As you know, each musical register has its own history. On the occasion of the release of the Remix EP version of The Weeknd album “After Hours” on April 3, Grunge News team decided to recount and analyze the history of rap and pop; 2 musical styles that combined to form the song "Starboy". This article will be presented in 2 parts. The first is focused on the history of pop and its derivatives up until today, while the second part, which will be released on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 (that is tomorrow), will deal with the history of rap and The Weeknd.
Let's start by analyzing the history of pop. In 1926, the term “pop songs” appeared for the first time to describe music with popular appeal. This term evolved up until the 50s and 60s when it was described as an art consumed massively by the population and then reproduced on an industrial scale. "Popular Art" therefore refers to all kinds of arts, ranging from painting all the way to music.
In 1955 “pop-music” was portrayed as a sub-genre of rock’n’roll which was derived and had roots in blues, folk or jazz. The term “pop-music” is an expression from English popular music to describe this musical movement. Pop originated in mass consumption, consumption mainly distributed by television, in which younger audiences were easily affected by. At the time, television was still a new and futuristic object. It was then that the new generation of the time took over certain rock sounds of the time, with the main aim of distracting the population, to create pop-music; short music (about 3 minutes) with very specific rhythms to make you dance. The main purpose of this music is to ensure that young people find their happiness and identity in this jovial musical style. These songs often evoke a societal phenomena referring to happiness as evoking love or peace.
This musical style is a real economic revolution for the music industry.Between 1960 and 1970, the pop-music turnover increased from 800 million to 2 billion.
We can say that it was the Beatles who really marked the beginnings of pop. The Beatles were a group of English who used pop codes wisely and of course, to their advantage. They were a hit for over 50 years until their separation. The enthusiasm around this group has impacted the history of music but mostly on pop culture.
Mythical concerts (We can cite the one at Shea Stadium), mythical pieces, a mythical fan base (a name has even been given to the craze of Beatles fans: "Beatlesmania", a term that has come into common use today) ...
With the rise of the Beatles in the 60s, pop music became very popular, creating a mass movement. A great part of it was thanks to the industrialists who bet on the purchasing power of adolescents and who created a concept of identity. They built clubs, produced T-shirts, leather jackets, movies and of course music. During this period, pop did not yet have an identity and designated all popular music in the new generation. In France, it is notably the great Serge Gainsbourg who adopted pop. Even if he was considered a variety singer, especially during the Javanese era, he had more than one trick up his sleeve. In 1966, his songs began to be cataloged in pop with in particular the title "Qui est "in" qui est "out"". It was also pop who gave birth to one of the most important social and musical movements of the 20th century: the Hippie movement. It all started in the 60s when pop music quickly began to take on a considerable scale. Some young people in San Francisco, realizing that the main objective of pop music is to raise as much money as possible, decide to react. Their goal was to stem the pop-music phenomenon because that type of music related to a consumer society and a submission to power and the arts in vogue. Their objective was also to show their disputes about obeying orders, being governed by a conformist society (then rejecting the American Way Of Life, in French, the American way of life). They then advocated values such as love and peace, while being ecological, egalitarian and carrying total freedom. These marginalized people of society also highlighted the respect between individuals and nature.
The movement abruptly faded in the late 1960s and disappeared in the 1970s.
Conversely, pop continues its ascent and knows a real change from the 70s and 80s thanks to new technologies (the synthesizer at the head of this technological revolution), which allowed it to stand out from other musical styles, to modernize and thus conquer the planet. With the evolution of technology in the 70s and 80s, pop created its own identity. She uses as many tools as possible, such as distortions, echoes ... to improve the songs and bring something new to the music. All of this was called "extraordinary" at the time. Indeed, pop is always inspired by all other musical genres, because we hear guitars, drums, bass... It includes symphonic instruments such as brass or winds, but also synthetic instruments , like the synth piano (being instruments more used in electronic music).
Quickly, this musical genre changed definition and symbolized music with a good dose of dancing rhythm and sound effects produced in studios. This innovation led to the birth of artists who would revolutionize music, in particular with Michael Jackson and his planetary single “Thriller” which still inspires many artists like The Weeknd today. This music not only made noise, it revolutionized music videos. Michael Jackson featured in his clips, telling a story with musical mini-films like "Thriller", "Remember The Time", "Smooth Criminal" ... Being bullied as a child didn't stop him, it fueled his desire for success and it is a factor on how he achieved one of the most important musical careers in the history of music. He was even nicknamed "The King Of Pop". Unfortunately, the “king” died on June 25, 2009, far too early for his millions of fans around the world.
Pop has therefore evolved over the years by borrowing from other musical styles certain instruments, sounds, etc.
The pop we know today by mixing 2 styles of music such as rap and pop with artists like The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Nicky Minaj, ... is mainly brought by 3 French: the DJ - producer among the most influential on earth, David Guetta, his sidekick Fred Rister and Joachim Garraud (among the French electro artists who helped to change the movement). The three of them were able to revolutionize the music industry, especially in 2007 with the release of their music "Love Is Gone" in collaboration with singer Chris Willis.
In this rare era were artists from the world of electro (later called EDM) who collaborated with popular singers to produce music. The worldwide success of "Love Is Gone" has allowed many artists to volunteer to collaborate with the French DJ like the Black Eyed Peas.
David Guetta, Fred Rister and the Black Eyed Peas then worked on the song that will become one of the most popular electro music of all time: "I Gotta Feeling". He became number one in sales for 14 weeks in the United States. Such success had never happened in 10 years. The title was the most downloaded in England since the creation of streaming platforms. This sound has
also become the anthem of many sports teams, but also sporting events such as the 2010 Winter Olympics, ... Fred Rister wrote in 2018: "I have the immodest thought of it: we had achieved a real feat in the context of an industry which was going through a crisis from which it has never recovered. Not only had this hit the Internet challenge by being very profitable, but it had also seized the opportunities of a new era by taking advantage of the incredible viral power of social networks. "I Gotta Feeling" was the example of the planetary tube 2.0. "
This "planetary hit 2.0" has changed the music industry in many ways but the most memorable one is the mix of electro and rap. From this point in time, many rappers like Kid Cudi, Nicky Minaj, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dog and many others began to work with David Guetta and Fred Rister. They collaborated with electro!
In the end, it was in this specific context that this mix was born, which seemed improbable for the time. An improbable mix? Well, that’s because rap and electro were still too exclusive musical registers. Rap was mostly associated with the streets, vulgarity, drugs, ... (gangsta rap) while electro was rather for those who wanted to let off steam. You would think that these two types of listeners had nothing in common but thanks to these cultural evolutions (of rap and electro,) this collaboration became possible.
Pop also owes its success to its perfect duration, neither too short nor too long, about 3 minutes with a tempo close to that of a human heart in full dancing action or euphoria,... All these elements allow its wide distribution on the radio. Pop-music brings a breath of fresh air to society. It is accessible to everyone, jovial, exiting, and borrows a certain form of solidarity. It is now one of the most economically flourishing music industries.
Tomorrow, you will be able to find a new exclusive document on rap with an interview that deserves to be read!