The mid-sized city of Boise is known for its lush colorful trees, Boise State football, and potatoes for the simple fact that it grows in the heart of Idaho. Over the last eight to 10 years, both Boise State and the Boise community have grown exponentially as both attendance and infrastructure continue to boom.
Another phenomenon has evolved and become popular throughout the course of the last 10 to 20 years, not only in Boise but in the world, hip-hop and rap culture.
Hip-hop music has taken hold of the music scene ever since the emergence of music artists such as Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, etc. It has been maintained and altered to fit a revolutionized music industry by the likes of modern artists such as Eminem, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi and Drake, to name a few.
Why has this genre of music in particular taken off so successfully, specifically with the college age demographic? So successfully in fact, odds are that the folks passing on a college campus between classes are listening to the best hip-hop has to offer today.
With headphones lodged, attentions focused ahead, and tasks to accomplish for the day, college students have embraced hip-hop as an essential component to every day life.
Alex Wati, recent graduate and international student from Paris, France said, “Listening to hip-hop or rap music has become a part of me it’s like breathing. Whenever I was on my way to class, even sometimes in class if the lecture was dull, I would find myself listening to my favorite artists.”
When asked why he thought hip-hop was so popular with the college crowd, Wati responded, “Because the messages of the genre are absolutely relatable to our age group. Whether it’s struggling to make ends meet, stresses of growing up, or the simple act of looking for a good time while partying, hip-hop is really versatile.”
The Boise State campus is evolving into a diverse hub of varying culture, as more and more out-of-state students are meshing with students who are native to Idaho. Hip-hop culture has transcended state lines along with this new wave of students.
From new friendships formed to the sharing of music during lunch break, hip-hop music has acted as catalyst of bringing people together through the love of music.
“I think the main reason so many people listen to hip-hop, particularly in college, is because it’s a great way to bond with a vast assortment of people. Doesn’t matter who they are, where they are from, it brings people together. Most of it at least,” said Brittinae Carr, elementary education and english senior.
Even in this increasingly progressive age of accepting people for who they are, prejudices still exist. No matter an individual’s ethnicity, religious belief, or sexual orientation, people are still looked at differently for the color of their skin and context of their character.
The rise of hip-hop represents a style of music that is wrapped in the concept of spoken word, and in doing so allows for artists to break down the barriers of modern prejudice. Students not only see it in their lives at school, but in their private lives as well.
“I am the product of interracial parents, having a mom who is white and a dad who is black. I have grown to love listening to certain hip-hop because many lyrics I hear from artists express the same frustrations I have being a product of a multiracial home, “ Carr said, “Many artists have brought real diversity to the genre and I think that correlates with why college students have come to make up a big part of hip-hop fans, no matter if they are white, black, or whatever race.”
No matter the preference towards a certain hip-hop style or another, students have the opportunity to meet new friends through a love for music and art that breaks down the fallacies of social prejudice.