Hip-hop's impact on the pop music scene in 1991 was more important than Beatlemania, The Rolling Stones, and The British Invasion of 1964, a new study that used computer analysis to inspect 17,000 songs has found.
According to the study, the rise of rap and related genres — not the songwriting of Paul McCartney or John Lennon — represents “the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period we studied.”
Bands like The Who, heavily influenced by American blues, merely “exaggerated existing trends,” while pioneers like Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Snoop Dogg had a more profound contribution to the texture of the American pop charts, the study says.
[jump] The study, released on Wednesday, was conducted by the University of London and Imperial College. The researchers analyzed 30-second snippets of roughly 17,000 songs from the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts from 1960 to 2010. Computer programs were used to categorize each song based on musical properties, instrumentation used, chord patterns, and other elements. You can read it in full here.
Lead author Matthias Mauch said some may disagree with this scientific approach to a very personal subject but asserted the study breaks new ground, the Associated Press reports.
“For the first time we can measure musical properties in recordings on a large scale,” Mauch told Gregory Katz of the Associated Press. “We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their make-up, and understanding how they have changed.”
The authors claim the study could become the basis for the scientific study of musical change, and that the same technology could be used to provide analysis of musical trends in other countries.
Turns out Busta Rhymes wasn't lying when he said he was the “leader of the new school.”