Last week, Billboard revealed its year-end Boxscore charts, ranking the top tours, venues, and promoters of 2023. That coverage included analysis of the new wave of genre diverse artists crashing stadium stages, and in turn, our charts. Here, we are breaking down the year’s biggest tours, genre by genre. Today, we continue with rap.
Hip-hop had a confusing year, celebrating all of the groundbreaking art and success that has come in its first 50 years, while also dealing with a drought of crossover hits. But major releases from Drake, Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott helped momentum in the second half of 2023, while a new class of headliners waits in the wings.
Rap has never scaled on stage in quite the same way that pop, rock and country have. Its share of the top 100 tour grosses slips from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.7% this year, having peaked at 5.2% in 2019. And even as Latin and K-pop acts increase their touring footprint with international stadium shows, hip-hop artists have yet to cross that threshold. The genre’s biggest names have mounted stadium tours alongside pop peers (Jay-Z with Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake; Eminem with Rihanna) but outside of one-off dates, there has yet to be a major stadium tour by a rapper on their own.
That’s not to say that rap hasn’t generated stars big enough to compete with pop stars such as Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. R&B/hip-hop was confirmed as the most popular genre in America in 2017 and has continued that reign into the new decade. Rap artists led Billboard’s year-end Top Artist ranking for four consecutive years (2018-21) and there are six in this year’s top 20 – more than any other genre. With Doja Cat, Lil Uzi Vert, Rod Wave and Travis Scott already touring into the 2024 reporting period, the genre’s prospects are looking up.
Keep reading to check out the top 10 highest grossing tours of 2023 by hip-hop artists, with such acts qualifying due to recent performance on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums and/or Hot Rap Songs charts. Rankings are determined according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. All reported shows worldwide between Nov. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2023, are eligible.
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