Music is one of those outlets of entertainment that continues to evolve. It seems like every ten years, we see something different come out of music whether it's within a genre or something else. Personally, I have talked to many people and they have asked me why is rap music the most mainstream nowadays. Being a rap fan, I can only have an idea of why it is the way it is.
Much like Jazz music, rap started out as a genre solely for African Americans. Groups like N.W.A. pushed boundaries within their lyrics because of what they were experiencing with police in their community. The reason why they became so popular is because they could relate to the youth.
Guys like Ice Cube, Easy-E, and Dr. Dre all had certain aspects in common with other 19 and 20 year olds. Their experiences in Compton could be relatable to other African Americans who were going through the same type of things. This music was something new and fresh that attracted many rebels.
The thing with society, is whenever there is something that is an outlier to the rest of music, the younger generation will attach to it. It was the same idea when the grunge genre came about in the 90s. Band like Nirvana and Pearl Jam sparked another rebellious identity in America's youth. Although N.W.A started that type of trend, rap really started to be the king of music in the early 2000s.
What rap and grunge have in common is, they both have sparked controversy. Hip hop started to expand its horizons when Eminem came onto the scene. We started to see an even bigger audience because Eminem was the first "good" white rapper. His lyrics also caused unrest among the public eye, and there would be protests against his music. Nonetheless, Eminem was still a revolutionary artist when it came to his style.
Fashion has also always been a huge part of hip hop. People between the ages of 10 and 30 want the life that these people have. Now, many of you may be wondering why this is the case. Well, for one thing, society loves the underdog story. Many of these artists have had tough upbringings and seeing them succeed with all the money and women makes people envy that lifestyle.
When Kanye West came onto the scene in 2004, he had a unique fashion style as well as musical style. He impacted the youth in the sense that you didn't have to go to college to be successful. If you have a solid image, then the youth will not only wear what you wear, but listen to your music. Pink polos were very popular when Kanye came onto the scene.
For me personally, I find it amazing how someone can tell a story in a poetic way. People were literally crying when Kendrick Lamar won six grammys for his 2015 album, "To Pimp a Butterfly." Everyone knew that it was an album of a generation.
Hip hop is continuing to grow even today. Although the polls say rock n' roll is still the most popular genre, once the millennials grow up, that will surely change. Nowadays, we have people like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Logic who all have a specific message for the youth. That message is to follow your dreams, but understand your surroundings. Kendrick is motivating the younger generation to know that there is hope to do what you want in life.
While someone like N.W.A did portray their reality, it is guys like Kendrick and Logic who are showing people that there is a way out of that reality. This is very important for the youth to understand. It is also the reason why hip hop will continue to be popular for years to come. As a white person from a suburban area, that's my perspective.