Hip Hop 50th Anniversary!

This month is technically Hip Hop Music Awareness month. I don’t believe it, but I guess it’s true – Hip Hop music celebrates its 50th year this year. Now, the reason I don’t want to believe it is because I read an article that talks about the 70s, and it only serves to remind me that I’ll be 50 soon!

But back to Hip Hop music – and yes, I’m capitalizing it! While there were many who were experimenting as DJs and dancers and such, the first introduction the US (outside of New York City) received of Hip Hop was from Jamaican artist, DJ Kool Herc.

Fab 5 Freddy was another pioneer who started his career as a grafitti artist. It was in 1981 that Freddy became known in the music world, thanks to Blondie’s “Rapture”. He performed regularly on a local show hosted by Glenn O’Brien. He brought Hip Hop music to France where Hip Hop is now the 2nd most popular genre outside of the US.

Hip Hop combines more than just rap, though. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American history cites that Hip Hop is an eclectic mix of Caribbean and Latin Music plus spoken word mixed to a beat. It has been used to address violence, sometimes to encourage a protest, and create awareness of different causes going on in the world.

Examples include Salt-N-Pepa, the first female group to sell more than 1 million albums. Their career started in 1985, and it was their first album that gave them the break into the recording industry and the hearts of Hip Hop fans. I was privileged to see Salt-N-Pepa in 2019 when they toured with New Kids on the Block. They toured with them twice, and the second time, they performed with En Vogue. It was incredible to see them.

Next is Run DMC. I can’t forget this Hip Hop group that was coming up in 1983 in New York. Their peers include Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Run DMC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. While Fab 5 Freddy and DJ Kool Herc might be known as the first in Hip Hop, Run DMC brought more firsts to the genre: they were the first Hip Hop group to be featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone Magazine, they were first Hip Hop group to be nominated for a Grammy award, and they were the first Hip Hop group with gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums. One of my favorite songs by them is “It’s Tricky”.

Another group is Boyz II Men. Some might question their inclusion in the Hip Hop Genre with their number of top ballad singles of “I’ll Make Love You” and “Water Runs Dry”. But in fact, they were actors of change in the Hip Hop genre, introducing what could be called “hip-hop doo-wop”. You can really hear it in their song, “Believe”.

I could talk about so many others, but this blog has already gotten long enough. Check out my playlist below for some of my favorite Hip Hop groups! Also, make sure to click on some of the links above. I know the artists would like to know you’re thinking of them!

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