What started as a small party scene in the Bronx 40 years ago has grown into a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut industry. Hip-hop is now the number-one-selling music genre in the world. And the road it has taken hasn’t always been smooth. Our cast takes us on a journey from hip-hop’s infancy all the way to its current state as a global superpower. As part of Complex’s Get Money initiative, the eight-part series Rules to This Sh*t covers the trials and tribulations of embarking on a rap career, with words of wisdom from Common, N.O.R.E., Too Short, the late Nipsey Hussle, and more.
After taking a look at life on the road for the sixth episode of Rules to This Sh*t, the seventh installment takes a look back on the history of hip-hop as a whole. From its start in the ‘70s with MCs running house and block parties, to becoming arguably the most popular genre in popular music, hip-hop has produced a lot of history in a short amount of time.
“It wasn’t just the music, it wasn’t just the performance, it was everything that started expanding from that,” explained the late Reggie Ossé, a.k.a. Combat Jack. “How we started dressing, how we started playing with language.” With how young hip-hop is when compared to so many other genres of popular music, it also makes it easy to really study its rich history. “I think studying your history of music is the biggest part of music,” added rapper Domani Harris. “I always said, if you wanna go down in history, be a legend like these people, why would you not wanna listen to the legends already?”
Elsewhere in the episode, producer and rapper D-Dot reflected on how he feels about other cultures offering their take on the genre. “My feelings on the success of other cultures within hip-hop, that technically is supposed to be a Black artform, I have absolutely zero problem with,” said D-Dot, who highlighted the technical skill of Eminem. “See the problem with some of the white rappers that came in the game, they didn’t stay white, they tried to be us.”
Common shared his thoughts on hip-hop becoming a worldwide phenomenon. “When you see hip-hop touching Africa and Japan, Germany and France, you see it in Brazil… You recognize how valued our culture and who we are is.”
Watch the seventh episode of Rules to This Sh*t above.