NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hip-hop music, commonly referred to as rap, officially turned 50 years old on Friday. As people across the country celebrate this milestone anniversary, News 2 decided to take a look at the genre’s impact on the world and its future in Middle Tennessee.
It has long been believed that the birth of hip-hop happened in the Bronx on Aug. 11, 1973. DJ Kool Herc threw a party in the city that brought together the sounds, dancing and beats that would evolve into the genre now listened to by millions across the globe.
The genre has had a significant impact the country, allowing artists to bring awareness to societal and cultural issues as well as celebrate heritage.
“It provides people that outlet, and people still use hip-hop today to enjoy life, but also provide them a platform to speak on the conditions of the community,” said Dr. Bryan Pierce, the curator of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM).
Located in downtown Nashville, NMAAM is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. The museum’s exhibits explore the history of hip-hop, its evolution through the decades, and the key players who helped to shape it.
“It’s a tool for change, it’s a way for people to bring themselves out of poverty, and also celebrate where they come from. You have these different legends throughout Tennessee that put Tennessee on the map,” Pierce explained. “”From the 1990s, you had people like Count Bass D that attended MTSU, specifically because he heard this was the place where you could be an artist and you could flourish as far as hip-hop.”
Pierce believes Music City stands to play an important role in the genre moving forward.
“I think in the future, many people are going to start coming and continue to come to Nashville because of all the wonderful opportunities as far as music production, various studios, and also places like here, NMAAM,” he said. “We’re celebrating the culture and we’re trying to preserve it for the whole world.”
According to Spotify, a top digital streaming service, hip-hop is the most consumed genre in the country.