Over the past 50 years, hip-hop has cemented its place on the U.S. and international front as a multi-billion dollar music industry and a dynamic, evolving, transformative movement that gives people a voice.
And as the hip-hop community celebrates the genre’s 50th anniversary, ABC News Studios is bringing Juneteenth and black music to life through its hour-long Soul of a Nation, Hip-Hop @ 50: Rhythms, Rhymes, Reflections. Honoring the month. A special show hosted by hip-hop radio icon Angie Martinez explores the origins, evolution and current state of hip-hop.
“The same things that the NWA was talking about in the late 80s are still happening in 2023 and making headlines,” said pop culture journalist and ABC News contributor Kelly Carter. He said while looking back at his lecture. Oppose police brutality.
“We’re talking about hip-hop turning 50, but I think hip-hop is a living, breathing thing that we’re constantly creating.”
The special will air Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC and will also be available on Hulu. It features a roundtable discussion on hip-hop’s evolving legacy and includes conversations with artists and industry pioneers such as Master P, The Rocks and E-40. , Laura Brooke, Koi Leray, Joey Bada$$, Fat Joe and MC Lyte, and Charlamagne the God.
“More than Music”
When asked when he realized hip-hop was “more than music,” Bronx rapper Fat Joe, whose name was named by Rolling Stone magazine in 2017, Grandmaster Flash and the He told Martinez it was when he heard the Furious Five’s 1982 song “The Message.” Rated as the greatest hip-hop record of all time, it is archived in the Library of Congress.
“That was the first record that was a conscious hit,” he said.
Hip-hop was born in the Bronx, New York in the early 1970s, when poverty and brutality plagued the black community in its early years. Martinez said hip-hop broadcast the lives of black Americans living in poverty at a time when social media didn’t exist and these issues were largely ignored by mainstream media.
“It was also great how we learned about different places,” she said.
“It was like social media. It was like a news network in a way. I feel like hip-hop educated us.”
“The Message”, featuring the group’s Duke Booty and Mele Mel, was the most famous hip-hop song featuring social commentary at the time. In the final verse, Melle tells the heartbreaking story of a young man who drops out of school, ends up in prison, and dies by suicide after being repeatedly raped in prison.
At the end of the video, Duke Booty and Mele Mel are arrested for no apparent reason.
Martinez said it was “The Message” that he remembered seeing videos and songs of someone talking about “what real struggle looks like.”
For Fat Joe, who has seen the genre evolve and fight new battles with every generation, hip-hop was his own vehicle to speak out on the issues he was passionate about.
Just last year, the New York-based rapper lent his voice to the Defend Black Art movement, opposed the use of rap lyrics in criminal proceedings, and met with lawmakers at the Capitol in May to discuss fairness. I sued for medical care.
“Hip-hop, let me go to Capitol Hill and let me represent you.” [the] I’m an American,” he said.
“They know where I came from and I said to them, ‘Listen, I have to speak for the voiceless.'”
“My therapy was music”
Hip-hop has broken down barriers by addressing controversial topics in society, but for decades, it has seen artists grapple with their own mental health issues and encourage fans and other artists to open up and ask for help. It has also evolved as a medium to provide support for
“The story of hip-hop is the story of culture and community. [we] We didn’t talk about mental health specifically about the black community,” said hip-hop music executive and radio host Mike Muse.
“I think music has been my therapy because I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story,” said rapper and record executive Master P. turned around and said.
“This kind of thing was shunned,” he added. “…I don’t think I even knew how to cry at the time.”
But over the years, artists and industry leaders have leveraged music and public platforms to fuel conversations about mental health and connect with fans about the importance of seeking help.
From Chicago rapper G Herb launching the non-profit Swervin’ Through Stress to Megan Thee Stallion launching a mental health resource site, artists candidly share their struggles and themselves I am telling my fans that I am not alone.
“It’s great that we’re at a stage in the culture where we can have conversations like this,” Martinez said.
“Maybe that’s why we all got into hip-hop in the first place,” she added. “It gave a voice to people who were dealing with trauma, bankruptcy and hunger.”
Muse said even in the early days of hip-hop, songs like “The Message” “certainly talked about mental health, but not directly.”
“I’ve seen artists in the hip-hop era have to use these tropes to really address the PTSD and depression system,” Muse said. These are the words we have today.
Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$, who grew up in the 1990s, said that for him, hip-hop artists were “essentially our cousins. They were our therapists.”
Asked when he first felt that way, he told Martinez it was when he heard Tupac’s 1992 song “Keep Ya Head Up.”
Muse said Tupac’s music was “very vulnerable” and didn’t directly address mental health.
Joey Vada$$ reflected on losing a friend to suicide when he was 17 and how his own journey led him to seek therapy during a roundtable discussion.
“For us young black men, therapy is taboo, so there are fewer outlets to seek and receive help,” he said. “I’m in therapy now, and I love it.”
Joey Bada$$ also reflects mental health themes in his music.
“Rappers are embracing that same level of credibility, applying it to real life, and becoming more comfortable using public platforms to talk about it,” Carter said. Told.
“I’m very hopeful that it will continue and that they will continue to not only make music featuring it, but continue to talk about it on the very large platform they have.”
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, or if you’re worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. [TALK] Get free, confidential emotional support 24/7.