Pop music (also known as popular music) has seen many transitions throughout the years. But no one would’ve predicted that hip-hop would become the new pop. Here’s a quick timeline of how we got here. It all started way back probably with sacred music where churches ruled, royal families taxed, and some dragons. Maybe not dragons. Then the times changed and the Wild Wild West was being explored by those pistol tottin’ cowboys who sang country songs about being out on the open range. After some years of that and shagged rugs, disco balls, and bell bottoms became the style as the Disco era took over. But it would soon die. Then the 90s brought about the boy band era. You know Justin Timberlake and his backup singers. And Lady Gaga is a whole another era. So here we are present day with pop music or better known as HIP-HOP MUSIC!
But don’t believe me. Like Jay-Z said, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” And the numbers all support that Hip Hop is the new pop of the times. The top 4 spots of the Billboard 100 Songs are all by hip-hop artists. Drake’s “Nice For What” has been on the Billboard Top 100 for over 10 weeks! And 7 out of those 10 weeks the “Nice For What” was at number 1 on the Billboard. But what about award shows? At this years Grammy’s hip-hop artist Jay-Z had the most Grammy nominations with 8 coming off the release of his critically acclaimed 4:44 album. And don’t forget Jay-Z turned down performing at the Super Bowl! We’re talking halftime at one of the most watched events in the world. Now that’s power. But awards doesn’t reflect the behavior everyday people, streaming does. And according to Spotify’s 2017 End of the year results 3 out of the 5 top streamed artists (Drake, The Weekend, Kendrick Lamar) all were from hip-hop.
So how did hip-hop get to be the top genre? Evolution. Anyone that knows music knows that evolution has been key to any genre surviving. For example, Disco once reign the radio waves but was short-lived as the late 80s Disco had been passed by Rock & Roll and this new think coming out of New York called Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop having learned from Disco has continued to evolve through the years. First becoming popular thru the use of Disco samples like the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” that sampled Chic’s “Good Times”. It’s sampling like this that was able to penetrate the airwaves and provide a more raw sound than the watered down Disco records being played by radio stations. Disco failed to see that music was trending a different way. And with that came the death of Disco.
The argument about hip-hop being the new pop is further solidified with the recent Rolling Stone cover announcement of a pregnant Cardi B and soon to be father Offset. This cover signifies the changing of times, hip-hop’s time. A once reality TV star who eventually exploded onto hip-hop charts with her hit single “Bodak Yellow”. Combined with rapper Offset from the group Migos who spring boarded into the spotlight with the hit single “Bad and Boujee”. This landed all three on the Rolling Stone July cover set to be released on July 2nd. The cover features a risque pregnant Cardi B with Offset kissing his unborn child and the title “Hip-Hop’s Love Story”. Further proving that hip-hop is the new pop and the music of this generation.
Hip-hop has seen many transitions from bomb pap, to hard-core, to snap, to trap. It’s a genre that truly has many sub-genre’s. But its origins of being a voice for the voiceless is ingrained in every album, and as long as it continues to evolve while telling stories for the people there’s no end in sight. Or like Nas said, “Hip-hop will never die”.