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Happy Birthday Hip-Hop: A VOX History Of The Culture

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The teens at VOX have covered (and debated) Hip-Hop extensively over the years. Here are some of our favorite articles on the culture.

It would be easy to assume that most teens don’t care about Hip-Hop music that came out before they were born. But in the case of the teens at VOX, you couldn’t be more wrong. Any given day you could walk in our offices and hear our music lovers 15-year old Mack Walker and 17-year old Kenneth Franklin arguing about which 1990’s A Tribe Called Quest album was their best work. Or you could catch our teens dancing vibing out to Kool Moe Dee’s 1989 album “Knowledge Is King” — on vinyl.

The teens at VOX have covered Hip-Hop in a range of ways from interviewing artists to offering their critical analysis. Since the world is celebrating the birth of Hip-Hop today (August 11), we wanted to share some of our work.

One of our most recent examples is the “Future Of ATL Hip-Hop” multimedia package that Mack, Kenneth and Calvin Walden put together during 2017 VOX Media Cafe: Session 3. They set out to talk about the state of current Hip-Hop, specifically in Atlanta, and how it has evolved since the culture was birthed in the Bronx. For their story, the trio interviewed Digga Sensei, Kodie Shane, Kap G, Domani and Killer Mike.

“There will still be artists out there who build on the styles that you like, just make sure you’re willing to do the extra digging that’s needed to find them,” the piece advised. “With that, it’s important to give credit to rappers you might not like, too. They’re still on the grind to make their art.”

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Then there was the time VOX reporter Keana Martin-Sanders interviewed the self-proclaimed “King of the Teens” Lil Yachty before his halftime performance at an Atlanta Hawks game earlier this year.

“The rapper calls himself King of Teens, which makes perfect sense,” wrote Keana. “With his distinctive voice and a look marked by vibrant red braids with beaded ends, he certainly influences the youth.”

Thalia Butts has covered her favorite artist Tyler, The Creator in a number of ways including “Five Things I Learned From Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Flower Boy’ Album” where she talked about how the music is helping her transition into her freshman year of college.

“A major lesson that I’ve learned from “Flower Boy” and Tyler’s previous albums is that if you don’t root for yourself, nobody else will,” she wrote. “Nobody will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Confidence is essential to success.”

VOX teens have also been critical of the culture they grew up on as well. As popular as Tyler is among the VOXers, our 2015 piece “Creationism or Satanism? Why You Should Listen to Tyler, The Creator” offered a more objective look at the artist who has also been known for his offensive lyrics.

Another example of a VOX cultural analysis was Mack’s opinion piece, “Where’s Famous Dex?”: An Op-ed About XXL and Domestic Violence.” In it he not only spoke on Dex’s reputation as a woman abuser, but also called out XXL for applying a double-standard when they left him off of the XXL Freshman Cover, but still allowed rapper XXXtentacion to appear despite his reported history of domestic violence.

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“XXL tried to do what was best for them by keeping their decision popularity based, but ended up enraging fans more and downplaying domestic violence at the same time,” said Mack. “Someone with a reported history of domestic violence still ended up on the cover. How would you feel if a woman close to you had gotten assaulted by someone and then the same person who lent out the beating blew up a few months later? You would think it’s unjust, you would think it’s unfair, and you would want something to be done about it.”

If you appreciate a teen’s perspective on Hip-Hop culture, keep visiting VOX, there’s more where that came from as well as plenty of teen-curated playlists. Oh yeah, if you really want to celebrate Hip-Hop’s birthday, check out today’s fire Google Doodle where you can mix and spin records like a real DJ.


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