At 40, Hip-Hop is not what it once was

Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of Clive Campbell’s first party in the South Bronx, laying the foundation for a new music culture we now know as Hip-Hop, which included not just rap and DJing, but breaking and graffiti as well.

Dart Adams writes for NPR that Hip-Hops roots were far nobler than its current incarnation.

When most people say “hip-hop” what they’re actually talking about is rap. Even then, they’re usually referring to mainstream rap music by rappers on major labels, which are currently experiencing what might be their overall low point in both quality and creativity. Rap was a force that united people, spoke truth to power and entertained at the same time. Now it exists almost solely to maintain the status quo and promote moneyed interests.

…The last attempts at social commentary in mainstream rap have typically appeared in election years when it neared voting time. After the election is over, it’s right back to making commercials for products or lifestyle brands set to music. Unfortunately, this is what passes for “hip-hop” nowadays. The indie/underground rap that actually possesses the last vestiges of diversity, consciousness and lyrical content — that reminds rap fans why they fell in love with the genre in the first place — is largely ignored by mainstream rap magazines and terrestrial radio.

Adams argues the rap music that speaks to the original spirit of the socially conscious culture is rarely heard on radio, suppressed in favor of commercialized sounds designed for mass market appeal.

You can read the full article here.