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Hip Hop killed Rock Music by Bill Curtis

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Bill Curtis 2012
Bill Curtis: Founder of The Fatback Band

Hip Hop killed Rock music. I know a few of you out there won’t admit it, but it did; sale wise. The down fall started in 1998 with Rap, Hip Hop is a spinoff of Rap. Nine out of the top fifteen pop albums was Rap. Ten years ago the white teenagers were into Rock big time. Rock was their thing. Now they are down loading Hip Hop. Percentage wise, Hip Hop has outpaced all genre of music in the last few years and is still growing.

Music, if you look back in history, has always set the pace of the period of what was going in the world. Jazz is called an America culture, but it was really a Black Culture. The 20’s had it fashion and jazz dancing. Jazz had a great influence within the Black community during the Harlem Renaissance period. It was redefining the Black America Culture, “The New Blacks,” one that was proud of his African Heritage. Jazz then did what Hip Hop is doing now, crossing over all ethnic boundaries. Jazz put Harlem on the map for Black entertainment.

Today when foreign tourists visit New York, one of the first places they want to visit was Harlem. During the Renaissance most all the patron at that time was white and the entertainers were all Black. When the white musicians started interpreting jazz and claiming it as their own, they made more money than the black musicians who was playing the real jazz. You get where I’m coming from won’t even going into that —-.

Then out of jazz came the swing era, from swing came Bebop music. Oh yea, let’s not forget, R & B. All of these were Black influence

Born in South Bronx

culture changes. What made Hip Hop different; it was expressing what was going on in the Black community. All the violence, crimes, drug stories and police brutality; they were able to put in a rhythmic form with a beat. This is what Rap was about before it went gangster.

Hip Hop has unified the youth worldwide in fashion, slang and music. It has crossed all ethnic boundaries rich and poor. Hip Hop is big!! All of this came out of the Black youth neighborhood streets of New York, to suburbs, and to corporate America. I still remember the first time I heard it, we were playing a block party in the Bronx. Rap wasn’t new to me, but the subject matter was. How they rapped about everyday life in a form that was entertaining and exciting was new. I never dreamed it would be as popular as it is now.

About 75 percent of the Rap and Hip Hop audience are nonblack. Not only Blacks are doing Hip Hop music, you have White, Asian, and Latino. Just about every nationality is into Hip Hop.

Let’s not forget about Hip Hop fashion styles which came out the prison system. You see, they were not allowed to have belts and shoes laces. So when guys came back from prison they continue to wear their pants with no belts and shoes untied.

I know all this isn’t new to you, but I wanted you to know it hasn’t changed that much. The power of music, if used in a positive way, can make a change, just like it has in the past. Music connects ethnic groups together and can build bridges for racial harmony to make the world a better place to live, if we just let it. I love the power of music.

On March 21, 1952 my late friend Paul (Hucklebucker) Williams played the first all-black R&B concert of this kind, paving the way for all of the festivals that came after it. Two-thirds of audience was white, a first at that time. That’s the power of music!

Re-posted by permission from Bill Curtis, March 2012

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