Coming as no surprise to any true Hip Hop head, Nielson has released data that shows that Hip Hop and R&B have surpassed Rock as the U.S.’s most popular musical genre. They now account for 25.1% of all music consumption, with Rock, the former leader, taking in 23%. Forbes attributes the rise in streaming as a means to listen to music as a major contributor to this trend. However, what we know, is that streaming or not, Hip Hop has been on its way since the very start.
As music for the people, early Hip Hop often took the role of the voice of the oppressed. From riffing on social consciousness to celebrating the small wonders of day-to-day life, the genre knew what the people felt. And as the music became more widespread, it opened the door for more types of voices. So while sometimes we may want to Fight the Power we may also just want to indulge in a little O.P.P. (look it up if you’re not sure). And Hip Hop allowed for both.
Like Rock, Hip Hop has become a diverse genre. You can’t categorize it by a single sound. With Rock you have punk, hard, alternative, pop, Christian and the list goes on. Similarly, Hip Hop has Crunk, Conscious, Trap, Go-Go, Mumble, Gangsta, and who can forget Lil Wayne’s Rock album, and Nelly and Tim McGraw’s collaboration Over and Over. The genre has made efforts to cross over and popularize in ways that you’d have had to intentionally turn a blind eye to in order to miss.
Forbes points out that, Kendrick Lamar & Drake’s albums have been at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to streaming. This is what they attribute Hip Hop’s success to.And I suppose it’s a legit claim, considering Drake’s More Life was streamed over 10 billion times. But they can’t pretend that it wasn’t bound to happen. The culture of the country is changing. Perhaps all those years of shielding the ears of children from Hip Hop has only pushed us toward it. Maybe this is just a one-time act of rebellion. Or maybe Hip Hop is exactly what it was meant to be, the voice of the people. All people. It always has been. And as more people are speaking, even more are hearing their own voice reflected. So of course Hip Hop is the most popular genre!
But then again, what do I know? I’ll just go download More Life.