Kendrick Lamar made history over the weekend by becoming the first person of colour to top triple j‘s Hottest 100, but his victory has still managed to court its fair share of controversy.
K. Dot became the second-ever hip hop artist to claim the countdown’s #1 spot, and also broke a Hottest 100 curse by becoming the first act to make the leap from #2 to #1, after coming runner-up with ‘King Kunta’ in 2015.
Despite Lamar’s accomplishments, his Hottest 100 win has been met with some criticism online, mainly due to its lyrical content.
Triple j acknowledged HUMBLE.’s controversial lyrics after Lamar’s win, including the fact that the song’s “Lil’ bitch” hook led to a string of complaints on the triple j text line. The station also noted people’s differing opinions of the lines, “I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.”
Others criticised the song’s victory online (including on the Music Feeds Facebook page), calling the song “sexist” or just sharing their general dislike of the track:
I’ve listened to every hottest 100 on jjj, is it possible I’m now too old? So many amazing female Australian artists this year and Kendrick Lamar singing about bitches gets number 1?? Disappointed in current jjj listeners #Hottest100
— Melanie Wray (@melanie_wray) January 27, 2018
Following Kendrick’s win, Triple j‘s Music Director Nick Findlay said ‘HUMBLE.’ was a “modern-day masterpiece” which “shows just how powerful and important Kendrick Lamar is as a songwriter of our generation”. He also said the station was “overwhelmed” with requests for the song following its release in March.
Meanwhile, triple j‘s ‘Hip Hop Show’ host Hau Latukefu said, “It’s a big moment to see a song like ‘HUMBLE.’ by an artist like Kendrick to be number one on the #HOTTEST100. The climate for hip hop and R&B has been changing for the good around the world and now we’re seeing it here in Aus.”
It’s a big moment to see a song like ‘Humble’ by an artist like Kendrick to be number one on the #HOTTEST100. The climate for hip hop and R&B has been changing for the good around the world and now we’re seeing it here in Aus. More life! ✊🏽
— triple j Hip Hop (@triplejhiphop) January 27, 2018
“This is so major, actually culture shifting,” said artist Miss Blanks.
“Black people/people of colour make great music, great art, and deserve to be prioritised, elevated, and supported in ways beyond a countdown and one day.”
IMPORTANT READ! pic.twitter.com/RTb8M1VR36
— MISS BLANKS (@miss_blanks) January 27, 2018
Others praised the song’s historic Hottest 100 win, and suggested that some people’s criticism of the track may be racially motivated.
The best song of the year easy! The moment we all heard it we knew! Unreal! Lucky to be alive when Kendrick Lamar is releasing music. Everyone! Sit down and be humble. #Hottest100
— JamesTidswell (@JamesTidswell) January 27, 2018
— Hau (@hauiebeast) January 27, 2018
Kendrick is yet to publicly comment on his Hottest 100 victory, and it’s unlikely that he will anytime soon, especially given that he didn’t speak to triple j following the weekend’s countdown.
‘HUMBLE.’ beat out Gang Of Youths’ song ‘Let Me Down Easy’ to claim first place in the Hottest 100 of 2017, after two statistics experts who were tracking the public’s vote correctly predicted the song would top this year’s countdown.
For the full list of songs from triple j‘s Hottest 100 of 2017, head here.