The Golden Age of Hip-Hop was a magical time where we had amazing releases from a variety of acts with unique and varied styles that somehow seemed to mesh and compliment one another. According to Dart Adams, there isn’t one continuous golden era, however.
“Some people believe it that the Golden Era was one continuous period that stretched from 1986 to 1996. Others (myself included) maintain that it was two separate eras, with one transition period in between. The first Golden Era lasting from 1986 to 1989, and the second Golden Era spanning from 1992 to 1996.”
These golden eras in hip-hop inadvertently created a rift between hip-hop fans that persists to this day.
“The main reason why the Golden Eras are key to understanding the present day generation chasm is because the widely accepted aesthetics for what constitutes ‘classic hip hop/rap’ were all established between the years 1986 and 1996. The so-called “hip hop/rap purists” cling to this era, and many of them dismiss any rap that doesn’t follow a similar formula or sound comparable as garbage. This is where the first solid lines in the sand in regards to the many generations of rap fans are drawn.”
I wish there was a way for us to bridge the gap. Hip-hop is the voice of the youth and this is quite possibly the first time in history where parents and their kids like the same music. John Robinson and J Rawls discussed this with me not too long ago on Word is Bond Rap Radio. They believe we can use Youth Culture Power in teaching and I completely agree.
We can’t go back to the way hip-hop was. There were likely never be another golden era.
“Once an artist could record his or her own music on a laptop and upload it to their SoundClick page and then sell it on their MySpace’s SnoCap store, there was no chance rap’s Pandora’s Box would ever be closed. Based on the previous continuum, between 1979 and 1997, we should’ve had at least two more golden eras in rap, but there hasn’t been one since, thanks to major record labels scaling back A&R departments, outsourcing artist development, and furthering the mainstream-underground industry divide”
Dart Adams summed it up perfectly when he was on Word is Bond Rap Radio last week. He talks about how mainstream and the underground “existed at the same time on the same field.” He compares it to Earth 1 and Earth 2 for the comic book nerds out there. And since the two have never met again, we’ve never had another golden era and we likely won’t see one again because . . .
“In order to have a golden era, you have to interact and compete directly.”
Dart talks about how the underground used to fuel the mainstream in a sort of farm team kind of way. That doesn’t happen anymore because of the chasm between mainstream hip-hop and the underground.
That is why we will never have another golden era of hip-hop.
I’m glad we had both eras and that many of the artists still continue to make music today. I will champion that sound and aesthetic forever. I refuse to live in the past, but will always dip back in to my vast music collection to celebrate it. And of course, new music is released every day with that same vibe and energy and I will spin that too.
Did you catch the last episode of Word is Bond Rap Radio, it featured an in-depth discussion with Dart Adams. Stream it with the player below.
Long live hip-hop music!