Music HistoryOngoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 815: The 90s, Part 5(a): The Hip-Hop Influence

There are just some things that shouldn’t mix. Oil and water. Nitro and glycerine. Tequila and–well, it’s probably not a good idea to mix tequila with anything except maybe salt, lemon, and some fruit juice.

They used to say this about rock and rap music, too. And they–whoever “they” were–were pretty adamant about that.

When rap and hip-hop started seeping into the mainstream in the middle 80s, it immediately polarized people. Those who didn’t (or refused) to get it, were aggressively dismissive of what rap brought to the table.

“That’s not rap! It’s CRAP! It’s not music! It’s just bad poetry over beats stolen from other records!”

It took a few years, but by the time we got to the 90s, rap and hip-hop were becoming very powerful musical and cultural forces. And today, it is THE genre when it comes to driving culture. After half a century in the driver’s seat, rock has fallen to second place.

And not only that, but a chunk of the rock scene has been co-opted by hip-hop, creating a new series of hybrid sounds.

The original post-punk alt-rock population had aged. The older, set-in-their-ways crowd was pushed out by a new generation which didn’t have any preconceived notions or baggage when it came to these new sounds. To them, rap and hip-hop were just new forms of exciting music. *Bonus fact: Their parents hated it, too. That’s always a plus.

By the end of the 80s, there were signs that punk, funk, rap, hip-hop, and metal were all becoming inextricably intertwined. But who knew that in a few years we’d all be talking about this thing called nu-metal?

This is part five of our look back at the alt-rock of the 1990s.

Songs heard on this show:

Faith No More, We Care a Lot

Beastie Boys, Fight for Your Right

Living Colour, Cult of Personality

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Higher Ground

Faith No More, Epic

Body Count, Body Count

Anthrax/Public Enemy, Bring the Noise

Metallica, Enter Sandman

Rage Against the Machine, Bullet in the Head

Eric Wilhite has created the usual playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38556 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 815: The 90s, Part 5(a): The Hip-Hop Influence

  • Aw no PWEI or Urban Dance Squad. (but I totally understand how they – oddly – were not as influential as the bands on the list. At least in North America.


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