It’s just after dinner, you take your Nintendo DSi off the charger and sit down in the living room. You pull your iPod out and place your earphones in your ears, you turn it up and blast Party in the U.S.A. Life is good.
A decade has passed since these events might have happened and by 2020, much of the music we consume has changed greatly. The electro-pop sound that was characteristic of the early 2010s no longer dominates our airwaves and instead when we turn on our radios we hear a trap dominated song list that dictates the rise of mainstream hip hop.
The music that has so far dominated the 2020s takes a more tell-all, beat-heavy tone opposed to the bubblegum flavor of the earlier years, that directly links itself into hip hop and its culture.
2010 started off strong with hits like Bad Romance, Fireflies, and Empire State of Mind, all of which majorly impacted the flavor of the decade’s music scene. Pop music was dominated by new artists that brought different things to light such as Lady Gaga’s 80’s europop influence, Katy Perry’s infectious uptempo and colors, along with Bruno Mars’ tenor cadence. These artists began the decade with massive hits under their belts and a freedom of exploration that made much of the music memorable due to their differences in style and approach.
By 2020 many of the seemingly mainstay acts that were ruling the music industry years earlier, had evolved and became a different type of artist altogether. Things like Gaga’s dramatic shift from the drama of her early red carpets to her gilded screen debut, Justin Bieber’s departure from the ability to create good music, and Rihanna’s massive makeup and lingerie empire taking over the real estate that her music used to possess. Much of this change attributes itself through the way that many of the recent songs have become popular, social media. Outlets like TikTok (the video-sharing app) and Twitter have found artists virally successful, an imitation of the viral hits spawned by the dead media outlets Vine and Musical.ly.
The January 11, 2020 top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart sees five of its spots (including number one) held by hip hop/rap songs, far different than the single entry for the chart of January 9, 2010. Hip hop experienced a massive genre explosion in the ’90s and ’00s that became a full brunt force in the 10’s.. This force could be seen through the breakout successes of Drake, J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Nicki Minaj, all of whom have left a lasting effect on the music industry. Many of the commercially successful songs of the latter part of the decade use the trap, bass-heavy beats that try and emulate the hip hop flavor that has become a pop-culture staple.
The immense changes from the early double-digit decades to the 2020s can be seen through the song inspirations and viral consumption that happens nowadays. Even though these changes have shifted pop culture and the whole industry, the music industry still thrives as strong as ever and these changes might even be good for the culture as a whole.
By Ethan Everman, Staff Writer