Rap has been and continues to be one of the most popular music genres since it’s birth in the early 1980s. Thanks to outstanding old school artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Tupac all the way up to new school rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, rap has been able to stay popular and extremely influential. Rap has proven to be just as influential and appreciated as previously popular music genres such as Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Blues, and much more.
Displaying the harsh environments of the streets, venting about rough life experiences, and enlightening the public about the upscale life of success, rap covers just about every aspect of life that one can imagine. Even though the rap game’s sound and environment has changed dramatically since the beginning, it is necessary to recognize that it is still rap, and we must respectfully acknowledge and praise that fact.
Old School hip-hop is the foundation to the rap that is accepted in the present day. It is the Genesis to the Book of Rap, and without it, rap would not be as strong and respected like it is today. Therefore, I’m going to throw it back and discuss some of the most influential old school rappers. Starting with the real old school rappers, let’s discuss Run DMC.
Run DMC was an American hip-hop group from Queens, New York, which was founded by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell in 1981. Recognized as one of the most influential hip-hop groups ever, Run DMC also had a substantial impact on culture in general. Run DMC also was the first group in their genre to have an album go gold and the first to be nominated for a Grammy Award. King of Rock in 1985 also was the first album to go platinum. They were also ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone’s Best Musicians of All Time. In 2009, Run DMC really made history when they were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
The last old school rap artist I’ll be covering is Tupac Shakur. He ranked as the greatest rap artist of all time on many sites and has earned respect from just about every rapper to spit a rhyme. He is also known as 2Pac, Makaveli, and was born in New York City in 1971. Just about this time last year, he was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. April 7, 2017, was the official date he was inducted. His songs like “All Eyes On Me”, “Hail Mary”, “Changes”, and “Dear Mama” changed culture and rap itself forever.
Tragically however, Pac’s career was ended prematurely as he was killed in a drive-by shooting. He had beef with Biggie, Mobb Deep, and the whole East coast so the list of people who could’ve killed him goes on and on. Though he did pass away at only 25, his legacy still lives on today, and without him, rap would not be where it is today.
Moving on to new school rappers. I will be discussing two of the biggest and most talented new school rappers: Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Starting with Kendrick Lamar, as most know, he is basically untouchable when it comes to lyricism, and makes other new school rappers look like clueless kids. Kendrick basically had mutual respect from the rap game due to his upbringing. He was born and raised in Compton, California, the gangster capital of America. Songs of his like “Swimming Pools”, “Backseat Freestyle”, and “m.A.A.d. City” are some of his most creative works that have impacted the world of rap like no other. Kendrick overall just keeps rap in check, giving us hope that lyrics still play a part in rap music.
Next, we will cover the most poppin’ rapper out right now, and that is Aubrey Graham. If you don’t know who that is don’t worry, his “stage” name is Drake. He has been pumping out hits since 2008, and is still going today. As a matter of fact, his new song “God’s Plan” has been number 1 on Billboard 100 for eleven consecutive weeks currently, and that’s not all. His also fairly new song called “Look Alive” that features Bloc Boy JB, has started a dance move that is spreading like wildfire. But Drake hasn’t always been mainstream like he is now. His old stuff like “Started From the Bottom” and “Headlines” really give him the foundation needed to stay relevant and respected today.