The history of music is ever-changing. Since the beginning of time, people have lived with music in their hearts and societies. Each community, nation, and culture would have the music to unite and define its people. However, the changes in music have become drastically rapid only a century ago. Over the past hundred years, new genres, sounds, and styles have come and gone. Only a few of the music novelties came here to stay. Some have come to conquer the world. Rap music is definitely among the winners of the past music generation. These days, rap music is played all over the world, making it the most popular and recognizable genre on the planet. So let’s learn more and the history of this genre to learn the secret of its success.

New York – the Melting Pot

The birth of rap music, or hip hop to be more precise, happened nowhere else but in New York somewhere in the 1970s. The appearance of a new culture was greatly influenced by the melting pot that is New York. Various cultures, including Jamaican and Puerto Rican, have brought their local rhythms and sounds to the States. For example, it is common in Jamaican culture to cite verses of poetry over music – something borrowed for hip hop culture early on. Soon, hip hop culture has started to evolve, grow, and diversify, becoming more popular outside New York and even America.

At the same time, the Caribbean immigrants in the 1970s in New York were the marginalized classes. They often represented the lower socioeconomic classes and lived in low-income areas. The music was their way to make themselves heard and noticed. It was also a way to deal with the difficult reality and find like-minded people. By the 1990s, rap music wasn’t only a new and popular genre in music but also a culture. It spoke of a certain lifestyle, inheritance, and culture. Overall, it may be useful to learn more about the subcultures in the 1980s and 1990s to understand hip hop culture better. You can always contact professional writing services saying, “Can you write this essay for me on the roots of hip hop?” They won’t refuse.

Anyway, in short, rap simply wasn’t for everyone yet, but it was going there. Somewhere in the 1990s and 2000s, the genre started to distance itself from street or “gangsta rap” and became more accessible and popular for the larger crowd. That’s when everything changed.

The popularity of rap in the early 2000s

For the first several decades of hip hop culture, rap was the music of a few. It was more like an “insider” genre and rarely spoke to the masses. However, things started to change with new generations of rap performers. Musicians like Kanye West, Eminem, Jay-Z, and many more opened up the world of rap to all who were willing to listen. Their songs have become the frequent leaders in music charts across the US. More people were learning to appreciate rap music. Simultaneously, rock music with all its sub genres (so popular in the 1990s) was losing its fanbase, giving way to more rappers.

If earlier hip hop music was well-known for its aggression, illicit language, and misogynistic tone, modern rap is more versatile. Artists can express their artistic selves freely. Meanwhile, the essence of rap stayed as it was. The rhythm, beats, verses remained true to the original hip hop, only progressing to the modern taste and demand. In addition, emphasis on vocals has become rather popular among rap singers. They become to collaborate with pop stars, creating unique genre mixes. As a result, rap progressed and expanded. It has conquered the world.

Modern times

These days, rap has become the most streamed genre on the planet. It has even overtaken rock music, which was slowly losing touch over the past decades. Currently, rap artists have more tools and room for growth, changes, and transformation. Unlike rock, rap is a still relatively young genre that has been searching for itself since the very beginning. Rock, on the other hand, has been often strictly categorized into specific sub genres just like its fans. Rap is diverse and untamed, which is what many hip hop and music fans love about it.

The era of social media and the Internet has also enhanced the popularity of rap music. Now, it is easier than ever to listen to different musicians from all over the world. Thus, the Internet helped to promote rap music and culture across the world. It means that people’s acquaintance with rap worldwide happened much faster than it used to be in the past with other genres.

Moreover, the power of the Internet has changed the dynamics in the music industry. Now, performers don’t need to be signed to a label to build a strong fanbase. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Rap singers often get discovered by the public first. So, those artists have more power over the labels. Besides, they get to be themselves from the very beginning, as no label shaped them. Thus, rappers get to craft themselves and stay true and original. It’s yet another reason why rap music is so diverse, unique, and popular around the world.