Major Genre in the United States

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Hip Hop is considered a mainstream genre across the United States today and has evolved throughout time in many ways. This evolution started in the 1970s with the founding father of hip hop, DJ Kool Herc. There were many subgenres created under hip hop throughout time which makes it mainstream today. Hip hop is also called rap music, a music genre that was created in America by inner-city African Americans during the 1970s. The style of this genre has rhythms associated with rapping, which includes rhyming and rhythm. DJ Kool Herc was an immigrant who migrated from Jamaica to the Bronx. Hip hop has really changed throughout time, but hip-hop artists get snubbed most of the time in the Grammys because the Grammys do not favor hip hop artists as much as other genres today.

In the 1970s, DJ Kool Herc was considered the creator of mixing “breaks” for instrumental and percussive segments of records. He used two turntables to mix records at that time. By doing this, it allows him to play instrumental sets. This became the design of hip hop for many generations to come. During the beginning stages of hip hop, the culture included four elements. These four elements were deejaying or “turntabling”, rapping or “MCing”, graffiti painting, and “B-Boying” also known as hip-hop dance, style, and attitude. Deejaying and MCing are very much still around but dancing and graffiti are not around as much. Currently, in hip hop, MCing is very important because audiences and fellow rappers can acknowledge how good your MCing skills are. If your skills are good, you will become more noticeable and it helps the genre evolve.

The 1980s was where the hip-hop genre had picked up more complex styles with new creation of sounds. The Roland TR-808 drum machine helped with beat making and producing. The machine is an important piece in hip hop history and the sounds of the 808s are still heard today. This machine jump started the sound of beating and created many subgenres in hip-hop because of the unique sound and beats that came out of it. The golden age of hip hop was during the mid 1980s and early 1990s, because of the diversity, creativity, and impact music had on people. The lyrics were a key role to the golden hip-hop era. There were lyrics about political militancy and Afrocentrism that really connected with the African Americans during this time. The artists who created these lyrics for the songs took hip hop genre to another level with no means of stopping. There are many subgenres to hip-hop but Gangsta rap is another one that was developed during the golden age of hip-hop. Gangsta rap talks about the violent lifestyles that the American black youths went through. N.W.A is one of the most popular rap groups there ever was. They are the ones that were mostly affiliated with Gangsta rap because their lyrics were violent, aggressive, had profanity, and because of their usage of the word “nigga”. Their album “Straight Outta Compton” would put west coast hip hop on the radar which made it mainstream for people in America. Although there was profanity and aggressive tones, rappers were still expressing their feelings and letting the world know how they grew up when they were kids. They wanted to show people that everything in life isn’t always perfect and happy growing up, because of the real hardships they went through growing up in Compton. The rappers said their truth in their lyrics and they went mainstream because people related to it. People connected with the lyrics and the rappers were speaking out about important problems in their music.

After the golden age of hip hop, there were more upcoming rappers in the 1990s that influenced the battle of west coast versus east coast. This era of hip-hop was led by “The Notorious B.I.G” Biggie Smalls from the east coast against the west coast rapper Tupac Shakur. This was a battle of artists and fans arguing which coast was better. Although this was a big rivalry during the 1990s, both Biggie Smalls and Tupac were fatally shot dead one year apart from each other. After their deaths, southern style rap was up and coming. Many rappers from the south became well known as time went on. Hip-hop became more diversified and rappers started mixing different tones which further evolved the genre. Hip hop rappers were mostly all African American but there was the rise of white rapper, Eminem. Some white rappers were accepted in the hip-hop community if they produced great lyrics and music, which the hip-hop community could connect to. In the 2000s, hip hop music was crunk and snap which originated from the south in Tennessee. The creator of crunk music was Lil Jon and this was a fusion of hip-hop, electro, and electronic dance music. They use the TR-808 to create this and crunk music was mostly played at parties because this style of the music was befitting to parties. Rappers would scream and yell their lyrics in crunk music. As time went by, the 2010s further evolved into trap music. Trap music is also referred to as mumble rap by the older generation of rappers. The older generation of rappers do not like mumble rap because of the heavy use of autotune and it is difficult to understand what rappers are saying. In trap music, lyrics aren’t as important anymore as they used to be. The beats are the most important part in trap music. In trap music, rappers talk about sex, drugs, and trapping. Trapping is a form of organized crime where they sell drugs to get more wealth. Trap music is diverse, and it can be used for different moods of the day such as being played at home for relaxation. Trap music is mainstream as of today because the beats are catchy, and the lyrics in the songs relate to people about topics such as relationships and drugs.

