50 years of Hip Hop- How Come?

Having been a music fan for over 50 years, it’s been fun to see all the different musical genres that have come and gone in popular music.

In the the 50s it was Rock n Roll. Then in the 60s we had Psychedelia, in the 70s Punk, in the 80s New Wave, in the 90s Grunge. It was always interesting to see how music changed into the next new thing.

At the latest Grammy awards, which I did not see, there was a segment called 50 years of hip hop.

I’ve personally never been a big fan of the genre, there are some songs I have liked, but that’s ok. Everyone has their tastes. What I am surprised about is Hip Hops longevity. It just seems like for the last 25 years a lot of music hasn’t really changed much. There has been no " next new thing"as far as I can tell.

How Come? Anyone feel the same way or care to comment. Am I just getting old??



Hip Hop/Rap : all you need is a beat box and a mike. It can hardly be called music!

It can be addictive, the beat just takes over and the hooks can be great:



You’re getting old. I’m over 60, so I can say it.

So are you dismissing shoe glaze and Dream pop as new styles? Also try Alicia keys or Taylor swift. Sure, they borrow from jazz singers, but they made it their own and they sound nothing like Ella. Same how rock and roll borrowed from the blues.
I will agree these genres are not life changing, not as big as the ones you mention, but none of them just appeared, they all took time to grow and develop. We lump Bach, Beethoven and Stravinsky together under classical. We may be too close to the changes in genres today to define them as people will 100 years from now.
As for hip-hop, I agree with you, I myself only put it on at the gym. And it’s not the same as rap as some believe. Hip hop evolved from rap. So you do have that in the last 25 years.
this is just a viewpoint, I am not a musicologist, just a lover of all music.

Jason I respect a lot of your input, but what you just said about rap-hip hop is what my Dad said about rock and roll 50 years ago. 

@jasonbourne52 LOL, clearly you might not be the intended audience.


To the OP...some of the earliest hip-hop crossed over to different audiences more easily back in the day, especially given that many tracks were almost novelties (Rapper's Delight) with a strong but easy beat to follow. Saw my share of young caucasians "fake dancing" in clubs at the time and shaking my head then..not to the music but to those who were trying (but failing) to dance.


LL Cool J, Ice T, Biggie & Tupac and Run DMC through groups like Outkast, Public Enemy to todays artists like Jay Z, Drake, Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar...its real music to the artists and its real music to the audience...isn't that kindof the test? It may not make sense to some...that's cool.



It's real music and has great appeal to many, no doubt about that, and that is a great thing. It just seems to me like I'm ready to hear some thing totally new and fresh musically, and I have been for some time. Seems like things changed up a lot more often musically pre 2000 then since. Maybe I just don't appreciate or see the nuances of changes these days.


There’s a lot of music which is not my taste. But that’s all I need to say. I don’t need to deride it as "not music."

I’m pretty sure that most people don’t listen to twelve-tone classical music, either, but it was largely made by white guys, so I guess it can count itself safe from Old Guys Yelling at Clouds.

Masthead - The Cannon

I’m ready to hear some thing totally new and fresh musically,

I find new and fresh stuff in my streaming services, they push it to me on discovery mixes, daily mixes, or I can select a genre.

Like any other genre you find artists you love, and artists you hate. I love when artists use samples of old songs and create something fresh. This is a gospel choir which did a cover of a song by eminem that gives me chills every time I watch it

If you have headphones put them on:



It can also happen the other way around. mapleshade records is a boutique label known for audiophile recordings. I had this album by the ARC Choir way before Kanye took it to a whole new level. If you are "meh" about hip hop please watch just one of the videos I posted in this thread and share your comments please:


Sure, classical music remains my favorite genre by far. But that doesn't mean I refuse to listen to anything else. For me, the key question is if a piece of music gets under my skin. Past my cerebrum. In any case, I continue to give a try to any artist and any genre. And thanks to the internet and streaming, I can, as Boris Karloff once proclaimed in a now ancient A-1 Steak Sauce TV commercial, "Experiment with it!"


because hip hop, like any other genre has entertainment value.

the old skool stuff was really good. I'm afriad quite a few new rap tracks are not very good.

