After World War 2, America saw an emergence of jazz clubs and lounge singers, like Frank Sinatra. The so-called “Beat Generation” was largely responsible for popularizing jazz and other predominately African-American types of music. When the 1950s rolled around, swing music was in full, well, swing, as husbands and wives drank wine by the radio and danced the night away.
Things got interesting in the 1960s and ’70s, as psychedelic rock and folk music dominated the airwaves. Musicians like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and The Rolling Stones pioneered the music we know and love today.
The 1980s brought pop music into light, along with power ballads and glamorous rock bands, like Guns ‘N Roses, but by the 1990’s everyone was burned out by love songs and electronic synths. Grunge music took over, with bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins at the forefront. At the same time, hip-hop music started to really mature, as artists like Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. garnered international fame.
During the late ’90s and early 2000s, boy bands like N-Sync and the Backstreet Boys were all over magazines and MTV, alongside pop sensations like Britney Spears. The 2010s shaped up similarly, as pop music still dominates our current musical spectrum, however, there is a significantly wider variety of music to choose from. By 2012, new styles of techno were gaining traction, like Dubstep. Meanwhile, rap and hip-hop had been gradually rising to the prominent position it has taken today.
Kendrick Lamar winning 2018’s Pulitzer Prize is an indicator that hip-hop is taking precedence in popular culture. Artists like Kanye West, Migos, Gucci Mane, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, Cardi B, Drake, and far too many to mention have become household names. As Kanye, himself, once put it: “rappers are the new rock-stars.”