The Golden Age of hip-hop is generally tied to a time during the mid 1980s and early 1990s when diverse artists from all over the country innovated in the music industry and inspired Americans with their lyrics. Today, hip-hop has grown so stylish and so popular among the youth of America that we may be experiencing the true ‘golden age’ of hip-hop right now.
The genre is at its pinnacle and with good reason. In a time when America is busy with the craziness of politics, facing the growing threat of terrorism overseas and worried about police violence at home, hip-hop connects with its listeners. A year ago, if one looked at the Billboard Top 100 songs in America, it was rare to come across a hip-hop or rap song. Today, they dominate the list, with 42 of the top 50 songs and nine out of the top 10 being hip-hop or rap. A boost in youth audiences has caused the hip-hop industry to skyrocket and become the face of pop-culture. “Everyone loves to listen to it. The lyrics are great,” junior Jeremy Goldstein said.
Hip-hop is also starting to reach professional athletes.
NBA champion Iman Shumpert, in addition to playing professional basketball, is a popular hip-hop artist as well. The Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard grabbed the attention of the industry with his ‘Chiraq Freestyle’ released in 2014. Since then, he has released more tracks such as his ‘Knicks Theme’ rap over the beat of “Clique.”
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is also a hip-hop artist who takes his music a little more seriously. In his recent album “The Letter O” released in 2016, he raps about his childhood in Oakland, California, and his current life in Portland, Oregon, including his dreams of bringing an NBA championship to the city. Music is no part-time hobby to Lillard as he continues to make music.
Famous athletes Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’neal and Allen Iverson have all made hip-hop music at one point in their careers as well.
In addition to flooding into the world of professional sports, hip-hop has stretched to schools, which students are making their own songs. Junior Nahshon Plummer has been involved in many tracks, releasing his popular ‘TLG’ in late 2015, which has just under 6,000 plays on soundcloud. Plummer has also been featured in many other local songs including ‘No Delay’ by GBABYTHEBOAT and ‘Flexin’ by Rayman On The Beat. Plummer’s favorite artist is Chance The Rapper, who is currently on his currently on tour for his latest mixtape, “Coloring Book.” “It lets me take my mind of the stress and have fun,” Plummer said about making hip-hop songs.
Another appealing quality of hip-hop music is that it can be made in different ways. “I love that there are different forms of hip-hop that I can experiment with,” junior Graham Bright said. Graham, who has been making music since fifth grade. Find Bright’s hit song ‘Commas’ on his soundcloud ‘GrahamBrightMusic.’
The reason hip hop is so prevalent here and around the country is due in part to new technology and social media. With new, easy-to-use producing technology that was not available in hip-hop’s past, it is now fairly easy to create songs. With millions of people using social media around the area, it is easy to get the word out about new music through twitter and other social media networks.
The ‘Golden Age’ of hip-hop is synonymous with the ‘80s and ‘90s but with the genre taking over the industry, overtaking America’s youth, and making its way into other industries like professional sports, it is hard to deny that we live in hip-hop’s prime years. New technology facilitates fresh, young artists as the epidemic of hip-hop continues to spread throughout America.