Jazz vs. Hip Hop

As the world emerged out of WWI, Jazz came with it. People were scared after the war and became increasingly suspicious of the inevitable change that was coming. Jazz was a new and harsh form of art that may have come on too fast for people to acclimate to, but nevertheless it spread first through America, and then the world. Jazz shattered boundaries of class and traditional music styles. Not only were unpopular instruments played together, new techniques of the singers came with it. Scatting was popular with jazz singers. A series of notes, sounds, and pitches were improvised together in soulful harmony with jazz bands to create a new, and for some, displeasing sound. Instead of being drawn to composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, jazz fans were drawn to the players and singers. New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of Jazz, but the only places jazz artists, who were predominately black, could perform were around the red-light districts and other undesirable neighborhoods where the predominately white upper class were not being entertained. What it really comes down to is that because of the racism, especially of the South, jazz gained a bad reputation. Still, Jazz was a lucrative business to be in, and as it grew more popular the further north it moved. Chicago became the center of jazz and became known for having the most jazz clubs of any city. As jazz was released on records people didn’t necessarily have to go out to enjoy it, and the jazz trend moved to New York City where most of the recording was conducted. Chicago, as well as New York, remained centers for Jazz as people migrated north after WWI in search of jobs. People, jobs, and jazz brought audiences up north which allowed Jazz to infiltrate the masses. As the Harlem Renaissance began in full swing, the black community emphasized jazz and created it into an art form that has remained as well as evolved.

Around the 1950s Jazz turned into Rock and Roll, which became the “disgraceful” music of that era. However it has evolved again. Starting in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Jazz and Rock and Roll turned into Hip Hop, which evolved into Rap. Today it is popular with most younger audiences and generally dismissed by parents and grandparents. Most of the resistance comes onto the culture that hip hop created including new ideas in dance, art, music,media, literature, television, and film. Just as with jazz, hip hop transcends color even though both genres adopted the face of minorities. The worry comes from the content of the music rather than the style. While some people may not like the sound of rap and hip hop as they would country music or show tunes, the content can be undeniably vulgar and violent. The way that jazz was emphasized as a corrupting influence for where it was performed and the behaviors of some patrons of those establishments, hip hop/rap is emphasized by the messages and reputations of the performers. Many lyrics allude to sex, violence, crime, drugs, and alcohol which emphasizes those behaviors  when they are not channeled into music, art, dance, or a similar outlet of therapy. For example, the Google Search phrase “Georgia southern rap scandal” turned up information, names, and circumstances of the Migos incident from two years ago. Pot, weapons, and other drugs were found on campus and in possession of the performers which was in violation of their contract with the University. The incident made national news and surely didn’t do anything good to sway conservative, southern opinion or national praise onto the genre.


Carter, Maria Agui, and Calvin A. Lindsey. “The Devil’s Music: 1920s Jazz.”PBS. PBS, 2` Feb. 2000. Web. 18 July 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/beyond/jazz.html&gt;.
UCLA Center. “Youth Subcultures: Understanding Subgroups to Better Address Barriers to Learning & Improve Schools.” PsycEXTRA Dataset(n.d.): n. pag. Ucla.edu. Ucla. Web. 18 July 2016. <http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/qf/youthculture.htm&gt;.
Associated Press. “All Three Members of Migos Hip-hop Group Arrested after Concert | Fox News.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 18 July 2016.