In 90’s New York, as these artists were discovering how to send and present their stories and messages through the sonic art of music, the artists were able to spread their word so much easier than the decades before. The prominence of the internet and satellites played a major role in the meaning behind 90’s hip-hop and rap in New York. The reason being, not only did it disperse songs globally, but it opened up worldviews for people outside of New York and allowed people to form an understanding of this culture from the outside in. Like Osumare (2001 p.121) says, the steady increase and “extension of black music’s influence [in the 90’s] is part of the United States becoming the world power”.
The reason hip-hop and rap became so prominent from the 90’s onwards is because listeners slowly started to shift their focus from the feeling surrounding the genre as ‘new’ and ‘impulsive’ to an evolved vision of appreciating the talent and creativity of a rap vocalist or lyricist (Jenkins 2013). Jenkins (2013 p. 4) argues, using theories from Foucault, that “hip-hop increasingly operates as a kind of discourse, as a signal of this evolution”.
Although it was the late 70’s and 80’s that introduced rap and hip-hop into music, it wasn’t until the 90’s that it became a distinct culture and music genre that was prominent throughout society, with the most dominant influence of this form of communication and community forming in New York, during the 90’s, which was then named ‘the golden age’ of Hip-Hop.
“If we acknowledge hip hop as always already a verbally constructed space, both a spoken performance and an (un)written representation of the lyricist’s vision, then the application of literary analysis to hip hop and its fictions seems both appropriate and necessary.”
– Jenkins 2013
Today there are many rappers that discuss their influences and alot of the time they mention rappers like Nas, Redman, Lauryn Hill and 2pac. Artist J. Cole explains how his style is influenced by New York 90’s rappers Jay-Z and 2Pac.
Kendrick Lamar, one of the most influential rappers of today, explains how he was influenced by so many different artists with different styles of rapping in the 90’s and that gave his music diversity and gave him as an artist “balance”, as he says in the interview below:
This topic is important to hip-hop and rappers of today because 90’s hip-hop, a.k.a ‘the golden age’ of hip-hop was the most influential time for rappers to express their stories and emotions through reasons explained throughout the blog, and this ‘golden age’ was a time that the rappers of today received most of their influence and passion from.