• Ike Okwerekwu

The Inspiring Evolution of Hip Hop

Evolution of Hip-Hop

Whether you believe that hip hop is in a better place than in previous decades, one undeniable fact is that hip hop music has grown to be the biggest musical genre in the country. Hip hop has grown to heights that people could have never imagined and there’s beauty in the evolution. In this blog, I would like to take some time to briefly write about its growth and how I noticed hip hop has evolved.

In previous decades of hip hop, it felt like music has always been dominated by a select few superstar artists. For example, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, and Mobb Deep dominated the 1990s. In the 2000s, 50 cent, Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem took over the rap scene.

Although I must admit being a young millennial may skew my perspective on the variety of artist from previous years, it feels like nowadays many artists can share the spotlight. So many artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Young Thug, J Cole, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Tory Lanez, Meek Mill, Da Baby, Future, and many more are prospering in today’s era of music. The abundance of superstar artists in the hip hop culture shows the growth of hip hop and how there is more room for rappers to prosper together.

In addition to the growing numbers of successful artists, we now have so many other means and options for listening to music. When hip hop first originated, people mostly consumed the music through tapes and giant boom boxes. Now we can listen to music in many different ways thanks to innovative companies producing products like headphones, earbuds, bluetooth boomboxes, and smartphones.

Even the way people purchase and access music has drastically changed. When a new album came out, you would have to go to a music store, and buy a physical purchase of an album copy. As the internet popularized, various other ways of retrieving music opened up such as LimeWire and Datpiff.

In today’s generation, music has been more accessible than it’s ever been. Through streaming, there are so many platforms one may use to listen to music such as Apple, Spotify, and Tidal. Other digital non-streaming websites emerged such as Sound cloud and YouTube, granting people more access to hip hop music.

With various access to hip hop music, many new marketing strategies have developed. In the 20th century, many rappers would promote their music handing out mixtapes to random people. Back then, it was so much harder to become visible and noticed by the public. It seemed like the only way to achieve success in the hip hop business was by having the support of a major label to distribute your music and get your music heard on the radio station.

In today’s era of hip hop music, an undiscovered artist can simply grow a fanbase putting music on various platforms like Soundcloud. One viral song on Soundcloud can forever change his or her career. The ability to promote music and their brand on social media has permanently changed the game. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook provides multiple ways for people to garner attention. Artists can also market themselves on established media platforms and podcasts such as the Breakfast Club and Everyday Struggle. Before the days on social media, many artists had a mysterious presence due to lack of visibility, but now most of these artists can be seen on Instagram live or podcast.

All these observations may feel subtle and minute because they have been integrated so effortlessly into our daily lifestyle. However, we should come to appreciate the growth of hip hop and how we now consume music. The modernization of music allows us to enjoy music within the privacy of our headphones without having to blast the noise out with boomboxes or tapes. Instead of having to wait in line for a highly anticipated album at a music store and spend money to buy a physical copy of an album, we can now access a new album as soon as its been release. With the growth of hip hop, there’s more music than ever to enjoy.

Some people may argue that the hip hop market is too saturated with too many artists and music. Some people may feel disgusted or annoyed by how artists use social media to market themselves. Some may miss the nostalgic feeling of those antiquated ways of listening and retrieving music

Regardless of how you may feel about today’s music scene, fans of hip hop should appreciate the innovative growth of the music genre because it provides us with more opportunities to enjoy great music.


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