There's jazzy hip-hop and descent band line-up at the band camp on those style. 

Mac Miller was pretty good and talented.

Nubya Garcia is pretty much jazzy hip-hop artist as well.

Some of Robert Glasper's recent stuff integrates all genre's...except death metal and polka.

Hip Hop is like Urban folk/punk. The stories are amazing. Ive listened to hip-hop for well over 30 years. Im an old school chicago graff writer, before every painting mission, whether rooftops or trainyards- wed get pumped to the Artifacts - and was even in the same crew as Common - UAC. From Tribe Called Quest to WuTang to Necro - hip hop is a real, viscerol and touching fringe art. You dont have to love it - but you cant deny it. In the 90s hip hop was life.
Diggable Planets, Del, Artifacts, Wu-f#cking-tang, Guru, Necro, Old Dirty Bastard, Atmosphere, Slick Rick, Lords Of Brooklyn etc etc etc - history.

Totally agree with your assessment and I've often wondered the same thing. I've lived through the mellow/rock of the '70s, disco, New Wave and House in the 80s/90s, Euro, EuroNRG, HiNRG, Trance, Ambient and so on. They all come and go but Hip Hop is still here. Not sure why. It's not for me but that's fine. I thought Hip Hop came about in the 80s? If it's 50 years old, it would have started in the early 70s, correct? I don't remember Hip Hop in the early 70s. Personally, my fav genres were New Wave and House.

There is literally a whole world of music out there to explore.  Pretty much every country has "classical", "folk", and "popular" traditions, which may or may not sound anything like your native versions.  Nothing against Hip Hop, but it's just one version of US Pop.  You don't need to pick your music from a Billboard.

Seem like a lot of people commenting in support of hip hop. I’m not trying to slam hip hop at all. Some of it is great and some not so good, like any other kind of music. My point is it’s been so long since anything radically new has emerged.

There hasn’t been much fresh new music that "gets under my skin" as edcyn says and some  posters seem to feel the same way.

I access music entirely by streaming and have access to most everything that is out there.

Americana....the Band did it in the 70s.

Ambient....Brian Eno did it in the 80s, and on it goes.

Maybe things seemed more creative back then because most music required the talent and input of multiple musician/artists working together to create something unique.Seems like a lot of modern music is created by "the artist" with most instrumentation and production being rather sparse and being done via digital instrumentation. It seems like all you need is a keyboard/synthesiser, a drum machine, and a digital recorder.

When rap started, and still mostly the same today, there was/is no actual band supporting the fast talkers (they’re not singers), far less talent needed to make a rap recording than one with musicians and singers.  Sure there’s a huge audience for it, but that says less about the genre, and more about the poor taste of the audience, as well as the virtue signaling of the woke white crowd who are a big part of those supporting the fast talkers.

Drug money has and continues to fuel hh. As usual, follow the.....





I was wondering how long it would take for someone to adjust the eyeholes on their hood and see this thread…..

68 y.o, here.

50 years of Hip Hop?  A dance groove?  Never heard of it.  Nor would I attempt with my bad knees and hips.

I love to listen to music. No qualifiers. That’s what the fancy hifis are for. 

Some of us don't accept the notion of "genre." Useful for some purposes, yet so much of the best lies between or beyond. Experts say Purcell is pre-Baroque. OK, but he sounds Baroque enough for me. The War On Drugs. Rock? I would say yes. Purists might say techno-pop or some such. "Genre" definitions grow tiresome.

Not ALL definitions, though. Whether hip-hop qualifies as "music" is a seriously legitimate question. What are the elements of music? What distinguishes music from the spoken word? If the word is spoken to a rhythmic cadence, is it now music? Or must the voice be sung to recognizable notes? Do we need a melodic element? A harmonic element? At what point does Homeric recitation become music? And before you answer, why did Bob Dylan win the Nobel in Literature?

So, is it futile not only to attempt defining genres of music, but to attempt defining music itself? The Socrates of Alcibiades, Symposium, Meno, etc., would love to hear your answers.

There are plenty of new genres & subgenres of music that have emerged in the last 40 years that you're probably not aware of or maybe never listened to before. Much in the vein of electronic, industria and hip hop. Hip hop has entire subgenres unto itself. And people making comments that hip hop requires no skill other than a laptop and a mic probably haven't spent much time listening or exploring the genre.

