To understand how Black music and hip-hop inspires the world, you need to understand what hip-hop is and what it represents. The birth of hip-hop came about when black communities needed a space to channel their expressions of the oppression they faced in America during the 1970s.
At the epi center we faced racism, classism, socialism, poverty, violence, and police brutality. A majority of the systemic struggles that plagued black communities went seemingly unnoticed. The lack of justice in those areas made it difficult for the black community to connect with a White America as an entire nation. With the emergence of R&B, Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop, Black music allowed Black communities to connect with audiences on a global spectrum.
Hip-hop became a powerful tool black artists used to not only voice their struggles, but also to empower, educate and inspire.
Early hip-hop pioneers like KRS-One used his music to teach. His music inspired black people by subconscious raising their social and political awareness with songs like, “You Must Learn” (1989).
Then came Public Enemy when they told us to “Fight The Power.” N.W.A followed suit with “F**k The Police.”
Today, the popularity of hip-hop has risen to new heights. Hip-hop’s voice and influence have expanded exponentially, as a result, it’s not just Black music it’s considered culture, a culture that inspires the masses.
Last year, Atlanta rapper Lil Baby unified all races as he told the world that the problem has become “bigger than black and white” on the platinum recording track “The Bigger Picture.”
Houston’s pop sensation Lizzo inspires women and men, through her music and bold visuals to embrace their bodies, whether plus size or petite. She demonstrates a confidence that she’s comfortable enough to feel sexy and not shy in her natural skin, despite her size. She inspired and ushered momentum for the “No Fat Shaming” and “Body Positivity” movements all from using her music platform.
Brooklyn-born rapper Jay-Z not only inspired a demographic of hustlers, but through his growth in hip-hop, Hov inspired the new generation of hip-hop to elevate their substance in their music. After Jay dropped the 4:44 album, rappers began to decrease the materialism in music and focused more on life’s longevities like financial freedom, family, and ownership. He inspired an entire hip-hop community to raise the bar of societal change through rap.
As the bar rose, the influence strengthened. In addition, hip-hop has been inspiring culture and it’s everywhere, including fashion. If Dapper Dan didn’t make custom clothes for the big-time influencers of his time, would there even be a Virgil? Who would’ve inspired Kanye West to create the YEZZY Brand? How would they know that these things are possible without the early inspirations?
Rest in peace to Pop Smoke, the late Brooklyn drill emcee had a deep affinity for designer brands and he made it clear in his music. His song “Dior,” inspired by the high-end Christian Dior brand, went six times platinum and as a result, Diors became a hot commodity. It’s no secret why the creative director Kim Jones of Dior chose to honor Pop Smoke in their latest men’s spring 2022 collection.
Black music’s inspiration has given birth to so many avenues from fashion, sports, and business. New Orleans legendary businessman and rapper, Master P has been vocal about the business model he perfected and learned from J. Prince Sr., Founder of Rap-a-Lot. Not to mention who would have thought about putting their music on YouTube if Soulja Boy, Big Dracco, would not have done it first?
Hip-hop was created with no boundaries, and over 40 decades later, still no boundaries. As long as the culture keeps the foundation of creatively expressing social liberalism alive, hip-hop and Black music will forever grow and serve as a tool that people will use to help inspire the world.
Words by HesAlwaysWrite