Underground (a month later). In June, a new rapper from Chicago signed with Interscope Records, Chief Keef, who has now got his debut album at the age of 17 has shown that near to everyone can make it in this industry. There has been much controversy with Chief Keef due to the Chicago gang wars, but musically, Chief Keef has made big appearances due to his hit “Don’t Like” with fellow GBE companion Lil Reese. Also in June, came a big ‘brawl’ in W.i.P. nightclub between Drake and Chris Brown (Meek Mill and Trey Songz were also amongst the artists at the club that night), as soon as news broke out, the internet went crazy. Breezy was seen to be tweeting aggressively and inappropriately about the YMCMB artist after bottles were thrown. An Australian tourist was caught in the crossfire and was rushed to hospital after multiple injuries to her face; the whole case is still under investigation and there is no news of resolution as of yet, but let’s hope the two artists can resolve and forget what happened. This month saw Waka Flocka release Triple F Life, Kid Ink release Up & Away and MMG release their second volume to their MMG: Self Made series. In July, the whole internet stopped and read a letter that OFWGKTA member Frank Ocean had posted on his Tumblr, releasing a statement expressing his sexuality. Now, the hip-hop world is not balanced with differentiating sexual preferences, however, from this letter came respect, fellow artists showed support for Frank Ocean, even top artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce showed their regard; music is about friendship, loyalty, and togetherness as well as art. Rick Ross also released his highly-anticipated God Forgives, I Don’t, featuring hit songs “Hold Me Back”, “So Sophisticated”, “Diced Pineapples” and “3 Kings”. In August, 2 Chainz released his debut album Based On A T.R.U Story, which debuted at no.1 on the Billboard 200, featuring hits “No Lie”, “Birthday Song” and “I’m Different”. DJ Khaled also released an album, a collaborative one, as always. Features on the album came from such artists as Kanye, Rick Ross, Wayne, Ace Hood, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Wale, J.Cole, Wiz Khalifa and many more. In September, Lil’ Wayne took over the rock legend Elvis Presley with the most appearances on the Billboard 100; Wayne has managed 42 as a solo artist and 67 as a featured artist. September also hosted the BET Awards, where G-Unit and MMG got in a huge, controversial brawl. TMZ uploaded a video in which Rick Ross is seen to be charging towards another entourage, something gets smashed, there is a lot of shouting and movement; many artists, such as DJ Drama and DJ Khaled were amongst the crowd. Jay-Z also announced the opening of the Barclays Center with a concert, also with a hologram of Biggie. G.O.O.D Music released their collaborative album Cruel Summer, featuring big hits “Clique”, “Don’t Like” and “Mercy”. Hip-hop veteran Lupe Fiasco also dropped his Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. In October, 50 Cent beefed with French Montana over Twitter following the incident between MMG and G-Unit at the BET Awards, resulting in 50 calling Frenchie a “hoe” for criticising his career. Then, to further the confusion of the confliction between the two groups, 50 Cent was seen wearing Gunplay’s MMG chain in a video of him bowling. Fans of Lil’ Wayne were shocked to hear that he had suffered multiple seizures on a flight to Texas, this incident is almost identical to the Rick Ross seizure incident earlier on in the year. We also saw Drake’s OVO Fest take over Toronto for the night with a huge amount of guests: Snoop Dogg, French Montana, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and Waka Flocka Flame. On the 24th, Drake also opened his OVO Store online as a treat to his long awaiting, highly-anticipating fans. DJ Drama’s Quality Street Music came out and took to the shelves, beating everyone’s expectations and becoming one of the best collaborative albums ever heard in the game, features on the album came from the likes of: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Wale, 2 Chainz, Waka Flocka, Tyler, The Creator, T.I, Ludacris, Fabolous, T-Pain, Meek Mill and more. 2 other albums released early on in the month were Mellowhype’s Numbers and Machine Gun Kelly’s Lace Up, which both took fans by delight by the quality of music on both projects. On the 22nd, Kendrick Lamar, Compton’s golden boy, released good kid, m.A.A.d city, which has been labelled as one of the best albums of the year and for a good reason. The album has been labelled a ‘classic’, a pure Compton album, dumpin’ sounds, high to low tempos, innovative sounds, it all came together, King Kendrick Lamar was born when the album dropped. Following this, came Meek Mill’s debut album, the tough Philly native showed aggression on beats, what fans wanted to see, whilst maintaining his impeccable lyrical ability. Both K.Dot’s and Meek Mill’s albums have gone down in the history books, for sure. In November, The Weeknd dropped his first album, Trilogy, which debuted at no.4 on the Billboard 200. The Weeknd’s come up was all very quick, from featuring on a few songs with Drake, news spread about the Canadian and now is said to be one of the best vocalists in the R&B business. December saw 5 big albums drop, Game’s Jesus Piece, Wiz Khalifa’s O.N.I.F.C, Big Boi’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours, T.I’s Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head and Chief Keef’s Finally Rich; all debuting in the Billboard Top 50. Grammy nominations were dominated heavily in the rap game, with Jay-Z and Kanye getting 6 nominations each, Nas getting four, Drake and 2 Chainz getting 3, Andre 3000, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T and Lil Wayne all getting two. We also saw A$AP Rocky’s long-awaited, very highly-anticipated LONG.LIVE.A$AP leak, but fans have still been supporting his music and will be sure to show him the love by purchasing it either on disc or on iTunes, the music is art and should be appreciated by listening and showing love. 2012 has been a big year for hip-hop, expect much more from 2013.