Although commonly overlooked, jazz is a genre of music that played a vital role in shaping American culture. Jazz flourished in the 1920s and is known for its hectic tempo and beats that were reflective of the period of time. Although it seems that jazz is music of the past, it is a lot closer to us than we might expect.

Many popular genres of music today such as rock, reggae, pop, and rap have roots in jazz. Due to jazz's ability to blend together many different instruments and sounds there is a lot of room for other genres to borrow ideas and sounds. One of jazz's largest influences on the music industry has surprisingly been in the hip hop and rap genres due to frequent improvisation and emphasis on free styling abilities. In recent years, hip hop has borrowed more ideas from jazz. For example, Kendrick Lamar is one artist in particular that has been influenced by jazz and roots many of his songs in jazz characteristics.

So, next time you listen to a hip hop or rap song listen with a new appreciation for the origins of jazz in which the song came from. Happy April! Let's get jazzy!