How has hip-hop changed over the years?

Answer

Since it emerged in the 1970s from the Bronx, hip-hop has evolved to include more than the rap music that sparked it, encompassing ethnicity, politics, art and fashion, while generating billions of dollars each year. What started as movement representing the urban youth that wrote its first songs now claims millions of suburban youth as fans.

Writer Nicholas James from the Washington Post calls 1988 hip-hop's Golden Age, claiming that more than one dozen albums released that year propelled the genre into dominance. However, not everything about hip-hop has remained the same. PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley notes that while hip-hop's "gangsta" rapper mentality continues to sing the praises of violence, greed, drugs and misogyny, many new hip-hop artists focus on political and socially conscious lyrics.

Music writer Dave Bry in an article in the New Republic notes that while Eminem has been a key hip-hop figure since he burst onto the scene in the late 1990s, the success of Seattle's Mackelmore served to reinforce the notion that white artists are capable of performing in the hip-hop arena. Meanwhile, a number of artists in Atlanta and Chicago are relying on technology to bend and warp their voices, which, Bry writes, has the effect of blurring the line between singing and rapping.

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How Has Hip-Hop Changed Over the Years?
Over the years, hip-hop has changed in many ways, from the early days of Run DMC and MC Hammer, to Jay-Z, Kanye and many more; the form is constantly evolving. A freestyle champion discusses the art of hip-hop in this free video, and how no matter what... More »
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