In fact, Rapper's Delight was cut with a backup band replicating the DJ spun breakbeats. Early DJ & rap crews were rhyming over disco and funk records which kept those from fading away into obscurity. If you like Nirvana, you can thank the disco and funk beats of the 70s for inspiring Dave Grohls drumming. Dave Grohl Inspired By Disco Drum Beats - YouTube

And plenty of hip hop/rap artists use live musicians as a way to break out creatively. The days of two turntables and microphone have long passed. 

What has been terrible for pop music in general is that many of the same top artists use the same song writers and producers which leads to repetition. The overuse of autotune and you have a sameness to it. But again, like with any "genre" of music you have to be willing to dive in and find the unique stuff. 

I find the excuse of being over the age of 50 for the reason for not liking certain kinds of music a bit lazy. I'm 51 and listen to just about everything and I discover new types of music and new bands almost every day w/ Spotify. It's a great time to discover new new music and new old music. 

@hilde45 , well put.

This thread is a repeat of several before.

I'm 67, I am drawn to rock, grunge, blues, jazz and classical mostly, along with other genres.

At 67, I'm not a big fan of rap and hip hop, but I don't discount the musicians' talent or the judgement of tens of millions of fans. I do enjoy a number of rap / hiphop tracks, but auto-tune crap (any genre) can just go away. 

 Checkout Gigi Delana's cover of "Unholy". If you can't appreciate it... go yell at the neighborhood kids and tell them to get off your lawn, Mr Wilson!



OK I'll put my 2 cents in. "  50 years of rap" would make it 1972-73, right?

Sorry, but I don't remember that being around back then. I remember R&B, Soul, Funk, and Rock. You know, where you had to actually be able to play an instrument? Carry a tune? Harmonize? I remember THAT being referred to as music. Not rhymes in mono tone, scratching on a turntable, and spitting into a microphone. 

But, like I said, "I'm an old guy".........


I like Elton John.

I like John Coltrane.

I like Tool.

I like Bryn Terfel.

I like The Mills Bros.

I like most music, but.....

I don't particularly like hip hop.

I do not like rap.

I am getting old too, but it is more about not being able to relate to it at all. 

If Hip Hop has survived 50 years (I'm not qualified to answer that question. I can't even identify what makes a "song" Hip Hop), it is for the same reason every other genre has survived in time: there is an audience for it. It's no different than in 2000 or so Rock 'n' Roll could have been said to have lasted 50 years, which many older people in the 1950's didn't expect. Have you seen the clip of Frank Sinatra denigrating the 50's Rock 'n' Roll singers?

I love spicy food, my sister likes her's mild. In the world of Classical music my first love is the Baroque era (not that I don't love Beethoven, Wagner, and Rachmaninoff), a really fine bassist I played with likes Classical and Romantic more. Taste is taste, that's why, as the old joke goes, they make ice cream in different flavours. 

I like Schumann, but not all Schumann.

I like John Williams, but not all John Williams (Happy Birthday by the way! 🎉)

I like John Coletrane, but not all John Coletrane.

I like Glass Animals, but not all Glass Animals.

I like Snoop Dogg, but not all Snoop Dogg.

I like music, but not all music…(and that’s ok)

arguably, recognizable rock and roll music was being produced as far back as the 40s, cab calloway even referenced it. in light of this particular longevity, it is well-understandable that hip hop/rap and its variants would survive 50+ years.

Don’t really get it. What was new with Punk, New Wave or Grunge?
To me the new is that billions of artists can reach you through just a push on the button. 

Human beings like to classify stuff. I think the word "genre" is just French for classification. So much modern music is a blend of genres. Modern R&B has many elements of Electronica. I hear Jazz infused Hip Hop. Even some Country has elements of Urban (read Black music) elements. Some Rap has elements of Electronica and even Jazz phrasing. Its a wonderful mish-mosh, which is elemental to "American" music.

I now enjoy listening to World music. I hear a lot of very cool electronica in Middle-Eastern and Indian music. Not to mention the influence of Reggae on African music.