Trap music has become the number one genre in America. Finally, it overtook rock as the number one genre. This is the first time that trap has been able to overtake rock music. Trap music has become really mainstream and has moved to Latin countries. Because of this, there are more upcoming Spanish rappers now. Latin trap and Trap are similar because rappers from both genres rap about sex, drugs, and trapping. One Latin trap rapper who is mainstream right now is Bad Bunny, who produces songs that are on Billboard’s hot Latin songs chart. He had multiple collaborations with American rappers such as Drake, Travis Scott, and more. Latin trap has become mainstream only recently, and the style of this music is unique because the beats and lyrics go so well together. If Latin trap comes out with clean versions of songs, they would be able to play them on the radio. Although some people might not understand the lyrics of what the rappers are saying, the way the rappers sing the words with the beats of the music show how the lyrics and beats go well together.

Hip-hop is a popular genre across the United States, but when it comes to award shows and awards such as “album of the year”, hip-hop artists often get snubbed. One example is the 2009 video music awards show where Beyoncé got snubbed for the “Best Female Video”, and Taylor Swift won while being interrupted by Kanye West during her acceptance speech. Clearly Beyoncé’s music video “Single Ladies” was amazing and popular at the time but somehow Taylor Swift still won the award because the award shows do not favor hip hop artists as much as other artists. African American singers mostly just win in categories such as best rap album of the year or best hip hop award. There is another award show that caused a bigger controversy and it is the biggest award that you can achieve in music, the Grammys. For the latest Grammy award show, Bruno Mars won the album of the year award over Kendrick Lamar. This shows that Kendrick Lamar got snubbed and shows that the Grammy’s didn’t bother listening to Kendrick’s album “DAMN”. Kendrick’s album was so versatile and unique that the Grammy’s have no respect for African American rappers when it comes to the album of the year award. They always get snubbed for this category. When Frank Ocean came out with his new album “Blonde” which had major success, he didn’t even bother to nominate his album for the Grammys because he got snubbed in his early years. He knows that the Grammy’s do not have much respect for African American rappers because they do not give a chance for them to win the Album of the Year award. If the Grammy’s were fairer, some rap albums could win the album of the year award. However, in today’s time, rappers will always get snubbed unless something changes about the Grammys.

Hip-hop is a genre that’s always transcending no matter what. In lyrics, people talk about politics and topics that connect with African Americans who can relate on a deeper level because they understand where the rapper’s point of view is coming from. As time went on, the newer generation of rappers just talk about sex, drugs, and trapping in their music. That is one way to gain recognition and fame now because these things relate to the audience. Trap music is unique and just evolves as time goes on. People can rap about breakups with just an amazing beat and lyrics that connect to other people in real life situations. Today you can rap about anything as long as the social media platform retweets it or hits the topic of music charts.

Hip-hop as a genre has evolved throughout time. It used to be 4 elements such as MCing, Deejaying, B-Boying, and Graffiti. As time went on, the genre itself started becoming mainstream and gained recognition because it incorporated into other styles which benefits this era. There was one era where the lyrics mattered the most and talked about how people grew up in the ghetto. Another era was the east coast and west coast rivalry that took over in the 1990s. Then, southern rappers started getting recognition and made crunk music as a subgenre of hip-hop. Finally, trap music overtook rock as the number one genre in the U.S. Hip-hop still has potential to evolve further as time goes on.

Cite this paper

Major Genre in the United States. (2022, Jan 29). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/major-genre-in-the-united-states/

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