DJ D-Nice hosted a 9 hour music set on Instagram Live that caught the attention of over 100,000 people that included a long list of celebrities. Even during chaotic times, music (specifically Hip Hop and legends of the genre) has found creative ways to continue to make an impact in the world. DJ D-Nice is one of the several examples of how Hip Hop is not a fad. It is a community that has learned to influence, uplift, and do the impossible.
"Ralph Lauren was borin' before I wore him..." - Kanye West.
Hip hop becoming the new pop culture is not news - It has always been rooted in pop(ular) culture. Hip Hop's powerful influence can stem back to Run DMC filling out a packed audience in Madison Square Garden, taking off their Adidas in the middle of a show to raise them to the sky, and screaming the lyrics "MY ADIDAS". This song and performance helped them land a sneaker deal as the first non-athletic international icons behind an athletic shoe. This partnership landed more than just millions of $. It also gave them a Legacy that transcended Hip Hop forever. A Legacy that will last a lifetime.
As Adidas benefited greatly from the influence of hip hop, so has a multitude of companies, industries, and communities. Whether it is a trend created by hip hop or a culture that was embraced by hip hop, whatever hip hop puts her hand on, she turns it to gold.
Hip Hop's embrace of cultures - Lupe Fiasco made (arguably) one of the most iconic hip hop songs "Kick Push" almost 15 years ago. That song gave the perspective of being a person of color in skateboard culture and it opened kids' eyes, such as myself at the time. It's the idea of stepping into skate culture. Fast forward this year to Travis Scott; he collaborates with Nike and creates a Nike Skateboard shoe that sold out in minutes from its release.
Skateboard culture has always been a respected and prominent community on its own. Much respect to the people who have paved the way and pushed boundaries in the skate/BMX community thus far: Nyjah Huston, Tyshawn Jones, Paul Rodrigez, and Nygel Sylvester (my personal favorites).
I don't want to discredit the legends who have paved the way in the skate community as they have made an impact in my life. But Hip Hop has certainly helped leverage the skate community into the mainstream marketplace. I use Lupe and Trav as examples of how hip hop has the power and influence to authentically embrace AND relate to other cultures while giving them a platform to thrive on an even bigger scale.
Outside of it lyrically, Hip Hop's lifestyle has evolved over time and has allowed it to influence not just what people buy - but also how people think. Old Town Road by Lil Nas X allowed him to make history as the first openly gay Black artist to win at the CMA Awards (Country Music Awards). Rappers such as Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and A$AP Rocky have pushed and tested boundaries in fashion through their unique and electric styles that have brought more attention to topics of gender stereotypes and gender identification.
A lifestyle that redefines rules and ways of thinking is seen as influential.
Hip Hop births what is hot because Hip Hop is pop(ular) culture. The platform of being the most popular genre of music in the world now has put the spotlight on Hip Hop's power and influence that it has had for decades. "It's only valid if Hip Hop says so" is the type of validity that has attracted brands to winning the heart of Hip Hop. From cars, fashion, politics, individual people, jewelry, and more, Hip Hop has figuratively been society's blue social media check. It's the type of influence that has left a bigger impact than just musically.
What if Hip Hop embraced HBCU culture and fashion just as much as it embraces the Gucci and Dior fashions of the world?
If I could do it out of my dorm room in college through fashion, Hip Hop can too.