LONDON. – Hip-hop is 50 years old, and over the last few decades the genre’s created a long list of icons who’ve changed the face of music.
It started in the Bronx, in New York, in August 1973, when funk and soul DJ Kool Herc mixed two records together.
Since then, experimentation has been a trademark of hip-hop, with artists keeping one foot in the past as they create innovative, exciting new sounds.
Names like Dr Dre, Biggie, Tupac, and Lauryn Hill have influenced or helped to boost newer acts like Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Megan Thee Stallion.
Spin-off sub-genres like drill and grime, and regional scenes in Europe, South America and Asia have kept the sounds fresh and made the genre a global powerhouse.
According to streaming service Spotify, hip-hop and rap are consistently in its top three most-listened genres.
And for the past three years both have produced nearly half of its top 50 artists.
But a whole new generation is hoping to one day join hip-hop royalty on billions of playlists around the world.
Jordan Adetunji, from Belfast, describes himself as a “hip-hop scientist” who draws his influences from anywhere and everywhere.
The 24-year-old says his Nigerian heritage draws him to Afrobeats while his Irish upbringing sees him draw inspiration from the likes of Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore.
Hip-hop is “so experimental” he says. “It can be mixed with so many different things.
“That’s where I go with my music. I can mix it with alternative rock or I can mix it with dance music. I feel like that’s just so exciting.
“I feel like I can really express myself with hip-hop, which is one of the best things about it.
“I’m mixing so much but it kind of gels together. So that’s kind of like a scientist – I like to mix things together and see what I can come up with.”
You can’t talk about the future of music without mentioning AI.
It’s already been controversial – a machine-generated song featuring a fake Drake and The Weeknd collab was pulled from Spotify — and Jordan’s not convinced the tech will help hip-hop.
“It’s a nice experimental tool,” he tells Newsbeat, but he says it could never replicate the expressive quality humans bring.
“Raw emotion is something that people gravitate towards and we can feel as human beings.
“A certain type of energy or emotion to a song that I just feel like can’t be created.” – BBC.