Did You Ever Think Hip Hop Would Take It THIS Far?
(Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
"You never thought that hip hop could make it this far."
Who knew that in 1994 when Brooklyn's very own Notorious B.I.G. spit those lyrics, that the genre would reach heights we have never seen before.
The year was 1989. Hip Hop was finally getting the recognition it deserved when they opened up the award for Best Rap Performance. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince won that year for their hit single "Parents Just Don't Understand," but one thing. The award wasn't being televised. That year the duo led a protest of the awards show asking for respect.
29 years later, Will Smith is one of the biggest actors in Hollywood today.
Now known as the most popular genre in music, hip hop has opened doors for black and brown people never seen before in the flawed history of this country.
If you were to ask somebody 30 years ago three men, one from Compton, California, one from Brooklyn, New York, and the other from Harlem would become some of the most powerful men in not only hip hop, but in popular culture as they creep towards billionaire status someone would have laughed at you.
Dr. Dre, Jay Z, and Diddy have been able to take their legendary status in the game and use it to spread their influence in other parts of their business. Hip Hop today is key the model for how people dress, talk, and gaining a bigger political voice than ever before. Diddy had Rock the Vote in 2004, while Jay Z along with his queen Beyonce both campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
2018 proves that this genre that began in the Bronx has no ceiling.
Kendrick Lamar surprised the world when it was announced that he would be winning the receiving the Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN.
Not only is he the first hip hop artist to do such a thing, but he is the first mainstream artist overall to receive such an award. Not Bruce Springsteen, not Bob Dylan, not even 2Pac.
That's not all.
22 years ago, Jay Z couldn't get a record deal to support his album Reasonable Doubt. That resulted in the rapper creating his own record label called Roc-A-Fella records and the rest is history.
His Roc Nation brand is as big as it has ever been. The power from his different business dealings has allowed him to produce documentaries that bring the stories of young black men to a mainstream audience. This week Time: The Kalief Browder Story received the Peabody Award in the documentary category.
Just look around. Hip Hop surrounds you today. In television shows, in movies, in clothing, in popular music.
Kanye West is making his mark in the fashion world as well as his upcoming book in philosophy.
50 Cent made a great business decision in investing in vitamin water. He continued his success as the executive producer, and face of the Starz hit show Power. Oh, yea he's a main character too.
Snoop Dogg has a show with Martha Stewart!
LL Cool J has become the go to host, and has had a successful acting career.
Get the point? Ice Cube is a movie star, Ice-T has been successful on television, Master P has been a master businessman,
It's a great time in hip hop. A time where artists are taking the opportunity to take themselves to heights they have never seen. Nothing can be a bigger example than N.O.R.E.'s story about Jeezy who just wanted to show just how far hip hop has gotten him.