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There is no denying the impact hip-hop has had on mainstream music over the past 20 years. From fashion, to commercials, to endorsements, hip-hop is finally receiving its proper recognition, and this isn’t just my opinion, this is now based off of scientific fact.

Other than just seeing the obvious  world wide popularity hip-hop has had in the music culture, it is finally “being backed by hard data”, says a team of researchers from two London universities.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the researchers explain that they removed the “musical lore and aesthetic judgment” in favor of scientific accuracy.

“We had a sense that lots of people have opinions about popular music, but nobody has any objective evidence,” said Armand Leroi, one of the study’s authors.

The Evidence

Researchers gathered evidence by using a music recognition technology to analyze more than 17,000 songs that made up 86% of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 between 1960-2010. They then took that data and broke each song down to a 30-second clip, and grouped them in topics relating to harmony and timbre (basically breaking them down by sound).

The research then studied how the different topics fit into different genres and styles, and then based the growth or decline of popularity over the decades.

“Everybody thinks the best music was produced when they were 17 years old. We wanted to do something better than that,” Leroi, a professor of evolutionary biology at Imperial College London, told CNN.

The Conclusion

The most interesting of the findings concluded this:

•Rap music and related genres appear to be “the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts” in the period of time covered.

•Despite the forever popularity of bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, they never set off the revolution in American music in 1964, despite the infamous “British Invasion” that swept the country at one time.

•Despite what a lot of people think about music sounding the same today, diversity in pop music increased in the 80’s and 90’s, right around the time hip-hop emerged and flourished.

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Whether you like it or not, there is no arguing the impact of hip-hop in America over the last half century. As far as commercialization, has it reached its peak? Only time will tell, but for hip-hop, its current artist are flourishing in a magnitude of ways musically and economically. This in major part is because of those hip-hop pioneers who paved the rode, who dealt with the scrutiny, who laid the foundation that we see today. That can never be overlooked.

As a genre, Hip-Hop is still an adolescent compared to some other genres, and that’s the best part about it. Where else can this genre go, how many more cultural and musical impacts across America, and now even the world, can hip-hop make?

And finally, us hip-hop heads do not have to base our arguments solely on opinion; there is now scientific data that backs this argument up. Move over Beatles and Rolling Stones, cause hip-hop is here to stay, and is “the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts.” And to me, it is only the beginning.

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Source: Photo by Al Bello / Getty

Data Source: CNN

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