What Has Been the Impact of Hip-Hop on Pop Culture?

Hip-hop is arguably one of the most popular genres of music today, and it has already spawned numerous sub-genres like rap, metal hip-hop, and more. The popularity of hip-hop has also been quite outstanding in terms of longevity, as the genre remained popular in various decades, and although there are particular years where its placement at the top spot is stolen by other genres, hip-hop remains as a genre that is listened to by millions of people around the world.

Because of the massive contribution of hip-hop to the music industry, its influence would eventually pour out to other industries, like films, TV shows, toys, fashion, and others. To learn more about the influence of this genre, here are details about the impact of hip-hop on pop culture.

The Birth of Record Scratching and Rapping

It is believed that hip-hop was developed by DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican-American DJ that is credited for creating hip-hop in the Bronx, a borough in New York City. DJ Kool Herc was the very first DJ to incorporate heart-thumping beats into popular dance songs in the early 1970s, which would later become a staple of remixed hip-hop music. In addition, DJ Kool Herc also developed several techniques that would become quite popular in hip-hop, and two of these techniques are record scratching and rapping. The technique called rapping is mainly a product of various influences, like West African griots (storytellers), black power poetry, and American blues.

Because of DJ Kool Herc, many other DJs started to incorporate his techniques into their own sessions in bars or clubs around New York. From New York, DJ Kool Herc’s influence would eventually reach other states in the US. By the late 1970s, hip-hop would become a very popular genre in the United States, and one of the songs that made the genre known in the country is “Rapper’s Delight,” which was released in the year 1979 by The Sugarhill Gang.

New School Hip-Hop

According to many hip-hop fans, the most iconic era of hip-hop is the new school hip-hop, which began in the 80s with the rise of Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy. These artists were able to push the boundaries of hip-hop not only in terms of influence but also in experimentation, as the artists would often experiment with various beats, tones, tempos, and other aspects of music to make them more unique or different from the others.

In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, hip-hop was quite influential in the realm of Hollywood, specifically when the NBC sitcom called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air first aired in 1990. The said sitcom starred Will Smith, who didn’t actually start his career as an actor, as he was first an MC and a rapper before becoming a Hollywood star. Another influential group of hip-hop artists is NWA, which popularized the sub-genre called gangsta rap, wherein artists would write and rap lyrics about discrimination and freedom from oppressive groups and agencies.

Hip-Hop and Hollywood

As we have mentioned previously, hip-hop was very influential in Hollywood during the 1980s and 1990s, and it is evident through various films and TV shows that are centered on hip-hop culture. The popular hip-hop movies are “Krush Groove” in 1985 and “Do The Right Thing” in 1989. There are even some films that use hip-hop songs as background music for different scenes.

The influence of hip-hop in the movie industry is still seen in the 2010s up to the 2020s, as there are still movies that have hip-hop themes. One of the most popular hip-hop-centered movies that have come out of the 2010s is “Straight Outta Compton,” which premiered in 2015 and was a biopic about the hip-hop group NWA.

Hip-Hop and Fashion

It was also in the 1980s when hip-hop became incredibly influential in the fashion industry, as the outfits worn by popular hip-hop artists started to become trendy because a lot of people wanted to look like them. One of the most notable fashion pieces that hip-hop made popular was the Adidas Superstar, which is a white leather shoe with three black stripes representing the Adidas logo and a plastic shell toe. The shoe was popularized by Run DMC, who wore not only Adidas Superstars but also track suits by Adidas that have the iconic three stripes on the sides of the suit. 

Another popular hip-hop fashion piece was the Kangol hat, which was worn by LL Cool J for the early years of his career. Snoop Dogg was also responsible for making the Tommy Hilfiger brand popular, as he was constantly seen wearing the brand’s fashion pieces in concerts, music videos, and even while meeting fans outdoors. The influence of the hip-hop genre in the fashion industry is still prevalent in the 21st century, as artists like Kanye West still dictate fashion trends. In fact, Kanye West even started his own fashion brand called Yeezy in order to expand his reach in the fashion industry.

Hip-Hop and the English Language

Besides the fashion industry, hip-hop has also become an influence in the English language, as many hip-hop artists have invented words or phrases that would eventually become quite popular for people in the United States and other countries to use frequently while talking to friends or family members. 

Some of these hip-hop terms that have been incorporated into the English language and soon became terms found in dictionaries include “chill” (to calm down), “fly” (looking nice), and “def” (a shorter word for definitely. Some of these terms have been coined from the 1970s up to the 2000s, and even though the artists or songs that used these terms for the first time have already faded out of the spotlight, the terms are still used in everyday language.

As evident in this article, the hip-hop genre has been quite influential or impactful not only in the music industry but also in other industries and platforms that are focused on movies, fashion, and even the English language. Because hip-hop is still popular today, it is already expected that its influence will last longer until the near future.