New School Hip Hop

The new school of hip hop marks the second major period in the development of the genre. By the time of the movement’s inception, around 1983, hip hop was already highly popular. However, with the release of the two tracks It’s Like That and Sucker MCs, Run-D.M.C. developed a rawer sound consisting of a more aggressive rap style and a stripped-down backing track, mainly produced by a drum machine. In 1984, they released their eponymous debut LP which is considered a hallmark of hip hop. Two years later Run-D.M.C. followed up with Raising Hell, a highly successful record that was equally influential, containing the Aerosmith crossover, Walk This Way. Integral to the production of Raising Hell were Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, both of whom were co-owners of Def Jam Recordings. This label proved very important and released music by LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys

1984-6 saw the release of LL Cool J’s I Can’t Live Without My Radio and the Beastie Boys debut record, Licensed to III which was the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart. Hip hop’s success was now undeniable, and the genre was cemented in the mainstream, no longer overlooked by major record labels. New school hip hop adopted a more stripped-down, minimalist sound prioritising drum machine beats, occasionally incorporating elements of rock music. The songs were also typically shorter and more radio friendly. The rapping style is more aggressive and covers socio-political themes rather than the more light-hearted style of old school hip hop. 

Notable artists:


Beastie Boys

LL Cool J

MC Shan

Marley Marl

Public Enemy

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