AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Kanye West and Jay-Z perform during VEVO Presents: G.O.O.D. Music at VEVO Power Station on March 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for VEVO)

Mandatory Music: The Best Black Hip-Hop of the Last 40 Years

It’s hard to believe there was a time in music history when hip-hop didn’t exist. But the genre is relatively young, born in the early 1970s in the Bronx, New York City. DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican native, is credited with the creation of the hip-hop sound and for bringing it to the U.S. But it wasn’t until around 1979 that hip-hop hit the mainstream. The genre acted as a bullhorn through which young black artists could protest police brutality, mass incarceration, economic disparities, and racism. Other lyrical fixtures included sex and wealth. Now, over 40 years later, rap is one of the most diverse and popular forms of music. In honor of this infectious musical style, we’ve made a Spotify playlist of the best black hip-hop of the last 40 years. Enjoy your favorite rap jams or discover new tunes.

Cover Photo: Daniel Boczarski / Stringer (Getty Images)

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