The evolution of hip-hop

By Gladys

All genres of music have evolved over the years, but hip-hop by far in my opinion has had the most incredible evolution. Early hip-hop was music that talked about real issues African Americans were dealing with in their life. Hip-hop was one of the forms they used to express their feelings, and relate to others who were dealing with similar issues and/or feelings. Hip-hop today is completely different; the meaning the music once had I believe has been lost. Today’s hip-hop music talks about how to live a good wealthy lifestyle, how the youth today should just follow their trends to live a good life style.

Early hip-hop had a lot more meaning than the hip-hop we listen to on the radio now in days. If we focus on the music of hip-hop when it was first being heard, their music was real in the sense that they talked about real issues. Early hip-hop artist were more commonly known to be African Americans. To them hip-hop was a form of self-expression. Artist talked about the issues they were facing such as discrimination, poverty, heartache, and love. The golden era of hip-hop, known to be from the late 80’s to the early 90’s, is known to be hip-hops most innovated time period. The golden era dealt with artist whose music had quality, influence, and was diverse. This was the time where hip-hop flourished and touched upon political and social issues. During this time period many different styles of rap were composed, written, and preformed, by many different artist.

Hip-hop today is nothing like it was before. I would not consider the music we listen to today as hip-hop, today’s hip-hop should be categorized under a whole new genre. When I think about the contemporary hip-hop of today, all artist rap or sing about is money, sex, drugs, and partying. Nothing like what hip-hop was before actually the complete opposite of what we would hear in hip-hop before.  Hip-hop today takes part of the Culture Industry; artists now allow themselves to be used to sell products. The artist wants his or her audience to follow their trend, and if they do they will be feel like unique individuals. In music videos artist are sponsored to sell a certain type alcohol, car, and/or clothing brand. All throughout the video there is product placement showing whoever is watching the video what a good time they can have if they buy what they have in the video.

It’s all about what the money can buy the artist in today’s hip-hop era. The song doesn’t need to have good lyrics today, all it needs it’s a good beat that can catch audience’s attention. The songs being produced today are not authentic, most songs claim to be different and unique but really they are like all other hip-hop songs out today. In the video below KRS-One claims that in the society we live in today it doesn’t ask for todays youth to be authentic, it asks them to follow a trend, to model a role, it doesn’t want them to be themselves, society wants them to just follow a trend and most of trends don’t last.

Usually evolution is for the best, but in hip-hop I would consider its evolutions to have been for the worst. Hip-hop lost all meaning and respect it once had. Artists used music as a way of expression but were respectful towards others. Today all artist want is to have the hottest single out that will make them wealthier than they already are. Artists criticize one another claiming only they are “true hip-hop”. However hip-hop has been commercialized into mainstream music that has no true meaning.  Hip-hop nowadays is nonsense that should not be compared to real genuine hip-hop from the 80’s and 90’s. It would be considered offensive to an artist from the 90’s to be compared to an artist from today, while music to them was a form of self expression, to an artist today music means wealth and popularity. There is a reason why many of today’s artists keep referring to classic albums that debuted in the 1990’s, they refer to these albums as the inspiration in why they decided to become artist themselves.

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