The year is 1988, Ronald Reagan is the President (but on his way out of office), and with the signing of the “Anti-Drug Abuse Act of ‘88”, America’s infamous ‘war on drugs’ is now in full swing. Crack has turned into an epidemic. Oppressed people are starting to wake up to the injustice they’re living in. Rage, and negativity has begun it’s spread from New York, with the ‘Tompkins Square Park Riot’ – to California, with the ‘Raid on 39th Street’; and NWA has just released “Straight Outta Compton”. What would look like a tumultuous year for America, would actually be the year that sparked the minds of people who would later be instrumental in pushing the culture forward. With a rise in ignorance, through government corruption and police brutality, the inner city would have nothing to cling onto, except their voice. These voices were fighting to be heard, and Hip-Hop wouldn’t disappoint.
1988 isn’t the exact year Hip-Hop came into fruition, but the acts that came into the spotlight this year was pivotal; necessary for the times. NWA became the voice of vengeance, stirring up trouble from Compton, to the White House with the release of singles like “Fuck The Police”. Public Enemy gave us “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back”. Boogie Down Productions taught us philosophy with “By All Means Necessary”. Ice-T ruffled some feathers with “Power”. Run DMC released “Tougher Than Leather”. Eric B & Rakim showed the youth how to rap with “Follow The Leader”. MC Lyte blessed us with “Lyte As A Rock”. Slick Rick started his “Great Adventures”. Will Smith became the life of the party with his and Jazzy Jeff’s album “He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper”. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hip-Hop was moving at lightning speed this year, forcing big media outlets like MTV,to create shows like “YoMTV Raps!” in order to host rising talent. The amount of music released during this year by the youth who would later become icons, is paramount to why ‘88 can be attested to as the greatest year in Hip-Hop history.
Why ‘88 though? Well a few factors you can attribute to the creation of this monumental year, would be that it was Ronald Reagan’s final year as President; the youth of the 70’s (and those who carry the energy of ‘Woodstock ‘69’) are now old enough to vote/finally have a voice; and it’s the conclusion of one decade, and the beginning of another; symbolizing hope for change in the future. Sounds familiar? Let’s see, Donald Trump is President (final year if impeached), like Reagan, he was a celebrity first, before making his way into politics. Generation Z has reached voting age; and those who attended ‘Woodstock ‘99’, can now paint the world with their energy; even though Obama gave us hope, and did his best to change the direction of America, Trump was able to find a way to cause hysteria, leaving us searching for hope and change going into this next decade. Did you notice the 30 year intervals? Coincidence? I think not!
Expect the unexpected, and prepare for the impossible because 2018 is about to be a wild ride. If timing holds true, the stars of today will be the icons of the future. This will be the greatest year in Hip-Hop since ‘88 – as long as Trump and North Korea don’t beef, & start World War 3.