Transformation: Rock-n-Roll Dethroned by Hip-Hop

Go Lean Commentary

The only constant is change itself!

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There are champions and there are challengers. When an old champion is surpassed by a young challenger, it is only a matter of time for the young to become old and another generation of challengers appears on the scene.

Just wait!

This scenario has happened again; this time in the world of consumed music: Rock-n-Roll is King … no more. The young upstart that took the throne in 1964 has now been supplanted by the new upstart Hip-Hop or Rap music; see story in Appendix below. Now the declaration can be:

… rap music is here to stay.

The qualitative evidence of this fact has been obvious to me for at least 20 of the last 40 years.  But this study does more than just vindicate those of us who study rap music in the academy: it also validates the extraordinary cultural influence of what Bakari Kitwana has defined as the hip-hop generation: those of us born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s who have been wrestling with the rise of neoliberalism, the consequences of the prison-industrial complex and the withering effects of globalisation in the post-civil rights era. That struggle has, to some extent at least, has been articulated through rap music itself.

The key piece of information “discovered” by Mauch et al [(The Evolution of Popular Music: 1960-2010 by Matthias MauchRobert M. MacCallumMark LevyArmand M. Leroi)] is that there were three major influential shifts in popular music in that 50-year period. One, in 1964, related to the decline of popular jazz/blues forms and the rise of rock music; one in 1983, reflected the emergence of pop/stadium rock; the final, most pronounced shift came in 1991, with the popular emergence of rap music.  This final shift falls within the period known to scholars of hip-hop culture as the Golden Era; [where songs about fighting power structures could be as popular as songs that degrade women]. – The Guardian Newspaper posted May 8, 2015; retrieved July 25, 2017

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This development is presented by the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book – available to download for free – tracks the Agents of Change that have impacted the Caribbean region and declares that:

  • Change is Good
  • Change is Bad
  • Change is Constant

The book urges a Caribbean audience – in the homeland and in the Diaspora – to better prepare for change, to act and move to the corner where opportunity meets preparation. This is how to generate “luck”; this is how to get to the conclusion: “Change is Good”, as opposed to the disposition of “Change is Bad”. Unfortunately for the Caribbean, we have only experienced the bad consequences of change.

We have not been ready. Going forward … let’s do better.

The intersection of music and change is familiar to this Go Lean movement; consider these previous blog-commentaries: This Day In History: Jamaican Innovation for Hip-Hop Forging Change: Music Moves People

The Go Lean book provides turn-by-turn directions on “how” to do better in an atmosphere of intense change. It serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states.

In a previous blog commentary from this Go Lean movement, it was reported that …

Over the past half century, the economic structures of many North American and Western European countries have changed dramatically, a mostly upward trajectory (growth) with occasional dips (recessions). During this same past half century, the economics of many Caribbean countries have also changed dramatically, but mostly towards poor or regressive conditions. This fact has forced a brain drain among many of the member-states’ professional classes.

As these changes took hold of society, the social effects on people, families, traditions, habits and values have been drastic; a lot has changed over the past decades.

So change has taken root! We see a parallel: Hip-Hop is now King, the reigning Champion in American music consumption (see sample in the VIDEO below) … while the Caribbean has been beset by these Agents of Change:

  • Globalization
  • Technology
  • Climate Change
  • Aging Diaspora

Music change; people change; values change; demographics change; society change!

Among the changes – to people, families, traditions, habits and values – is the effect on the Caribbean brain drain, estimated at 70% on the tertiary-educated population. This is a crisis for our region!

This is the consistent theme in the Go Lean book and blogs; they describe the “push and pull” factors of societal change; these sources posit that life in North American communities (and Western European) serve as a “pull” factor for many Caribbean communities. Plus, the resultant failing economic conditions in the homeland further “push” many citizens away. Bad changes create repercussions of more bad changes.

To alleviate this crisis, there is the need to counteract with purposeful change. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap to elevate the economics of the region; and it clearly describes the impact on other societal engines: security and governance. The Go Lean/CU roadmap therefore has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This goal was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Within these 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions in the Go Lean book are the details of “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus “how” to execute new strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean communities. There is a parallel with the emergence of Hip-Hop and managing societal change:

Hip-hop and it don’t stop.

VIDEO – Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang –

Published on Jun 14, 2014 – I said a hip hop / Hippie to the hippie / The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it out / Bubba to the bang bang boogie, boobie to the boogie…

Rapper’s Delight” is a hip-hop song released in September 1979 by The Sugarhill Gang, and produced by ex-Mickey and Sylvia member Sylvia Robinson.

While it was not the first single to include rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that introduced hip hop music to audiences in the United States and around the world (and the very first full-length rap song, which featured rapping parts throughout the entire song, unlike the first single). And for that reason, many refer to Rapper’s Delight as the first official rap song regardless. The song is ranked number 251 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 2 on VH1‘s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. It is also included in NPR‘s list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. It was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2011.[2] Songs on the National Recording Registry are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”[3]Source: Retrieved July 25, 2017 from:

Change is like a bull; we have to “take the bull by the horn”. If Hip-Hop is not your favorite musical genre, it does not mean it will go away. This too is a constant! One generation never likes the music of the next generation:

“Turn off that noise”!

We can turn down, or turn off the music, but we cannot turn off Change. It’s a constant. We need to Rock with it! We must simply do the work – heavy-lifting as it might be – to adapt to change.

This Go Lean plan is conceivable, believable and achievable. We can transform … and make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Hip hop dethrones rock as most consumed music genre in the U.S., Nielsen Music stats reveal

By: Veronica Harris , New York Daily News

Hip hop and it don’t stop.

For the first time ever, hip hop is the most consumed music genre in the U.S., Forbes reports, using numbers Nielsen Music recently released in a mid-year report.

While rock has long ruled, holding the top genre spot since Nielsen began to measure music consumption in the U.S. in 1991, the tables have turned, with R&B/hip hop now surpassing the popularity of rock and pop.

For the first six months of 2017, R&B/hip hop was responsible for 25.1% of all music consumption in the country, while rock claimed 23%. Hip hop also leads in digital song sales and on-demand streaming.

“It’s been an action-packed start to the year, with records broken, chart history made, and several categories growing quickly,” Nielsen stated.

Analysts at Forbes magazine believe the increasing popularity of R&B/hip hop is due to its influence on streaming services. The genre is as popular as rock and pop combined on Spotify and Apple Music.

Out of the 10 most consumed albums in the U.S. for the six-month period between January and June of this year, six were R&B/hip hop, according to Nielsen. Kendrick Lamar topped that list with his album, “DAMN.,” with nearly 1.8 million listeners. Drake’s record-breaking album, “More Life,” is the third most consumed album, with nearly 1.7 million listeners.

Hip hop was king of the song charts, too. Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” had the second-highest amount of streams in that six-month period, nearly 650 million. Seven other rap songs also made that list.

Source: Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017; retrieved July 25, 2017 from:


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