Has Hip Hop Really Changed since 1950?

The 1950’s were the foundational years for the genre of hip hop that is so present in today’s society. As most probably know hip hop is a genre that has its roots in rebellion, always trying to be different and constantly changing with the new trends of the decades. Hip hop was discovered in a post WWII era and had heavy influence from the civil rights movement, rock and roll, the development of a prosperous middle class, and the beginning of the suburbanian boom. These changes severely shifted the definition of normal during this time.

Through doing some research I learned that the concept of the DJ battle was born in the same powerful era, the 1950’s. According to ‘About Entertainment’ this first battle was a Soundclash contest between Coxsone Dodd’s “Downbeat” and Duke Reid’s “Trojan”. And in 1956, Clive Campbell is born in Kingston, Jamaica. Campbell would later become the father of what we now know as hip-hop. Campbell was a Jamaican American who eventually moved to the Bronx where he became a DJ known as DJ Kool Herc. His works brought the violent gang culture of the Bronx to light in the 1970’s.

Upon listening to his song “Let Me Clear My Throat” I was surprised with how similar it is to the rap we have today. In fact the main melody in the backround I recognized from a Mac Miller song that became popular a couple of years ago. The style seemed to be very similar to what we have today in the hip hop genre. This leads me to believe that maybe the 1950’s is still present today in music. The only differences I really noticed were that you could understand what he was saying because there was no computer to speed up his words, and that the instruments were real, there was a real life saxophone in the performance, everything was real, there were no synthesized instruments, no fake word acceleration, it was the real deal.


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