20 Facts About Hip Hop Every Fan Should Know

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Hip hop is a genre of popular music which first came from the Bronx borough of New York City, developed by African American, Latin American and Caribbean people.

At Supa Dupa Fly, the home of hip hop nights in London, we know a bunch of hip hop fans, but how much do you really know about this type of music you love so much? Here are 20 facts about hip hop we think every fan should know.

#1: The first hip hop albums to be commercially successful were The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight (1979) and Kurtis Blow’s The Breaks (1980).

#2: Hip hop, often referred to as rap music, was born in The Bronx as a response to social issues like poverty, crime, and experiences of gentrification and cultural displacement.

#3: The reason hip hop music took so long to become officially recorded for playing on radio and television was largely because of poverty and lack of acceptance of the genre by mainstream society.

#4: Hip hop has been fused with many other genres, including contemporary R&B, electronic, country rap, pop rap, trap metal, new jack swing, and rapcore.

#5: As a type of music, hip hop has faced much criticism since its inception, with many calling for censorship of provocative lyrics relating to gender, sexuality, and violence.

#6: One of the earliest and most influential hip hop groups was N.W.A., which included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Yella, The Arabian Prince, MC Ren, and the D.O.C.

#7: Having reached billionaire status in 2019, Jay-Z is the world’s most financially successful hip hop artist. His discography includes a staggering 14 platinum albums.

#8: The Eminem song “Rap God” is considered to be one of the most technically impressive rap tracks – it uses the most words of any hit single. Eminem manages 97 words in 15 seconds, which works out at 6.46 words per second.

#9: Grammy Awards are majorly coveted in the hip hop industry. The two biggest male Grammy Award winners are Kanye and Jay-Z, holding 24 each. Lauryn Hill is the female rapper with the most, holding eight Grammy Awards.

#10: Compared to the early days of hip hop, streaming records on musical platforms have become hugely influential markers of success. The most-streamed hip-hop album by a male artist is ? by XXXTENACION, and the most streamed female hip-hop album is Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy.

#11: The genre has more traditionally been dominated by male artists, with women finding it difficult to achieve mainstream success. The landscape is shifting though – artists like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Megan Thee Stallion are becoming hugely successful.

#12: Authenticity is a huge factor in hip hop. Since its 1970s inception, artists have been vying to become more real, legitimate, and truer than their contemporaries. Listen out for this in their lyrics!

#13: Modern-day rap shares characteristics with Viking Skalds, poets who memorised oral stories and recited them to others to pass on legends, histories, and rules. Skalds were famous for using humour and boastfulness to make their point – sound familiar?

#14: It’s believed that the term ‘hip hop’ was coined by Keith Cowboy, member of the group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, in 1975.

#15: If a hip hop song focuses solely on beat-making, rather than its lyrics, it’s deemed to be ‘instrumental hip hop’.

#16: Using a staggering 7879 unique words across his discography, Aesop Rock is the rapper who uses the biggest vocabulary in his music.

#17: In the 1980s, Run D.M.C. became the face of hip hop. They were the first rap group to be featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, the first to receive gold, platinum, and multiplatinum albums, and the first rap group to appear on MTV.

#18: Tupac Shakur, or 2Pac, is a staple of hip hop history. His legacy remains today, and his death left a legion of fans in mourning. But did you know how prolific he was in his writing? Before his death he constantly generated new material, with one album even including 27 songs.

#19: In 2017, hip hop officially surpassed rock as the most consumed music in America.

#20: Hip hop profits are projected to increase to more than 131 billion dollars by 2030.