Evolution of Hip-Hop
After watching the Grammys a few weeks ago I started thinking about this topic and it is finally ready to go. It is going to be a two part piece, the first one will look at the evolution of hip-hop and the second will go over how hip-hop has never gotten the recognition it deserves. The evolution piece will be broken down by decades looking at the main influencers of the time and the main happenings of each year. It's an abbreviated look at hip-hop history, hip-hop is one of the most influential music genres, influencing fashion, graffiti, politics, and dancing styles. Hip-hop started from humble beginnings with DJs using turntables on street corners and underground clubs and it has become one of the biggest music genres in the world. Let's take a look and enjoy the hip-hop genre.
-Main Acts: Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Caz, Sugerhill Gang
-Styles: Started out with guys DJing and spinning records on street corners, gradually moved to including emcees in the late '70s.
-'73: DJ Kool Herc DJs his sisters birthday party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx with turntables and scratching records
-'75: Herc gets hired as the DJ for Hevalo Club and gets Coke La Rock and Clark Kent emcee to form Kool Herc and the Herculoids
-'77: Herc gets stabbed at one of his parties and this makes him reconsider performing live. It is also one of the first documented acts of violence around hip-hop.
-'78: Music industry coins the term "Rap" and shifts towards the emcee rather then the DJ.
-'79: Grandmaster Flash forms his crew and they become "Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five." Kurtis Blow becomes first rapper to sign to a major record label. "Rapper's Delight" from the Sugerhill Gang hits 36 on the Billboard chart and is hailed as the first rap song.
-Main Acts: '70's DJs are still around but fading to acts like Run DMC, Ice-T, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, N.W.A, Dr. Dre
-Styles: More focused on the emcee rather then the DJ, styles like gangsta rap and political rap enter the scene
-'80: Kurtis Blow appears on TV and his record "The Breaks" goes over 1 million copies sold.
-'81: Flash releases "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" which was the first record to capture live DJ scratching. Beastie Boys are formed.
-'82: Bambaata release "Planet Rock" which goes on to become one of the biggest DJ songs ever. Flash and the Furious Five release "The Message" where they rap about the dangers of living in the Bronx.
-'83: Ice-T ushers in gangsta rap with songs like "Body Rock" and "Killers." The Furious Five releases "White Lines(Don't Do It)" which becomes an anti-cocaine message. Run DMC releases "It's Like That" and "Sucker MCs" and they usher in a new minimalist style of rap and start dissing other MCs.
-'84: Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin form one of the biggest labels ever, Def Jam Records and they introduce LL Cool J to the hip-hop world. Artists discover touring as a way to earn revenue with the Fresh Fest earning $3.5 million in 27 dates.
-'86: Beastie Boys release "Licensed to Ill" on Def Jam and become some of the first white hip-hop artists. The Geto Boys are formed and start putting Southern hip-hop on the map.
-'87: Public Enemy release "Yo! Bum Rush the Show" introducing hip-hop with a politically charged background.
-'88: "Yo! MTV Raps" is first shown and helps get hip-hop mainstream media attention. N.W.A. release "Straight Outta Compton" and usher in the age of gangsta rap
-'89: A Tribe Called Quest is formed in a Manhattan high school.
-Main Acts: 2Pac, N.W.A, Notorious B.I.G, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Queen Latifah, Fugees, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot, Eminem, Outkast
-Styles: DJs and groups are basically non-existent and the one man emcee takes over from the 90's through today. In my eyes the '90's are the golden age of hip-hop, so many great artists and songs.
-'90: 2Pac joins Digital Underground as a dancer and a roadie
-'91: N.W.A releases their second album which reaches #2 on the pop charts. Biggie appears in Source magazine and Andrew Benjamin and Antwan Patton meet in high school to form Outkast.
-'92: Dre releases "The Chronic" and it would reach multi-platinum status in '93
-'93: Wu-Tang Clan releases their first album and takes the genre by storm as a super group. Sean Combs forms Bad Boy Entertainment and signs Biggie.
-'94: Nas releases "Illmatic" which goes gold and is still one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Outkast releases their first album and continues the southern hip-hop introduction. 2Pac gets shot 5 times outside of a New York recording studio which helps ignite the East Coast vs. West Coast feud.
-'95: Queen Latifah wins the "Best Rap Solo Performance" for her song Unity. 2Pac joins Death Row Records with Suge Knight. Eazy-E of N.W.A dies from AIDS bringing the fight against the disease to main headlines.
