Celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop

Photo taken with Focos

Hip-hop, America’s leading music genre, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Aug. 11th marked 50 years since the creation of hip-hop. The 50th anniversary was celebrated all over the world with concerts, events and block parties.


Hip-Hop was created on Aug. 11, 1973 in New York City. Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, was the DJ at his sister’s back-to-school party in the Bronx. He played the catchiest snippets of two records simultaneously using his two turntables. That moment is commonly recognized as the birth of hip-hop.


Atlanta has played a significant role in hip-hop and it is currently one of the country’s hip-hop capitals. Atlanta has contributed to many subgenres of Southern hip-hop, including crunk, snap and trap. Many successful hip-hop artists such as Lil Baby, Ludacris, Migos and Latto are from Atlanta. 


When mentioning people who greatly contributed to Atlanta’s hip-hop industry, Jermaine Dupri is worth noting. Dupri founded his record label, So So Def Recordings, in 1993. At the time, Atlanta was not considered to be a music capital like it is today. So So Def Recordings jump-started the careers of Bow Wow, Kris Kross, Xscape and more. The success that came from So So Def’s artists drew attention to Atlanta..


“Twenty years ago, people thought that music was only going to stay in these same places – New York and L.A. What I was able to accomplish showed other cities we can make Atlanta hot,” said Dupri in Vibe Magazine.


Hip-hop has evolved over the decades to become the genre it is today. The end of the 1970s is when hip-hop became a mainstream genre. In 1979, Hip-hop music was broadcast

 on the radio and television. The hip-hop culture was recognized by Billboard in an article titled “B Beats Bombarding Bronx ” in the late 1970s. 


In 1979, Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang was released. This song was widely known as the first hip-hop record. This also was the start of old-school hip-hop, which lasted from 1979 to the early 1980s. The next wave of hip-hop, the new school, lasted during the mid-1980s. Following this was the golden age that lasted until the late 1990s. 


The bling era was during the late 1990s to mid-2000s. This period could also be known as the “shiny suit era” or “jiggy era”. The predominant hip-hop artists during this time included Jay Z, Puff Daddy, 50 Cent and Eminem. 


The rise of the digital age has greatly impacted hip-hop. During the mid-2000s, there was a decline in sales of records and albums, as fans found ways to illegally download music. During the mid-2010s, the popularity of streaming platforms caused some artists to only release their albums digitally. In 2017, Chance the Rapper’s album titled Coloring Book, became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy. 


In addition to celebrating hip-hop’s significance within music, the influence the genre has had on fashion, dance, art, media and more is undeniable.