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Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop: The Cultural Revolution Will Not Be Televised!

Public Enemy | photo by Mika Väisänen, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Iconic Emergence and Ascendance

Turning 50 years old is a big deal, especially in the black community. So, fellas go get

your tux tailored and ladies break out your form fitted evening goons because this is

momentous event that you don’t want to miss. In 5 decades, Hip Hop has not only

become a mainstay, but it continues to push the envelope of Innovation, Evolution,

Inclusiveness and Legacy. Hip Hop has managed to become a cultural touch point to

many other genres giving the world an unapologetic view into the visual and auditory

brilliance which is Hip Hop.

In 1973 Hip Hop was born; an expression that meticulously depicted the struggles of

a marginalized community, a culture that exemplifies the true definition of F.U.B.U

(For Us By Us) has been vigorously progressing and flourishing well outside of the

box it once was told it should be confined to.

Grand Master Flash | photo by Mika-photography, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1975 Grandmaster Flash invented “cutting” and “scratching a new turntable

technique that connected two songs during their beat breaks. In 1979 The Sugarhill

Gang would release the first Hip Hop song to chart on the Hot 100 and garner

national success with the hit record “Rappers Delight”. In 1984 the first all rap music

video television program the Video Music Box was launched and in 1986 Run D.M.C

would be the first rappers to grace the cover of the Rolling Stone Magazine a

magazine synonymous with showcasing white rock stars. Unfortunately, with all these

early groundbreaking accolades Hip Hop was still perceived as disposable, an arbitrary past time that contained no real substance, the ugly stepchild that would never really fit in or be accepted by its fellow statesmen pop and rock. Fast Forward - Hip Hop sits amongst the immortal and a once lack luster welcome has morphed into a well-deserved commemoration. The Iconic Emergence and Ascendance of this culture is astounding.

50 Years of Hip Hop and It’s Prolific Thinkers

Unveiling the visionaries who shaped the culture, broke down barriers and

contributed significantly to the landscape of Hip Hop has been both refreshing and

awe-inspiring. Rappers like Tupac Shakur, who is often regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time was not only an exceptional artist, but he was also one of Hip Hop’s most powerful and thought-provoking thinkers. Tupac’s ability to express raw emotions and vulnerability made him relatable to his audience while also forcing them to confront uncomfortable truths about society. Rappers like Nas and his lyrical depth and storytelling ability allowed and provided a unfiltered glimpse in the realities of urban life depicting the struggles and triumphs of marginalized communities. Artist like Lauryn Hill challenged gender norms and explored the complexities of identity, inspiring countless artist, and listeners alike with her insightful commentary on love, relationship, and societal expectations. Artist like Kendrick Lamar have become a defining figure in modern Hip Hop, his lyrics often examine the African American experience, self-awareness, mental health, and the struggle for justice. Kendrick provides a voice for a generation fighting against injustice and inequality through his musical depth and intricate narratives. Artist like J. Cole’s introspective and intellectual approach to Hip Hop encouraged listeners to question societal norms, confront their own insecurities and strive for personal growth. These are some of the Hip Hop Historians both past, current, and future that have helped Hip Hop to transcend its musical origins and become a powerful vehicle for expression. The artist mentioned above, among many others, have used their lyrical genius and intellectual prowess to shape Hip Hop into a cultural force that challenges convention thinking, inspires change, and reflects the realities of society. These prolific thinkers have shown that Hip Hop is not merely entertainment but a potent art form that can evoke thought, foster empathy, and catalyze meaningful conversations about the world we live in.

Whether you’re debating if Hip Hop’s heartbeat picked up its rhythm after DJ Kool

Herc threw the first Hip Hop party, after Lovebug Starski coined the phrase “Hip

Hop Shoowop Da Bop” or after Africa Bambaataa spread his vision of Hip Hop to

the masses as a means to encourage social change. One thing we can all agree on is

New York circa 1970’s gave birth to a Movement that would transcend geographical

boundaries forming and inescapable grasp around all whom it encountered.

Hip Hop has not only become a cultural phenomenon it has impacted and influenced

other art forms such as Graffiti Artist, Breakdancer’s and Poet’s while heavily

influencing music, fashion, film, art, and social activism. In 50 years, we have been

able to watch Hip Hop go from an isolated phrase to a cultural superpower. Hip Hop

can be accredited for literally teaching people how to speak the English language. Hip

Hop is a dress code, it’s a code of conduct, it’s a mentality that empowers generations

both past and present to stand for something before they fall for anything. Hip Hop I

applaud your enthusiastic resilience! Sometimes things change so quickly that we

forget to stop and document it. So with a tone of gratitude as I type this out with a

hopes to bring further attention to the life changing movement which is Hip Hop, I

would like to thank you for raising me, I would like to thank you for teaching me to

“Fight the Power” (Public Enemy), I would like to thank you for preaching

“U.N.I.T.Y” (Queen Latifah) and would also like to thank you for helping me get

“The Message” (Grandmaster Flash &amp; The Furious Five).

Over the past 50 years, hip hop has become a global force that has transformed the

music landscape and pushed boundaries. From its humble beginnings in the Bronx to

its impact on mainstream culture, hip hop has provided a platform for marginalized

voices, fostering creativity, and social change. As we celebrate this milestone, let us

recognize and appreciate the immense contributions of the artists, DJs, dancers, and

activists who have made hip hop an enduring cultural revolution. Hip hop has

become a widely shared language with numerous dialects, so I leave you with this.

Happy Anniversary Hip Hop

Feliz Aniversario Hip Hop (Spanish)

Joyeux Anniversaire Hip Hop (French)

Sikukuu njema Hip Hop (Swahili)

Manuia le Tausaga Hip Hop (Samoan)

Congratulations, Here's to 50 years of Hip Hop and many more to come!


So FN Dope Magazine

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