Hip-Hop has just unthroned Rock as the most consumed genre in the United States, accounting for 25.1% of the total music consumption, against 23% for Rock. We can point to music streaming, sociological factors or even the fact that there has not been a break through world know rock band like the ones in the 60s and 70s to justify this; but undoubtably, this change not only represents a change in the taste of music; but also a change in the music industry, the composition of music and the way we appreciate music. Yes, as much as it pains me to say, Rock has not had any important or noteworthy bands that can stand up to the giants that came before them. However, Hip-Hop has been able to improve, evolve and pivot into more popular, more conceptual, and to a more socially significant position.
Different approaches can be taken in this discussion; but due to a restriction in the amount of content I will limit myself to discuss the following.
- Changes in Hip-Hop; specifically rap: We can see that big strides have been made in changing from the ‘thugs and gang members’ of early rap to the artists and visionaries we see today.
- Changes in the music industry: from vinyl to streaming the way we listen to music and even the accessibility of it has changed incredibly in the past 30-40 years.
- Changes in the way music is made: The growth and increase in popularity of sampling, overlaying autotune and other which have favored Hip-Hop over Rock.
- Hip-Hop as a voice for minorities, and for social change, much like Rock was in its origin, Hip-Hop has turned into a genre known for controversial themes and for strong stances the give a voice to the voiceless.
In the end I wish to prove that this shift is layered and includes many important elements, but mainly that it is relevant to the society that we live in and the way we appreciate music in this day and age.