The Unexpected Rise of the One-Hit Wonder in Hip-Hop

Share

Introduction: What is a One-Hit Wonder?

A one-hit wonder is a musician who receives acclaim and popularity for only one song. One-hit wonders can be classified into two categories, urban contemporary and psychedelic. Urban contemporary one-hit wonders are usually rappers, while psychedelic ones usually work alone. Although their careers are short, they have left an impression on the music industry. What draws most people to them is the lack of complexity in their work and the easy listening style.
Some one-hit wonders have gone on to achieve fame and critical acclaim but, unfortunately, have not been able to repeat the success of their original single. One of the most famous musicians who never got a second hit is Paul Anka . He scored a number one hit with his song “Diana” in 1960. He was able to go on to score hits with other songs and perform live shows in Las Vegas. Although his career had its ups and downs, he still has left his mark in music history.

derek khan onetime hiphop stars
derek khan onetime hiphop stars

How Did the One Hit Wonder Take Over Hip Hop?

The one hit wonder phenomenon has taken over the hip hop market. Before 1992, it was rare to find a song that made it big outside of the urban contemporary genre. This changed in 1992 when Hip Hop music took over across the country. The massive amount of radio airplay and sales earned by a single song led to an increase of one-hit wonders in hip hop music. The increase didn’t just end there, it also affected the rest of the music industry. The radio became devoted to playing one-hit wonders by artists who were not well known, while rarely playing songs by huge acts. The aim was to play a lot of new songs in order to keep their ratings high and avoid being labeled has having bad taste. While this helped to spread the success of music amongst a wider range of artists, it also changed how people viewed the genre.
The one-hit wonders also had an impact on urban contemporary music. Since the radio was now playing songs by artists who were not well known, hip hop artists started to worry about whether their songs would be played on the radio and become successful or not. This put a lot of pressure on the artists to create a good first single to attract attention from the radio and make their album successful. This led artists to make songs that were mainstream and would be played on the radio.

derek khan onetime hiphop stars
derek khan onetime hiphop stars

The Rise of the One Hit Wonder in the Digital Era

Although the phenomenon has always been around, it was able to be further affected by the internet. Fans are able to sites where they can listen to or download songs they enjoy. This has allowed artists who have previously limited themselves to a single song to branch out and create many different styles of music. The rise of downloading and streaming also means that one-hit wonders are able to gain more recognition then in previous years. The rise in popularity has also caused more people to start making their own music. Even though most one-hit wonders only made it big once, they are still able to remember the songs they made famous and make a living by performing them.
The One Hit Wonders of the past have been frequently mentioned, especially when this is done in a negative way. They are often used as an example of the limitations of the internet. It is usually discussed by those who did not get their fair share of support from the industry or by people who were paid to make negative comments about them. Although their success came from only releasing one hit, many do not see that as a disadvantage because they were able to create more than one kind of music. Artists like Outkast, Fergie, and Justin Timberlake were all one-hit wonders who have gone on to record more than one style of music.
The Rise of the One Hit Wonder in the Digital Era

derek khan onetime hiphop stars
derek khan onetime hiphop stars

How to Identify a One Hit Wonder and Their Best Works

In order to identify one hit wonders, it is necessary to take elements of their work and compare them. An obvious difference is the fact that one-hit wonder artists usually don’t have albums that they have released. This means that the work of a one-hit wonder if often limited to a single song. Many times, their album is also capped at one song, so as to prevent exposing listeners to other types of music. One-hit wonders are typically successful with their first song. Most of the time it is because they are victims of the fad culture, where people listen to one great song, and then turn off their radio stations. One-hit wonders are not considered by the majority to be good musicians because of the single nature of their work, but one-hit wonders can still entertain fans with their single songs. Many times, a one-hit wonder has beaten his/her music with many different remixes.
One hit wonders are very similar in appearance to talented musicians. In fact, I would say that a lot of talented musicians may be also considered as one hit wonders in today’s music industry. However, what sets one-hit wonders apart from talented musicians is their extremely limited number of albums released. In most cases, one hit wonders do not have more than one album released. The reason why a lot of people think that talented musicians may have released more than one album is because of their fast rise in popularity. For example if you can name any band that really got popular very fast and then disappeared, you will realize that these are not the same type of bands as those listed below.

derek khan onetime hiphop stars
derek khan onetime hiphop stars

Conclusion: How to Protect Yourself from Becoming a One Hit Wonder

The role of a rap artist is to entertain. If you can’t become creative enough to write lyrics that will entertain people, then maybe you should look for a different career. There is no shame in admitting that you cannot do something. Some people are better at doing certain things.
Rap artist that want to be successful need to stay creative, and constantly evolve their sound. You can also try branching off into other genres like rock or jazz, in order to keep your music fresh and diversified. If you want to make it as a rap artist, then creativity is the key.
You have to give your fans value. If you are giving them music they will enjoy, meaning less repetition and more creativity then they will be more likely to come back and listen to your music again.

derek khan onetime hiphop stars
derek khan onetime hiphop stars