Evolution of Hip Hop

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Hip Hop originated from humble beginnings. It started in New York’s poorest cities at barbecues and block parties; however, in contemporary hip-hop culture it dominates the radio and created a multi-million-dollar industry. Often hip-hop is synonymous with rapping to most people, but hip-hop is a representation of a subculture that includes rapping, table turning, breakdancing, beatboxing, and several other stylistic elements. In 1979, hip-hop took the global stage when The Sugar Hill Gang released Rapper’s Paradise which reached the top 40 and remained on the charts for 12 weeks. Following their success, several other rappers began to release records such as Kurtis Blow and Africa Bambaataa; Grandmaster Flash would eventually prove, in 1982, that fun is not the only acceptable way of listening to this type of music. Thus, socially-conscious hip hop was created. The evolution into socially conscience rap discussed poverty, crime, and expressed how stressful it is to live in a dangerous city. With the inclusion of topics that are socially aware came the introduction of drum machines, samples of funk and disco records, and synthesizers. The 1990’s brought rappers such as 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, NWA, Ice-T, Notorious BIG, and several others. These rappers discussed many politically charged conversations that were targeted to the black community such as police brutality, teen pregnancy, and black on black crimes. The evolution of hip-hop continued into the 2010’s when artificial gangsta rap was created. Gangsta rap included socially conscience ideas while artificial gangsta rap focused on topics such as women, drugs, and money. This was the downfall of hip-hop in my opinion because the genre was no longer about expressing someone’s truth but instead competing to have the biggest struggle. Often rappers do not rap about their own lives such as Drake who lived a middle-class life making a song about starting from the bottom. Currently, there are few rappers who are still socially conscience; however, the few that are still “woke” are largely influential.

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