“We (are) culture. Rap (is) the new Rock & Roll. We (are) the Rockstars. And I’m the biggest of all of them.”
Permeated with passion, in 2014 Kanye West’s statement confidently foresaw the future direction of music, and Rap/Hip-Hop influence on pop culture, years before the masses began to recognize it.
For the first time in music history, Rap/Hip-Hop overthrew Rock and Pop, to be crowned, music’s most in-demand genre, in 2017. The genre made up 25% of the music consumption market in 2017.
Rap/Hip-Hop originated in the late 1970s of the Bronx, NY. As its popularity grew in the 90s, it was perceived as a genre that would soon see its fate. Those who could not comprehend, condone nor correlate to the message, perceived it as an endangerment to the society. It was new, raw and controversial. In the early/mid 2000s, rap/hip-hop began to rid its gangster image with emerging artists such as Kanye West, leading the wave and changing the narrative.
West’s Ralph Lauren Sweaters and Louis Vuttion backpack differed from the throwback jerseys and baggy jeans that flooded the fashion markets of the Rap/Hip-Hop culture. His debut, The College Dropout, focused on an array of subjects from, our self-consciousness to impress based on insecurities, to encouraging the pursuit of your dreams despite those who may doubt your ability to succeed. Kanye’s initiative would birth an entire generation of new artist such of Drake, Kid Cudi and Wale to name a few.
We turn the clock ahead to this day and age to see the ascendency of a genre that was once frowned upon. Rap/Hip-Hop dominated the Grammy nominations of 2018, with a minimum of two artists to represent the genre in all three major categories (Record, Song and Album of the Year). But the influence is not limited to the musical spectrum. Rap/Hip-Hop dominate brand markets as well. The NBA, NFL and ESPN are renowned for using Rap/Hip-Hop during live broadcasts and marketing campaigns as well.
From Nike’s Hip-Hop beat driven basketball ad of the early 2000s, to Adidas’ new Calling all Creators campaign, the pop appeal defines its prevalence. Rap/Hip-Hop’s ability to transcend cultures despite your area of expertise or background, has breathe life into becoming the avant-garde of pop culture.
Hip-Hop and its influencers make Black History on daily basis. The genre is celebrated as it continues to be the ascension pulse of pop culture.