Spotify's hip-hop platform Rap Caviar has shared a list of the 50 most-streamed hip-hop albums on the streaming service.
Alongside albums from rap giants like Drake, Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar, the list's top 10 displays a clear trend: five of the most-streamed albums are from recently deceased hip-hop artists.
XXXTentacion has both the No 1 and No 6 spots, with ? and 17 respectively, while Juice WRLD sits at No 4 with Goodbye & Good Riddance and No 10 with Legends Never Die. Pop Smoke's Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon comes in at No 7.
Each of these artists tragically passed away between 2018 and 2020. Both Pop Smoke and XXXTentacion were murdered, while Juice WRLD died of a fatal drug overdose. All three were only in their early 20s at the time of their deaths, enjoying relatively newfound success and mainstream recognition.
Two of the albums in Spotify's top 10 are posthumous releases. Juice WRLD's Legends Never Die and Pop Smoke's Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon were both released in July 2020, less than a year after both rappers' passing. Each of these three artists has released several posthumous projects following their death, with Juice WRLD's fifth and final album The Party Never Ends scheduled for release in September 2023.
Just a few months ago, it was revealed that Juice WRLD's catalogue had surpassed 30 billion streams on Spotify; he now holds the record for the highest average stream count per song for any artist on the platform. XXXTentacion has 10 songs on Spotify that have racked up over a billion streams. Taylor Swift only has one.
What's behind the enduring popularity of deceased rappers in hip-hop? It's well-known that the genre's lyrical content often centres on matters of life and death; it makes sense that an untimely passing might imbue an artist's catalogue with a certain emotional weight that makes it more appealing to fans.
Last month, we reported that 2023 was the first year since 1993 that hip-hop had yet to see a No 1 song or album in the US charts during the first half of the year. This month, Lil Uzi Vert broke that streak, topping the Billboard 200 with Pink Tape.