How Influential Is Hip Hop in the Media Today?

January 24, 2022 0

5365c9 How Influential Is Hip Hop in the Media Today?

Meta: Are you a fan of hip-hop music? Read more about hip-hop culture, its importance in the world today, and why projects like San Quentin are still so relevant. 


Music has always been an important part of life, transcending barriers and bringing people together. But some types of music have been accused of the opposite, creating division and having a negative effect on the world. 


Hip hop is one of those genres which has faced a lot of criticism over the years, with aggressive lyrics, violent themes, and gang culture celebrated. 


While some of that may be true, the fact is that hip hop is far more, and over the years, has had a very profound effect. Here’s a closer look at the role of hip hop and how it still remains relevant in modern media. 


The Rise of Hip Hop


As history shows, music changes and evolves, drawing on the various styles that have gone before to create new and exciting sounds. 


Hip hop first started to emerge in the 1970s, drawing on genres such as funk, soul, RnB, rap, jazz, and even rock and roll. Characterized by passion, anger, and social commentary, hip hop quickly became a mechanism for disenfranchised minorities to get their voices heard. 


In 1986, hip hop reached a broader audience when Aerosmith and Run DMC collaborated with Walk This Way. While not a true hip-hop song, it brought the genre into the public’s eye – and was the first music of this kind to be played on mainstream radio. 


Over the following decades, hip hop continued to change, expand and grow, gathering an ever-increasing fan base as it did so. While still being tarred by accusations of glorifying gang violence, it also started to receive credit for its social commentary and ability to create awareness. 


A Positive Influence


Social media brought about a real transformation for hip hop, allowing hip hop artists to reach more people and providing opportunities to those who weren’t household names. Arguably big-name stars such as DJ Khaled wouldn’t be famous today if it weren’t for the opportunities that online spaces offered. 


But it wasn’t a one-way street; the online world gave hip hop the opportunity to concentrate on the more positive elements and banish the stereotyping once and for all. No longer just about music, hip hop became a culture, a modern mindset that was focused on justice, equality, and empowerment. 


The San Quentin hip hop album perfectly illustrated this. Produced by the award-winning David Jassey, the mixtape was created entirely by inmates within San Quentin State Prison and was distributed over a variety of streaming platforms. 


With no profanity, a deep dive into the struggles of life, and an encouragement to make better choices, San Quentin may have come as a big surprise to those not familiar with the hip-hop world. Yet this project encapsulates exactly what modern hip-hop culture is about – and why it continues to have such a profound effect on everyone it touches. This has been underlined by the music being the inspiration for various San Quentin games and films. 


Sure, some tracks may be challenging – but delve beneath the surface, and you’ll find far more than you might have expected. As Jay Z himself explains, 


“When you watch a children’s show, and they’ve got a muppet rapping about the alphabet, it’s cool, but it’s not really hip-hop. The music is meant to be provocative—which doesn’t mean it’s necessarily obnoxious, but it is (mostly) confrontational, and more than that, it’s dense with multiple meanings. Great rap should have all kinds of unresolved layers that you don’t necessarily figure out the first time you listen to it.”


And it’s this complexity that continues to draw audiences from all walks of life and why hip hop is still so very relevant in the world today.

© 2022, . All rights reserved.