"This rap game, this rap game / I ain't sellin' my soul for this rap game..." - 50 Cent
Just 20 years ago, hip-hop music was thought to be just a simple fad, passing its way through the mainstream of pop music leaving classic dance hall anthems like Kurtis Blow's "Basketball" and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "White Lines (Don't Do It)" in its wake. But today, hip-hop is a worldwide phenomenon, marking its influence in the world of fashion design (Jay-Z's Roca-Wear and OutKast clothing lines), product marketing (McDonald's and Sprite), and even television shows and movies (Eminem's "8-Mile" and most recently, "Honey," starring Jessica Alba). Through the past two decades, hip-hop has proven the genre could stand the test of time, but lately, purists say hip-hop is on a steady decline, thanks in part to "bubble-gum rap" or "hip-pop" created by artists such as Ja Rule and Nelly. Hip-pop is when an artist focuses on making records that will be accepted in mainstream pop radio and gain massive air-play, but "sells-out" the artist's integrity. One way hip-hop is fighting back against the mainstream backlash is the emergence of mix-tapes, albums created by street DJ's featuring exclusive tracks, artist-to-artist disses, and occasionally, unofficial album releases. But before looking into what may be the future of hip-hop music, let's take a trip back in time to South Bronx, New York City, circa 1977.
"Let's take it back to the concrete streets / Original beats with real, live emcee's / Playground tactics / No rabbit-in-a-hat tricks / Just that classic rappin' from Jurassic." - Jurassic 5
Hip-hop pioneer DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, then 17 years old, was practicing his craft as usual, when his moth...
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...in a positive force in hip-hop music. And now that former street DJ's such as Kay Slay and Whoo Kid have released commercial mix-tape albums that, according to McDonald, have sold on par with huge holiday season releases from Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and the G-Unit, the door for other street DJ's looking to establish a name for themselves has swung wide open.
"A lot of times, whether its medicine or mechanics, a lot of people spend their life putting something together and then address it to the public and then sometimes the public might say, "Nah," says Grandmaster Flash of the mix-tape's evolution. "But thank god this thing has continued to grow and may it continue to grow. May there be many Ron G's and many Clue's and many more Brucie B.'s. Let's keep this thing poppin'."
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