It is well known that the origins of our modern hiphip stemmed from the boroughs of New York City in the late 1970’s. New York City at the time was a raw and racially diverse place in areas outside of Manhattan; further, New York was in the midst of one the worse crime surges in modern America. This tumultuous environment bred a new generation of artists and as such,this crossculture integration produced a new forms of expression through music.
Clive Campbell, Jamaican immigrant that went by the name Kool Herc, is credited with creating this new style in the mid 70’s. This new sound was a far cry from what we know today as rap music, nonetheless, this is where it began. Essentially, it was a DJ playing a record and “mixing it” and combining this with the recitation of rhymes. This primitive form of music came to be known as Hiphop as it percolated throughout the city; every racially and culturally unique neighborhood putting on it it’s spin. The first hints of any mainstream success within the genre came with 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang which reached #36 on the Billboard 100, thus demonstrating hiphop’s ability to achieve commercial success.
The diversity of New York City cannot be overstated, and this is an important aspect of HipHop’s maturity and evolution. Within each borough there is a generalized dominant racial group or combination of groups. With names like JamaicaQueens, its not hard to tell which ethnic groups dominate each of the five boroughs. Statistically Speaking:
Majority Minority groups as follows:
: Puerto Ricans, other Latino groups. (43%)
: AfricanAmerican (37%) & Latino (10%)
: Latino (25%) Asian (12%) African American (13%)
Latino (27%) Asian (22%) AfricanAmerican (20%)
As hiphop progressed through the 80’s and became popular throughout the country, artists from all over the United States accomplished success; HipHop had matured and was becoming rooted in pop culture. While it’s certainly true that rap music had long left the confines of New York City, it was still New York from which most of the popular rappers and group hailed. The 1980’s saw the emergence of The Beastie Boys, whose albums Licensed to Ill achieved critical acclaim and huge commercial success. This coincided with the growth of rock music’s popularity. The best example of this exists with RunDMC’s collaboration with Aerosmith on the track “Walk This Way” in 1986. In the music video was a visual representation of what this record accomplished in mainstream America; the two bands are performing, separated by a brick wall, the two conflicting sounds,and naturally conflict arises. This is resolved when the wall is broken down and the two bands join forces and perform the song as it is heard. This is an obvious metaphor exhibiting the popularity of rap music throughout white america along with black culture. This undoubtedly opened the world to hiphop leading to an explosion of its popularity and the emergence of new sounds from different regions in the United States.
The late 80’s and into the early 90’s was dominated by socially and politically conscious rap groups. (It is important to note that it was groups that tended to gain celebrity more often than individual rappers during this period (N.W.A, RunDMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, De la Soul) to name a few). New
York City specifically curated numerous young talents that would grow to become legendary performers that remain influential till this day.
A major turn came in the mid 1990’s as popular music began to move away from politics and social issues, shifting instead to content based on street culture, drug culture, sex, violence and status. To me, this marked the beginning of modern rap. To explain this sentiment, I present a analysis and ...
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