Music History reflects Society
Hip-hop then and now
Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As a musical and cultural movement that emerged in the Bronx section of New York City in the early 1970s, hip-hop was pioneered by African American and Latino youth.
It became a pervasive part of youth culture and identity, and its influence extended beyond music to fashion, slang, street art, and pop culture. Today, hip-hop songs are popular all over the world, and many artists have adopted hip-hop styles and elements.
Born on the streets of New York City, hip-hop has had a wide range of influences, including the role hip-hop has played in arousing interest in social issues, promoting cultural exchange, and as a means of self-expression. Its influence has spread beyond music and entertainment to society as a whole, taking root throughout the world as part of youth culture and becoming one of the elements that enriches the diversity of music and culture.
And 50 years later, hip-hop is still influencing U.S. education. In the early 2000s, hip-hop began to be incorporated into lesson plans, primarily in English and language classes, with teachers using music and rhymes to teach the subject matter. This was intended to make learning more exciting while allowing students to feel a cultural connection to the lesson. In addition, since Howard University began offering hip-hop courses, colleges and universities across the country, including Harvard University, Duke University, and New York University, have offered hip-hop-related courses.
In this newsletter, we would like to consider the messages that music has appealed to society and their impact.
Power of Music and “Social Change”
The “Best Song For Social Change” award was newly established this year by the Grammy Awards to recognize songs that have made a difference in society. The first award was presented to Iranian musician Shervin Hajipour for his song “Baraye”, which was composed for the first time in the history of the Grammy Awards. The song is about gender issues and political corruption in the wake of the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman over the wearing of the hijab. With the Grammy spotlight on music that speaks for the weak, 2023 may be an important year in music history to come.
Women's breakthroughs as seen in “princesses princess”
In 1989, when Japan changed its call of age from Showa to Heisei, and against the backdrop of the so-called “band boom,” the Princess Princesses had two extraordinarily big hits. This was largely due to the changing position of women in Japanese society. First of all, the band’s image of “a woman who works hard and grows positively to fulfill her dreams” was greatly supported by female fans, who at the time were a new buying demographic. In the background was the 1986 Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which brought women’s empowerment into the spotlight.
The Changing Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
In the world of hip-hop, where masculinity is considered one of the aesthetics, female rappers who transmit their will are said to be gaining a lot of support. “I think that hip-hop is trying to start a trend where women can say what they think and be accepted and sympathized with,” says Watanabe.
The Evolution of the Message in Punk Music
What is recalled in “Punk Music” is the radical lyrics and performativity of the Sex Pistols, who led British music in the 1970s. They used to convey their message to the masses, venting their anger against society through their music. However, when comparing contemporary punk music to the past, the message has changed. For example, the song “” by Idols, one of the leading contemporary bands, sings of disgust at the beauty that is imposed on people. In common with other contemporary punk bands, they also spread a positive message of self-love and self-acceptance.