Despite its immense popularity today, hip hop is relatively new in the realm of music with its origins happening only a few decades ago in the United States. The term was coined back in the 1970s and made a popular style by the pioneering artists and groups of the movement. Hip hop itself started out at block parties where DJs would set up turntables and create beats out of already-existing albums of the time. The percussive style of this innovative way of playing music quickly caught on, because of the unforgettable groove and danceable offerings it created.
It wasn’t long before hip hop music was accompanied by rapping. The first groups to start rapping in unison with sampled and spliced albums include Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, and Doug E. Fresh. Though the music stay somewhat underground for a few years, it would gain some mainstream recognition when the Sugarhill Gang released “Rapper’s Delight” as a single in 1979. These days, it’s difficult not to know someone who hasn’t heard a part of this song because of its influence, and it would spark the popular revolution of hip hop being a major player in the music industry.
New school hip hop marked the era where the musical style gained many different fans in dozens of countries all over the world, no long just in the United States. Throughout the 80’s, artists such as LL Cool J and Run DMC would start taking hip hop to the next level, including the use of live instruments and synthesizers in addition to the samples that DJs would use. The decade can be referred to as somewhat of a “Golden Age” of hip hop because it introduced popular and widely innovative new artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys.
The economic impact of hip hop music in more recent years is obvious. Throught the 1990’s, this genre of music expanded at an incredible rate. In fact, it became the best selling type of music by 1999 with a dedicated fanbase of millions all across the globe. Being such a major inspiration, hip hop has led the way for other types of rap and similarly styled music to emerge and become successful in their own right. Even though sales of hip hop music had experience a significant slowdown by 2005, the same could be said about most areas of the industry due to the emergence of digital music downloads and streaming websites.
Regardless of where it continues to go in the coming years, hip hop has undoubtedly made its mark on pop culture and the history of music in general. Numerous hip hop artists have earned universal acclaim and awards, with some individuals even earning honors in magazine publication identifying them as “the most influential in the world.” Even the most progressive musicians today will keep tipping their hats to the artists who started it all, creating a new genre and corresponding subculture that has it secured itself in the history books.