Over the weekend, Australia voted publicly for Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” to be the #1 song of 2017 in the national youth broadcaster Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 countdown after over two million votes. The lead single off Lamar’s almost triple-platinum fourth studio album DAMN, charted highly worldwide and was widely tipped to be a strong contender this year in Australia. This marked the first time a person of color has taken out the number 1 spot in Australia’s annual countdown in its almost 30-year history. It also improved on Lamar’s #2 placing in 2015 with “King Kunta“. It is also only the second time the coveted #1 spot has been won by a hip-hop artist after Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” in 2012.
Indigenous Australian rap artist Baker Boy, who had a breakthrough year in 2017, notably had two songs in the Top 100, with “Marryuna” at #17 and Cloud 9 at #76. Local group Thundamentals was the only other hip-hop act in the Top 10. They achieved the best placing of any Australian hip-hop group with their track “Sally” featuring Mataya finishing at #8 and furthermore their song 21 Grams featuring Hilltop Hoods placing at #61. Kendrick Lamar also charted #34 in the countdown with “DNA“, #92 with “LOVE” ft. Zacari and at #97 with “Loyalty” feat. Rihanna and along with Lorde, Gang Of Youths and The Jungle Giants was the only artist to have four songs in the Hottest 100.
While the date of Triple J’s Hottest 100 for the last two decades has usually coincided with the current date of the national public holiday of Australia Day on Jan. 26, this year Australia’s national youth radio broadcaster Triple J has moved it to a new date of the fourth weekend in January after tens of thousands of the Australian public voted to move it to a different date. The issue is highly contentious in Australia as the Australia Day public holiday of Jan. 26 marks the formal date of British establishment of a penal colony in Australia and is widely considered as a day of mourning for the country’s Indigenous communities and their allies and is known instead as Survival Day.