I suggest streaming the "Station" World Revolutions, one of the three streams on World Fusion Radio. Although its only 320 kbps, it's very listenable, even on an elevated sound system. He does request donations.

@shutupuface. Most critics/scholars put August 11, 1973 as the beginning of Hip Hop, when DJ Kool Herc was the DJ at his sister’s back-to-school party. Just like any other genre (punk, rock, country, etc.) there is no definitive start date. Most genres obviously don’t start with the artist calling it that from the beginning, but are usually branded over time by fans, critics and record labels.

As usual with these threads, the original OP’s question (if artfully stated) has devolved into old white guys sounding off on something they don’t know that much about. [to a degree, myself included]

As I read the original question, why has there been no new, popular genre of music that has lasted since Hip Hop?? Yes, as other posters have pointed out, there have been 100’s of genres and subgenres that have bubbled up, but nothing as massive or long-lasting as Hip Hop. I believe that has more to do with the way that popular entertainment and music consumption has become so diffused. There is no definitive source where (general speaking, young people) congregate to get their music entertainment.

MTV and then commercial radio was a key developer for popularizing Hip Hop. Once could also argue that the channel acted as a gatekeeper to hold back the genre from exploding more in the 80’s. There is no such go-to place today. Commercial radio is strong, but doesn’t really set trends anymore for younger listeners, they follow.

Also Hip Hop has lasted (and yes evolved) because it is much more than a music genre. It's an culture, attitude, fashion, political stance...in films/TV, sports, etc..  Like rock n roll, it has evolved and gone mainstream and seeped into every aspect of our society.  And please don't chime in that it's not your style...that's the point. 



Rap has impacted me in the same light as punk and hardcore. It's a genre from the streets with gritty and personal tales. It's even more impactful with it's on a local level and around you. My parents never understood it, so I'd say it's revolutionary music like the Beatles were in their time. Or ozzy was in his.  Or Motorhead in theirs. 

No - this is not old age ... I will say terrible news - if a person is not mentally ill - with age he only becomes smarter ... The soul does not die at all ...

Of course, making a hit is a stroke of luck and often quite a challenge for any genre...

But we are considering a phenomenon - the general primitivization of the human population ... the death of morality ... of conscience ... of what distinguishes a person from an animal ...

This does not happen by itself - this is the work of "shepherds" (owners of big money - corporations, funds, banks, oligarchs) - stupid people are easier to manage and rob them ...
if you do not have a good education, serious books, a guaranteed future, affordable and good medicine, you will quickly degrade (as a society) ...
if you are Mowgli - you were raised by wolves .., - you are unlikely to admire classical music ... you will need primitive but strong emotions - boom boom boom ... rhythm.

Like it or not, but Satanism (the religion of the consumer society) is the religion of the United States ... someone will say, but what about Catholics and Protestants ??? - I assure you - this is a caricature ... a caricature of Christianity and has nothing to do with it ... (I'm talking about society as a whole - individual people do not count).

Pay attention - the problems of the broad masses of ordinary people in America (by and large all over the world) began with the collapse of the USSR (the reasons are not important - it was not the economy - mostly betrayal - the population was deceived) ... THE COUNTRY EXAMPLE disappeared (free housing for everyone , the best free education in the world, good free medicine, the complete absence of unemployment, the opportunity to be creative for everyone, the absence of drug addiction, confidence in the future, a growing economy) - now big capital has a free hand - out of greed they are again "tightening the screws" (they were forced to make concessions to ordinary people - so that they would not remove them from power and begin to build socialism) ...

In the era of dinosaurs, ancient people must have listened to hip-hop ... did not live long ... were sick ... painted animals on the rocks with coal and excrement ... Society may soon return to this activity ... the only hope is China and Vietnam) ))

Did you like my fairy tale about a magical land where every child had a happy childhood? - Of course, I made it all up - do not believe it. 


ghasley - I hope you weren’t referring to my post when referencing “a hood.”  I further hope it didn’t inflame your sensitivities or trigger you in any way.  I don’t like the genre for the most part, no matter what race happens to be making it, race has zero to do with it.  My employment years back required me to work at a large indoor concert venue, had to work at many rap shows.  Nearly half the audience of over 20k people were white.  It’s the purported music I can’t stand, and behind that music is the glamorization of drugs and violence, and the total disrespect for women as “bitches and whores.”  I couldn’t even count the times the “n-word” was used in their music.  Just despicable.


