How Hip Hop Shined on Tiny Desk in 2023

Hip Hop 2023 on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Performances

Hip Hop really shined on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts in 2023.  Already regarded in several circles as the best Tiny Desk performance all year, Brad “Facemob” aka Scarface, leading the way. We also saw an incredible performance from Juvenile, featuring Mannie Fresh.  Even though so much of the music in hip hop is sampled, groups like the Roots proved long ago how live instruments really bring this music form to life. Always a treat to watch these artists perform in these environments. We have reviewed quite a few Tiny Desk Concerts on here in the past.

What were some of the hip hop performances of 2023 that you enjoyed?

Speaking of, The Mighty Roots Crew, live instruments are definitely the main event. Hearing how talented musicians bring familiar sounds to life sometimes in new ‘sounding’ ways. I’m thankful to live in a time when we get to see some of these artists show off their talents.

Let’s et into a few of the Tiny Desks concerts WE liked for 2023

Starting with, The Baddest Bitch, Trina herself …

The songs performed in order of appearance …

  1. “Mama”
  2. “Da Baddest Bitch”
  3. “Single Again”
  4. “Here We Go”
  5. “Nann Nigga”

Keeping it real this was a surprise to see. I never imagined I’d see Trina standing in the White House talkin this talk. This performance happened early in April 2023, and I’m not gone lie, it would’ve been nice to see Trick Daddy show up for Nann Nigga!  Everyone did a great job with those who were able to be in attendance. The daughters of the legendary singer Betty Wright did their thang! Let us know what you thought about Trina, the baddest bitch, on Tiny Desk.

That Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Cash money Appearance tho …

Listen, New Orleans is pretty much known for their vast musical talents. I definitely often refer people to HBO’s Treme, in case they are uninformed. It’s a good place to start, but don’t stop there. One of the musicians on Treme, shows up here, Trombone Shorty. He knew the assignment, as you’ll hear here. Also, another well known New Orleans musician Jon Batiste joined him to close this historic Tiny Desk concert out. As Juvie points out, Two Grammy Winners (cause that’s who they are) … they come in around 15 minutes into it…

They came right out the gate with some of their greatest hits …

  1. “Intro (feat. Mannie Fresh)”
  2. “400 Degreez (feat. Mannie Fresh)”
  3. “Bling Bling (feat. Mannie Fresh)”
  4. “Ha”
  5. “Set It Off”
  6. “Slow Motion”
  7. “Rodeo (feat. The Amours)”
  8. “I Need A Hot Girl (feat. Mannie Fresh)”
  9. “Project Bitch (feat. Mannie Fresh)”
  10. “Back That Azz Up (feat. Mannie Fresh)”

That’s right … they gave us 10 songs!! I know that a lot of outlets are saying Scarface was the best, but … this one here is in the discussion. Happening at the end of Black Music Month, back in June of 2023, some may have forgotten just how amazing this was.  Maybe some people feel that the songs Scarface performed were more popular?

I’m not sure, but this was def. one of my favorite appearances of 2023, for hip hop. Hip Hop 50, has been quite a awesome year for this Black American artform. Created, as a platform for black people to tell stories and inform one another about the world we are in. Trina and Juvenile may not be talking about the kind of topics that Scarface was. That is the beauty of hip hop, that it has room for expression for all. See our Review of Scarface, one of Hip hops greatest story tellers, surprising us and many others, with his Tiny Desk Concert, here.

Other hip hop performances on Tiny Desk in 2023 Included: Cypress Hill, and a few R&B artists who often guest appear on Hip Hop tracks, like Raphael Sadiq and Charlie Wilson. But closing this out with another one of my favorites from 2023 ….

Ab Soul from TDE during Black History Month.

I didn’t see this one discussed much at all. Ab Soul, for those who are unaware is one of the West Coast underground MC’s, that rarely get mainstream press. His signing to TDE was a big deal, largely for the reason that his fanbase felt it would get him more exposure and more appreciation. From the city of Carson, where another MC named Rass Kass came out of … along with another TDE roster rapper, known as Reason.  Slept on, but this was def one of the better 2023 Live Tiny Desk concerts for hip hop –

The songs Ab Soul performed in order are:

  2. “Bohemian Grove”
  4. “FOMF”
  5. “Terrorist Threats”
  6. “FALLACY”
  7. “DO BETTER”
  8. “The Book of Soul”
  9. “GOTTA RAP”

Holding out hope that someday we get that “Black Hippies” project that was rumored, with Ab, K-Dot and Schoolboy Q.


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