Why Hip-Hop Music Is So Popular?

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BuzzAngle recently released new intriguing stats. Among all US-based streaming services across the US in 2018, hip-hop music dominates with 25.4%. That’s a 3.4% increase from the previous year.

Why Is Hip-hop So Popular?

First, let’s take a short dive into history. In the 90s, when rock was declining, the hip-hop genre was slowly taking over with artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z. When the new century came, hip-hop was unstoppable. Nelly and 50 Cent became the most listened to artist in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

Music producers went where the money was. They knew hip-hop was going to be a major cash cow. The commercialization of hip-hop meant the public saw more and more hip-hop artists in circulation.

While hip-hop met a little slump in the 2010, many hip-hop artists thrive to this day. Macklemore, Drake, and Nicki Minaj were just some names who were steadily hovering on the top 40 charts. By then, it was clear that hip-hop was not going away anytime soon.

The final boost for hip-hop popularity was no other than the boom of streaming services. Since 2016, the number of streams on Spotify, Tidal, and Pandora has become the de facto industry standard in measuring music popularity. Since then, popular music is dictated by how many streams it gets on the services.

“Wait, so hip-hop is popular because it’s the genre that gets the most stream? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

Well, it’s a bit of both, really. It’s like a positive feedback loop. More exposure means a higher probability that people will stream it. The more streams a song have, the better chance it will be featured on people’s recommended list.

Over-the-top promotion matters too. Take a lesson from Drake’s Scorpion promotion on Spotify. It infuriated many people, but that album was a major success when you count the dollars.

“Are those the only reasons?”

Not really. If you want a simpler answer, you just need to listen to hip-hop and pay attention to the beats. It’s catchy right?


Good hip-hop music is a mix of creativity plus simple tunes and lyrics. The younger generation nowadays prefers simple music to complex ones such as rock.  If you compare hip-hop to rock, you can easily see that hip-hop is simpler, shallow even.

There’s nothing wrong with being superficial, some say. That’s just how the time rolls. Gone are the days when meaningful lyric is one of the metrics of how good a song is. It’s all about the beat now.

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