According to streaming data and sales, as of 2020 hip hop is the most popular & influential Genre of music today, but that wasn’t always the case. In the golden era of hip hop that was considered the most innovative & influential time period from around 1986 to 1997, hip hop artists had to fight to make the genre acceptable.
In 1989 the rap genre was first introduced to the Grammys won by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith), which would be boycotted by them & other hip hop artists like Salt-N-Pepa, L L cool j, Kid N Play, Public Enemy etc after they found out the rap category would not be televised on television with the other genres. Russell Simmons included in the boycott said “They had very little respect for the category” The boycott was with the hopes that rap music would be respected, and rap artists could eventually be allowed to perform on National television.
A lot of people on the Grammy committee with older white people who did not understand this new genre called “rap”. People thought that rap would be temporary, and would die out fast. The rappers got the results they wanted from the boycott, and continued to spread more knowledge of what this thing called hip hop was to as many people as possible. In 1991 The Phil Donahue show introduced many viewers to the hip hop culture, and invited all female hip hop guests on the show for the first time on day time tv, which was huge for the expansion of hip hop culture.
The guest that appeared on the show was Mc Lyte, Yo-Yo, Bitches with problems, harmony, and DJ Jazzy Joyce. A lot of the audience of white viewers didn’t even know what rap was on this episode, and the guest got interviewed, performed live, and answered questions from the audience members, and call in questions. One audience member said “I don’t know what she is saying” after Yo-Yo performed “You can’t play with my yo-yo, Yo-Yo replied “You have to be into hip hop to understand it. With controversial guest like Bitches with problems who got a lot of slack for their name in those days, getting into it with the artists Harmony about the word “Bitch” and how as Black women we should not degrade ourselves, the ratings took off, and more & more national television shows embraced the genre of hip hop, which would further lead to the rise of the culture.
I think that inviting all female rap guests on the show was considered more “safe” to the predominantly white audience, as compared to all male rappers, and definitely helped open the doors for more male artists to appear on national television as well. The growth & expansion of hip hop is amazing, and if it wasn’t for a lot of the artists from back in the day, hip hop would not be where it is today. Hip-hop is considered more common in 2020, thanks to the people who came before the chart topping artists we all know today, who get to perform at the Grammys with no problem, who don’t get misunderstood or prejudged by establishments who were just not knowledgeable about the culture that we all are more so today.