Hip Hop is the legacy of the jazz kings

from Brother Ali – Say Amen Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

While Hip Hop did not directly develop from Jazz, there are comparisons to be drawn here.

Jazz, in it’s early days, was denounced by civil rights leaders, who felt it damaged black culture and public perception of it, mirroring attitudes towards Hip Hop today. W.E.B. DuBois and A. Philip Randolph, prominent civil rights figures of the time, went as far as to form a record company for the purposes of “elevating” black music.

Similar criticisms were aimed at early rock and r&b, with Martin Luther King Jr. himself claiming they “plunge[d] men’s minds into degrading and immoral depths.”

Hip Hop is a spiritual successor to this legacy, with prominent Hip Hop artists dealing with the kind of criticism that figures like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were faced with before them.

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