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The Herald on the Hill

Hip Hop Is the Best Genre of Music

Jack Palen, Writer

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Since it’s conception in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop has been a potent force with major societal, political, and racial implications. Hip hop, as not only a movement but merely as a musical force, has impacted people more so than any other musical genre to date.

Hip hop is actually an umbrella referring to dance (B-Boy breakdancing), fashion (streetwear), art (graffiti) and music (Rap and RnB). Today the fashion that grew up alongside hip-hop music and dance has struck a new nerve through a resurgence of streetwear. The fashion sense is being sold by big names like H&M and Adidas, particularly through the Yeezy line.

Hip hop kicked down the door into pop culture, but not right off the bat. Hip hop was carried through legends and radio friends like Michael Jackson, who inspired various tracks and artists. For instance, Boyz II Men and Jagged Edge arguably only made it to radio waves because of MJ. Even Jackson’s music made white America uncomfortable; Jackson was refused a spot on the front of Rolling Stone because he was “too urban”. Hip hop artists definitely stood on the shoulders of giants. LL Cool J’s hit “Hey Lover” was a simple remix of MJ’s “Lady in My Life”. The Weeknd is a self proclaimed child of Michael Jackson. A lot has changed; if you turn on the radio you will most likely tune into an artist who has been influenced by the hip hop movement.

Even though all music has political routes, hip hop has championed explicit references to the political climate more than any genre. In today’s political climate hip hop naturally flourishes. Rappers call politicians out by name and say things that other artists are afraid to say. Rapper YG made a song called “F.D.T.”, with the “D” and “T” standing for Donald Trump. The “F” may be ambiguous until you learn that YG is an extreme critic of Donald Trump. The point is that rappers are serving as unapologetic critics in a time where they are arguably needed most. Kendrick Lamar’s political masterpiece of an album To Pimp a Butterfly preaches a message of racial inequality and racial tension. While it is obvious that other artists of other genres have done this, nothing has been as lyrically explicit or pungent as Kendrick’s album.

Since the ‘70s, hip hop has spread nationwide and internationally. Artists in Chicago (Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Consequence), Los Angeles (NWA, Kendrick Lamar), Atlanta (Migos, Future, Young Thug), and other regions have added their own flair to the sound, adding ad-libs, autotune, and soul music samples to their sounds.

For these reasons, hip hop is the most exciting, volatile genre of music that captivates an audience that is growing exponentially every day. Given the current political climate, the growing relevance of hip hop in culture, and the massive audience hip hop music has secured, it will certainly exciting to see where it goes in the future (dab!).

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Hip Hop Is the Best Genre of Music