Science says hip-hop is the pinnacle of American music

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A bunch of researchers in the UK have applied a scientific approach to find what type of music has the biggest impact in America.

Ultimately, they boiled it down to just three distinct periods when a particular genre ruled the airwaves.

According to their findings, the genre that has the biggest impact is hip hop.

Press Association reports via Yahoo UK that the researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and Imperial College teamed up with Last.fm, to study samples of about 17,000 songs, dating from 1960 to 2010.

Those songs appeared on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at some point during that period.

An algorithm categorized the songs according to their musical properties — right down to the chord patterns, instruments and equipment used and tonal characteristics. They boiled all of that down and identified three key music “revolutions” where a particular genre ruled the charts:

  • 1964: The “British Invasion,” ushered in by the The Beatles and Rolling Stones
  • 1983: New wave and post-punk rock
  • 1991: Hip Hop

Among those, “Hip Hop’s big entrance into the charts in 1991 was said to be the most far reaching,” the study shows. Lead researcher, Dr. Mattias Mauch admits some will disagree with their scientific approach “and think it’s too limited for such an emotional subject.”

Mauch compared hip hop with the British invasion, saying groups like the Beatles “merely followed existing American trends,” while hip hop helped empower marginalized black youth nationwide.

The researchers insist their motivations are purely scientific, saying “Those who wish to make claims about how and when popular music changed can no longer appeal to anecdote, connoisseurship and theory unadorned by data.”

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