Wearing Down Through the Decades: Hip-Hop Music’s Evolution


Giselle Villegas

Cartoon by Giselle Villegas

Giselle Villegas, Staff Writer

Originating in the early 1970s, hip-hop music was considered an “underground” style of music, first emerging in the midst of the Bronx by the Sugarhill Gang with “Rapper’s Delight.” Hip-hop originated as a medium for Blacks and Hispanics to voice issues in their worlds through lyrics; yet as time has gone by, hip-hop and rap lost its meaning, turning into meaningless words that are stuck to a beat.

In the late 80s, famous rap group N.W.A added a new meaning to hip-hop when they began integrating political views by speaking up about police brutality and discrimination in the black community

“I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities and now I’m living in correctional facilities,” rapper Dr. Dre said in the first verse of N.W.A’s song “Express Yourself,” showing that the music industry restricted rappers’ voices and were more confined due to the fact that they are black men.

Hip-hop music sparked a dignified movement and allowed people of color to have a say in the industry. While some modern artists stick to the roots of hip-hop, others have driven away from heart-felt lyrics.

“People have forgotten what hip-hop is. Originally, artists spoke of unity and empowerment of African-Americans. The main motive of hip-hop back then was to pick up the person next to you,” The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts News said in the article “Hip-Hop: Then vs Now.”

For example, in Lil Pump’s August 2017 hit song “Gucci Gang,” he speaks of a lavish life, drowning in brand name items, drug abuse and being with multiple women. Tekashi 6ix9ine is another example of a rapper who has no meaning to his songs besides the beat. In his most recent album “Graduation Day” Tekashi raps on song “Billy” about violence and being so famous that he can get anything desired such as drugs and women. Many more artists such as Chief Keef, Desiigner and Lil Yachty follow down the tracks of rapping about fortune and fame.

Artists now, such as Lil Pump, have used rap mainly to express a beat with little in the way of meaningful lyrics that speak about real-world problems like N.W.A and Tupac did. Hip-hop and rap was a way for Hispanics and Blacks to express their feelings on issues in their communities; however, as time has gone by, hip-hop music has largely lost its meaning, though some artists such as Drake and Eminem still stick to the root of rap.