Classic hip hop is making a comeback on the radio dial
According to the New York Times, two radio stations (one in Philly, one in Houston) have seen big listener increases after switching to classic hip hop. This is mad dope, because we need more real hip hop playing on the radio. But what does this mean?
Hip Hop heads are getting older
First of all, this just straight up tells me that hip hop heads (and the classic rappers themselves of course) are getting older. Just like people who grew up listening to classic rock don’t care about new rock, people who grew up listening to classic hip hop don’t care about new hip hop. So when a radio station pops up playing the old good shit, they flock to it because a large part of the hip hop audience just wants that classic shit.
Folks want good hip hop
Another thing this tells me is that people are sick of the hip hop they’re hearing on the radio, and want to go back to the stuff they know is good. Since people think new hip hop is trash, they don’t necessarily just want to listen to a hip hop station, but they specifically want good shit. Since they remember that classic hip hop was the good stuff, they only want to listen to classic hip hop rather than taking a chance.
People think the shit on the radio is all hip hop now
This is the biggest problem, I think. It’s annoying how many times I’ve heard that hip hop is trash now, or that all hip hop is materialistic, or that hip hop needs to go back to how it used to be. I mean I love the classic shit, and I think a lot of radio hip hop is garbage, but that doesn’t mean anything. Just because someone is lazy and doesn’t look for other hip hop doesn’t mean that hip hop is bad now.
If you want good hip hop, there’s a ton of it coming out right now. Some of it is coming from the underground and some of it is coming from bigger rappers, but it’s out there (a lot of the stuff I talk about here, for example.) The radio has never played the best music in any genre, and hip hop is no different. A lot of it is materialistic and doesn’t have a message, but even more hip hop right now is not materialistic and does have a message (K.R.I.T., Kendrick, Cole, just to name a few.) Nostalgia only remembers the good stuff, and I’m sure if you traveled back in time to the time of classic hip hop you’d see that there was always dumb, bad shit.
So what do we do?
Well first of all, any time someone complains about how all hip hop is supposedly bad nowadays, point them to some good hip hop (or just to this website!) This is the easiest thing. If you really care about hip hop it’ll take a little bit more. Either hop on a radio station and get yourself a show where you play good hip hop (both classic and modern, maybe), or start writing your own shit to directly influence the quality of hip hop out there. Like Mos Def said, if we doin’ alright hip hop’s gon be doin’ alright. If we smoked out hip hop gonna be smoked out. We are hip hop.
Overall though, it’s mad dope that the classic stuff is making waves (literally) on the radio. What would you like to see played on the radio?
Let me know, and take on the responsibility to make hip hop better yourself.