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Hip-Hop and Marketing: The triumph of a marginalized culture

Hip-Hop culture is today one of the most important movements of our generation leading to revolutionary changes in music, art, dance but it has also strongly influenced the business world.

A predominantly African-American culture, the roots of Hip-Hop can be found in the suburbs of New York in the 1970s. But it was the 1980s that marked the first starting point in the advent of Hip Hop culture.

Its artists, its beats, its movements and its rhythms will truly begin to be exported beyond neighborhoods, cities and borders to start a march towards the world.

First underground, rejected, made invisible before being admired, used, appropriated, this culture becomes essential.

Hip-hop music then became a global phenomenon thanks to the success of groups like Run DMC, LL Cool and the Beasties Boys or artists such as Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dog. The rise of artists like JayZ, P-Diddy, Rihanna and Beyoncé will then impose Hip-Hop culture as dominant, making its icons much more than artists but businessmen and women among the most influential on the international scene.

This rise in power of Hip-Hop culture is noticeable in all sectors and all walks of life.

Indeed, after having been marginalized and reduced to a subculture representative of a popular, disadvantaged and colored social class, street culture, more than just Hip-Hop, becomes a marketing tool used by many brands.

This turning point took place especially in the 90’s with an increasingly strong interest from brands in Hip-Hop codes. The term "hip hop" was so popular that it became a cultural identifier for young people. Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of Millennials consider themselves connected to hip-hop culture.

A growing number of marketers and advertisers recognize the power of this trend and are keen to connect with this market.


Hip-Hop culture has thus succeeded in establishing itself at the marketing, advertising and artistic level, but it is in its very essence that it shows its hegemony. Indeed, a largely dominant culture among young people, it has succeeded through its rappers, its graffiti artists, its dancers and all of its representatives in conveying messages of living together, diversity and universalism with resonance and a strong impact.

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