-'96: The Fugees album hits #1 and wins 2 Grammy's continuing the push of hip-hop into mainstream media. Jay-Z debuts, Lil' Wayne joins Hot Boyz, and 50 Cent meets Jam Master Jay from Run DMC. 2Pac is murdered in Vegas pushing the East vs. West into a frenzy and continuing violence in the hip-hop genre.
-'97: Biggie is murdered in L.A. only months after 2Pac is murdered, bringing a peace and an end to the violence in the genre. Missy Elliot debuts with "Supa Dupa Fly" and leading to becoming the most successful female rapper of all time. Eminem loses in the biggest underground showcase known as Scribble Jam. Sean Combs becomes Puff Daddy and releases his debut album "No Way Out."
-'98: Dr. Dre signs Eminem to his label Aftermath, Lauryn Hill debuts and wins 5 Grammy's, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist, Jay-Z breaks through with "Hard Knock Life."
-'99: Eminem is introduced to the world with the "Slim Shady" LP selling 4 million copies while Lil' Wayne releases his first solo album "Tha Block is Hot" at the age of 17. Both would become major players in hip-hops future.
-Main Acts: A lot of the 90's guys carry over, Dre, Em, Jay, Nas, Nelly, 50 Cent, Kanye West, T.I., Slaughterhouse, Drake
-'00: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney holds the first Hip-Hop Powershop summit to address the dangers of hip-hop on America's youth. Eminem releases "Marshall Mathers" scoring 2 Grammy's. 50 Cent is shot 9 times at close range being hit in the hand, arm, hip, legs, chest, and left cheek resulting in his voice becoming more raspy but increasing his popularity.
-'01: Puff Daddy becomes P. Diddy, Jay Z vs. Nas feud begins, and Young Jeezy releases his first album continuing the southern hip-hop success.
-'02: Jam Master Jay is shot and killed in a Queens studio and it is another unsolved murder in hip-hop history along with 2Pac and Biggie.
-'03: 50 Cent releases "Get Rich or Die Tryin" and it hits #1 on the Billboard 200.
-'04: Dr. Dre is involved in a huge brawl at the 2004 Vibe Awards which leads to a man getting stabbed and Dre getting punched in the face. P. Diddy begins the "Citizen Change" campaign with the tagline "Vote or Die" trying to use his hip-hop platform to make political changes. Lil' Wayne releases "Tha Carter" which becomes one of the biggest albums in history. Kanye explodes onto the scene with "The College Dropout" and earning 10 Grammy nominations.
-'05: P. Diddy drops the P and just sticks with Diddy.
-'06: Jay-Z releases "Kingdom Come" Drake releases his first mixtape, and Nas releases "Hip-Hop is Dead" prompting the media to discuss where the genre is headed. Diddy changes back to P. Diddy after being sued for becoming Diddy.
-'08: Obama reaches out to hip-hop artists to help his campaign and artists respond positively with Obama tribute raps. Jay-Z headlines Glastonbury, which is the largest art festival in the world showing that hip-hop is more popular then ever. P. Diddy switches up to Sean John after his new clothing line.
-'09: T.I. gets sentenced to a 12 month prison term for illegal weapons charges, Drake gets signed to Young Money, and Slaughterhouse begins the lyricism movement. DJ AM is found dead in his apartment from a drug overdose.
Main Acts: Drake, Kanye, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi, Migos, Wiz Khalifa
-'10: Lil' Wayne is sentenced to a year in prison on a criminal weapons charge and Drake releases his first album"Thank Me Later" beginning his dominance on the genre.
-'11: J. Cole drops his first album after becoming the first signing of Jay-Z's Roc Nation label and becomes a huge star. Jay-Z and Kanye collab and drop "Watch the Throne" with critcal acclaim. Sean John becomes Swag for a week.
-'12: Hip-hop executive Chris Lighty is found dead in his home from a self inflicted gun shot wound, Lighty co-founded the record label Violator and was responsible for artists such as LL Cool J, Nas, 50 Cent and many others. Lil' Wayne passes Elvis Presley to become the artist to appear the most times on the Billboard 100. Chance the Rapper releases his first mixtape "10 Day."As he becomes more popular he refuses to sign with a record label and releases his music for free as mixtapes.
-'14: P. Diddy changes his name back to Puff Daddy-'17: Puffy Daddy changes his name to "Love, aka Brother Love"
There is a quick look at the history of hip-hop and how it has evolved from it's start with guys spinning records on the corner. Also, if your keeping track Sean Combs changed his name eight times over his time in the hip-hop industry. This is part one of the two part hip-hop topic and the second part will look at how hip-hop has been overlooked and has not received the recognition it deserves.