Your original post was a simplistic attempt to stereotype and to childishly "trigger."

How much drug money fueled rock and roll? How much drug money fuels the nightly news? How much alcohol money fuels college football?

If not an intentional dig whistle it served the purpose.

And I do agree with you on the misogyny and the glorification of violence as a reason to discount some of rap and hip-hop. 

Not my thing but I do enjoy some of the early stuff, NWA, Two Live Crew was funny, Schooly D. 
I respect the talent in the genre and there are some very talented musicians in some of these acts.

Used to deride the genre as not being music just to mess with my kids when they were in High School. 

A lot of Rock was protest music. That people protesting at that time are now fat and happy. A lot of Hip-Hop is protest music. The people protesting have not reached the fat and happy stage yet.  Is that true? No idea, but it sounds good!

Some people wonder why Country music still exists.

Music tends to morph, change, and intermingle. Look at Usher, brander R&B/Hip-Hop, but to me (I like the music), he sounds like a mashup of 80's synth-pop, 70's light rock, and 90's boy band, with the odd 90's rap to extend the audience. 

@jerryg123 , I don't have to deride my kid's generational music. They do that themselves.


Location … Main Street Station Hotel & Casino, old Las Vegas strip. A piece of the iconic Berlin Wall is on predominate display in the Men’s bathroom. Long story short, one can relieve themselves of both duties while inside this restroom, how’s that for United States “Satanism” :-)

The Fremont Street Experience just so happens to be a hangout when visiting, love the Cover Bands that regularly perform there! And you guessed it, The Main Street Station is where I’ll lay my hat and head … cool, calm, and collected atmosphere. Highly recommend :-)

@mwinkc Well put. It’s pathetic to see intolerance trying to disguise itself as music criticism. More than a tinge of implicit racism, too, in my estimation.

Lot to unpack.

In this day of instant music availability no one has to mow lawns and save up to agonize over which album to buy.

The Temptations "Ball of Confusion", 1970, sure sounds like hip-hop to me.

Every time I think "new" music is a total dead end something I've never heard before comes along to re-awaken that manic pop thrill.

Hip-Hop/ Rap didn't sound good in the big arenas; couldn't make out the rapid-fire diction, but the energy and commitment was undeniable.

The way to get noticed and $$ell something is by offering something new....so that's going to always happen, and followers will call it their own...not their parents, not the "in crowd", nor the establishment.

My streaming service (YT Music) is set to auto-play and I pick one song I feel like hearing, cue it up, and the algorithm gods do the rest......literally hours go by and I (almost) never even think of skipping a song. 

Hard to argue against the notion that entertainment = money, but at some point you've just gotta lay your burden down and get out of your seat.

For me, there are two kinds of music.

The kind I like, and the kind I don't like.


"For me, there are two kinds of music.

The kind I like, and the kind I don't like".

Honest answer!  👍

We can debate the relative objective merits of various musical styles all day long but in the end we like what we like. 

For example, the fact that Classical music is more melodically and harmonically sophisticated than Rock doesn't change the fact that I find it wholly unengaging rhythmically. Everyone else in my family prefers Classical. I can appreciate its qualities but in the end, it simply doesn't draw me in. Who can say why such preferences arise?  I have no idea. I like what I like.

In the mid seventies I began to explore Jazz and ever since, it's comprised more than 50% of my listening. Since then, I haven't experienced any comparable shifts in taste. At this point, I recognize my tastes are very deeply ingrained. Call it good or bad-- it is what it is. I like what I like. 


But tastes change. Important to continue to give it a listen from time to time. 

Dylan could be considered the father of rap if you like. Right now listening to I Want to Dance with You...Prine meets Strait. All sorts of cross-pollination going on or is that soon to be deleted from the biology books.

hip hop - thought the best of it is not so cleanly classified - is nice for a party sometimes I suppose, sure... 

or "urban" film soundtracks for some scenes, yes... 

extended listening?  um... well, ok... 

but, to each his or her own, also yes...