Music producers and engineers discuss why hip hop dominates the Billboard Hot 100

07-12-2018 02:12


November 11, 2018

Victoria Hendree

Music producer Boo Mitchell sits at his desk typing swiftly on his laptop.

He’s wearing a grey and white pantsuit with denim blue jeans, while his left hand is decked with three gold rings.

He speaks clearly yet he pauses, pensive almost.  He exudes his passion for music through poignant description and a smile on his face.

Overall, both Boo Mitchell and Ben Yonas, music producer and engineer, each know that young people love hip hop.

“I think hip hop tends to dominate pop charts because the youth of today love it and relate to it,” said music producer Boo Mitchell. “It’s something that you feel.”

For example, right now on the Billboard Hot 100 “Girls Like You” featuring Maroon 5 and Cardi B remains at number 1 for its 6th week. This shows that hip hop merges with pop and dominates the charts.

Coincidentally Travis Scott’s hit single “Sicko” remains still number 2 on the Hot 100 charts.

Mitchell also created a rap group called Mos Def back in the 80s.

“I think that bringing people together is integral in creating a music group. It’s a lot of work but it is worth it,” Mitchell said.

Now music producer/engineer and artist manager Ben Yonas thinks the same as Mitchell when it comes to why hip hop tends to dominate pop music charts.

“Young people listen to hip hop. Streaming is blowing up through Spotify and Apple Music, and the demographic is skewed towards young people, Yonas said. Hip hop is more real. For example, Cardi B is just speaking the truth; she’s just talking about how she feels.”

Now the difference between hip hop and pop music is simple. Hip hop has more substance and feelings than pop because it is derived from people’s past experiences and situations.

Artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Jay-z and even late rapper XXXTentacion wrote music that relates to people on all levels.

Mitchell has met several famous artists such as Snoop Dogg, John Mayer and Bruno Mars. He also helped engineer Bruno Mars’ hit single “Uptown Funk.”

“You know, they just want to be treated normal. They aren’t a display at a museum or mall,” Mitchell said.

Being famous himself, Mitchell really related to how many mainstream artists feel in the spotlight and having being treated like a display animal.

Mitchell is also working on producing new upcoming artists from Memphis such as Fiona Silver, the Peterson brothers, Jimmy Charles, and J.D. Wes Moreland.

Also, Yonas produced Grammy nominated Lady Rizo. Although not a hip hop artist, Lady Rizo uses a combination of pop with jazz to create music.

“I brought her to classes for her to talk about how it all works in the music industry. She is great people. Grammy’s don’t pay bills, but it just legitimizes the work you do, making it easier to land gigs and tours,” Yonas said.

Many different artists both pop and hip hop work hard to earn their money. One specific thing that Yonas said that the music industry should change is performance royalties for artists.

“The one thing that is messed up in the music industry in this country is that we don’t pay a performance royalty for radio. We are one of the very few developed countries that doesn’t. When Whitney Houston sings someone else’s song and it’s a number 1 hit, she doesn’t get any royalties from the performance side; but from the masters’ side,” Yonas said.

A performance royalty is basically money earned by an artist through radio.

According to, a royalty is compensation that is paid to an artist for their works.

Mitchell thinks that Spotify is the best streaming service for hip hop artists. Although some people may beg to differ, several artists have attained copious streams from this music app.

Another app that hip hop artists like Tekashi 69 and late rapper XXXTentacion, rose to fame from was Soundcloud.

“Soundcloud isn’t heavily sought after like the other music apps. However, artists like XXXTentacion have become famous off of it,” Mitchell said.

Music is the universal language, and even though hip hop tends to have a negative connotation as well because of its degrading lyrics towards women, sex and drugs it relates to so many people and can have very positive effects as well.