The term hip-hop reached its zenith in the 1990s as an electronic genre that, in the words of hipster blogger Danko, “taught kids how to be real, be true, stand up and make moves, be who they are.” But in the past few years, its sound and influence has shifted, too. In the early 1990s, as hip-hop spread across the U.S., many artists who came to prominence during that time were still using the term.
Rafael “Kurupt” Campbell and Big Daddy Kane
The term started to catch flack in part because of its association with a relatively young rapper from the mid-’90s, Big Daddy Kane. (A few rappers have adopted the name, but that only happened as a last-minute fashion decision. Kane went under the name, Kurupt, and then later adopted “Karma,” before switching back to Kane again. He’s still using Kane today.)
Hip-hops were at their peak in the mid-’90s as an aesthetic; there were some greats and some greats that were influenced by it. But then, over time, the term began to lose its association with the music it was supposed to be influencing. That could be a symptom of the times, in which bands that were known for their political lyrics took the label; or it could be just a matter of language and context.
Now, hip-hop is coming to an end, as the next generation of musicians comes of age and moves on with life.
“I think the term is dying,” says Christopher “Chosen3r” Suggs, a writer for XXL. “A couple years ago, people would use it with artists like N.W.A [in the ’90s], but now it’s probably been superseded by rappers who use it with actual music.”
A number of other hip-hop writers have suggested that it’s in danger of dying, and there’s a sense that maybe the rap game, at least in America, is shifting toward EDM or pop rock. “It’s become pretty mainstream. We have people like Lil Wayne, a young kid who knows he can make a lot of money off of that kind of music,” Suggs says. “And the fact that so many rappers in America today don’t know how to even rap, it’s getting to them.”
Others think that hip-hop is a
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