1970 Hip Hop Music: The Best of the Decade

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best 1970 hip hop songs. This was a great decade for the genre with many artists experimenting with different sounds.

1970 Hip Hop Music: The Best of the Decade

1970 was an amazing year for hip hop music. We saw the release of some of the greatest albums of all time. The best of the decade, in my opinion, were “The Low End Theory” by A Tribe Called Quest, “Mecca and the Soul Brother” by Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” by the Wu-Tang Clan.

The Best Hip Hop Songs of the 1970s

The 1970s was a decade of great change for the hip hop genre. Although the musical form had originated in the African-American communities of New York City in the late 1960s, it only began to achieve mainstream popularity in the 1970s. This was due in large part to the increasing availability of affordable portable music playback devices such as the Sony Walkman and the rise of disco music.

During this decade, hip hop music evolved from its beginnings as a party music played on makeshift sound systems to become a more polished and commercially viable genre. This transition was reflected in the evolving styles of hip hop songwriting, which began to incorporate elements of pop, R&B, and funk. As hip hop became more popular, it also began to be more widely accepted by mainstream America.

The following is a list of some of the best hip hop songs of the 1970s. These songs showcase the genre’s transformation from its humble beginnings into a fully formed musical style:

-The Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
-Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – “The Message” (1982)
-Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – “Planet Rock” (1982)
-Run-D.M.C. – “Sucker MCs” (1983)
-LL Cool J – “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (1985)
-Public Enemy – “Fight The Power” (1989)

The Best Hip Hop Artists of the 1970s

The 1970s was a decade of great change and upheaval, and hip hop music was reflective of that. From the early pioneers like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa to the mega-stars of the 1980s like Run-DMC and Public Enemy, 1970s hip hop artists laid the foundations for what would become one of the biggest and most influential genres in music history.

In no particular order, here are some of the best hip hop artists of the 1970s:

DJ Kool Herc: One of the pioneer DJs, Kool Herc is often credited with inventing the breakbeat, which became the foundation of hip hop music. His parties in The Bronx were legendary, and he went on to influence generations of DJs and producers.

Afrika Bambaataa: Another Bronx DJ, Bambaataa was a member of the Black Spades gang before he became a DJ. He founded the Universal Zulu Nation, an international hip hop awareness group, and his song “Planet Rock” is considered one of the classics of the genre.

Grandmaster Flash: One of the most influential DJs and producers of all time, Grandmaster Flash was a pioneer in developing many of the techniques that are now commonplace in hip hop music. His 1982 track “The Message” is a stone-cold classic.

Run-DMC: One of the biggest names in 1980s hip hop, Run-DMC was also one of the first crossover acts, with their 1984 single “Rock Box” becoming a top 40 hit. They helped to dispel many misconceptions about hip hop music and culture and paved the way for future success stories.

Public Enemy: Arguably the most important political voice in hip hop history, Public Enemy’s highly charged brand of rap addresses social and political issues with wit, intelligence and flair. They remain one of the genre’s most iconic groups.

The Best Hip Hop Albums of the 1970s

The 1970s was a golden era for hip hop music. Here are the best hip hop albums of the decade, according to fans.

-The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (1979)
-Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock (1982)
-Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C. (1984)
-LL Cool J – Radio (1985)
-Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987)
-NWA – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
-2Pac – All Eyez on Me (1996)

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