It wasn’t until the late seventies when rap went mainstream, but before then the pioneers of hip-hop showed off their skills in the Bronx, giving birth to music that still influences today’s culture.
“Hip-hop is freedom, freedom to be who I am, freedom for me, to be able to express my thoughts, my opinions unapologetically,” said Edward Franklin of the University of Delaware’s Cultural Advisory Board.
The evolution of hip-hop is important to a group University of Delaware students who decided to take people on a journey through exhibits and some dance performances last month.
Though the scene looked like one big party, the goal according to Franklin is to educate students who are often misinformed about the music.
“Hip-hop has been an integral part of the African American community for over the past 40 years. It’s been able to connect to a bunch of different political and social injustices and it’s something our students connect to,” Franklin said.
To further connect students, every decade in hip-hop was represented during the one day exhibit. From the seventies to the 2000’s, several things including old vinyl records are just synonymous with hip-hop.
“Everything we do in this time is influenced by the past, 90s is really big for this time period for us,” said Ryan Broussard who helped organized the exhibit.
The visual exhibit definitely caught the attention of one student who says he was drawn to hip-hop at an early age.
“I am a lover of hip-hop. Hip-hop really raised me alongside my parents. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, but I discovered hip-hop at a very young age and as an adolescent male, growing up, learning a lot of values you could either be strayed one way or strayed the other and hip-hop was there,” said student Obichukwu Maduka-Ogwu.
Obi even named a few of his all-time favorites: “We can take it back to KRS, we can talk about the group Outkast, we can even talk about the Sugar Hill Gang and everything in between.”
As for what time period students enjoyed the most, it was a tie between two decades.
“I had fun doing the 70s and 80s just because researching the fashion trends that were going on during that time, it really shows how our trends and fashion haven’t changed much and I have witnessed where it may have started,” said student Courtney Kinard.
However, some question whether or not hip-hop is headed in the right direction.
“It’s a bit different now, it still serves its purpose which is primarily for people to be able to express themselves, be able to use their voice, and the message has just changed over time. I’d say a big contributor is the life and day and age we’re currently in today,” Franklin said.
And if the UD students can help it, hip-hop is here to stay.