The Hip Hop Enlightenment and the Recognition of Sub Genres

By Janelle Clark

In the 1980-2000s, the style of music was aggressive and gangster style rapping. The hip hop scene was graffiti and rebellion against “The Man” but as time went on and hip hop had to adjust to the 2000s. The “gangsta” rap style was being used as a stereotype for black people in society at the time but also confronting the mass amounts of police brutality that had been going on since the beginning of white American society. To escape this frustration hip-hop began to hypersexualize women more than it already was and focused on the idea of the rapper or hip-hop artist having to be this tough macho guy who spoke lyrically but could still knock you out. As time went on, rappers had this new image where they were being desired as thugs or criminals, while they still disrespected women and authority of any type, but some artists tried to challenge that notion by rapping softer messages and developing their own styles. While this softer style was being developed, the aggressive style was being finetuned into something more.

This song is an example of the more aggressive style that was being finetuned. Made You Look by Nas is about being tough and rough, being in the streets because that’s how you become a strong macho man (so he raps). This song is more modern in how it plays because of the more sophisticated electronically edited sample or music in the backing, it’s subtle and allows his lines to punch with emphasis in the given air.

This song is more of the soft delivery variety, Ms. Jackson by Outkast, popularly known for their southern soft R&B style rapping in other songs, is a love ballad and a promise that calls out the role of mothers and fathers in the United States at the time. The piano and gentle beat lends itself to Andre 3000’s vocals and rapping.The two songs, though very different in nature, both criticize and talk about the world they live in. The true nature and culture of hip-hop is to talk about and criticize the world’s faults. Hip-hop is speaking truth to power, using skilled lyricism to talk to people about what is going on in the world.

The 2000s music style has become more experimental, and deejays and emcees have become kings of the rap music industry, making music for great artists. DJ Mustard, Mike Will, DJ Khaled, and more create the soundtrack of the modern American teen’s life. As music becomes more diverse and curious about its origins, it returns to its roots and remembers the greats who made the music that made the artists who they are today. (Below is a song by Erica banks called Buss it which samples Hot in Heere by Nelly) 

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