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Is Rap Responsible for the Music Industry’s Innovation?

In an article published by Rolling Stone last month, Adam Levine points to hip-hop and R&B as the the source of all innovation in the music industry; this year’s stats back him up. Billboard noted that hip-hop cornered 71% of the hits on the charts in the third quarter of 2018. This statistic isn’t confined to the final quarter- it holds true for the remainder of the year, with hip-hop emerging as the most popular genre of the year.

But, even though hip-hop has risen to the top, even surpassing rock n roll, is the genre really driving all innovation in the music industry? EDM has coexisted with hip-hop for its entire history. But recently, artists like Marshmello and Getter have made a strong turn to hip-hop production. Although both genres are growing, is hip-hop behind dance music’s biggest innovators?

One of our very own local artists, Kellan, is set to release her own hip-hop EDM album. These trends are definitely appearing well outside the mainstream, but, as always, the picture of rap as the singular force behind all innovation in the music industry paints a one-dimensional picture.

Artists such as Virtual Self speak to innovations occurring within the EDM genre; the techno resurgence, and the innovations still coming from artists like Carl Cox, similarly bodes well for dance music. Although we can’t ignore hip-hop’s influence, music would be incredibly boring if all music merged into a single genre. Much like rock n roll in the ’50s and ’60s, we expect the genre will keep influencing other music, but that individual creativity will continue to push the largest innovations in the industry.

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