Get the Strap


YouTube Music Hip Hop History Month

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There’s a line in “Brown Sugar” where Sanaa Lathan asks “When did you fall in love with Hip Hop?” I can directly remember how I felt when I heard “The Show” by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew. It was first time that I heard the combination of beat boxing and rapping. I would soon hear it again when I interacted with the Fat Boys and learned more about hip hop simply watching the movie “Krush Groove”.

“YouTube is the Institutional memory of Hip Hop. If it happened and it was recorded, YouTube is where it lives.” – Tuma Basa, Director of Black Music and Culture, YouTube

Today, Youtube reminded me of this feeling as I listened to their Director of Black Music and Culture, YouTube Music, Tuma Basa, who happens to be a friend and someone I admire. The roundtable panelists were led by Rob Markman, VP of Content Strategy, Genius, another legendary pen in the media world and sometime when he decides to dust off his mic. The other panelists were Rebecca Thomas, Senior Staff Editor, Culture, The New York Times, Joseph Patel, Grammy award-winning Producer, Director, Writer, and Executive, and Shaheem Reid. When it comes to music, the culture and the industry, there aren’t too many that outweigh the perspectives of these individuals. Not only do they have the best stories but they have literally been in the room when the most epic moments of music happened.

“I grew up in California. When Andre 3000 said ‘The South got something to say on the Source Awards.’ We didn’t hear about it until six months later. 80% of the people that know about that moment found out afterwards, and they found out because of YouTube.” – Joseph Patel, Grammy award winning Producer, Director, Writer, and Executive

Rob imposed this question on not only the panel but the room to talk about their favorite mic drop moment. While the mention of Kendrick Lamar’s ability to drop unreleased music, some that never even came out, on award shows and the legendary moment when Jay Z brought Michael Jackson on the Summer Jam stage, my mic drop moment will always be DMX performing at Wood Stock. It isn’t until he does the call and repeat with the sea of people that you realize how much control he has over them. That moment in 1999 will forever be etched in my memory despite being 19 and watching it from my living room on MTV. Youtube is how I channel the nostalgia. That video was also wildly shared when DMX unfortunately passed away.

“A lot of the mic drop moments in the 80s and 90s happened on MTV and now they happen on YouTube. YouTube is an infinite resource. I can find new artists, but also go back and find those moments that I missed.” – Rob Markman, VP of Content Strategy, Genius

As we celebrate Hip Hop history month, we want to spotlight how week in and week out, Hip Hop artists dominate YouTube’s US Top Songs chart. I look forward to the celebration as the road to Hip Hop turning 50 has already begun!


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