Raheem Veal is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in Urban Studies. He has accepted an offer to work at Viacom in their Marketing and Partner Solutions program in New York City. Raheem’s interests include freelance writing, culture, music, sports, and social impact.
Last weekend, my grandmother and I strapped in and loaded up the car to prepare for a six-hour trek down to her hometown: Tappahannock, VA. As we backed out of our New Jersey driveway, we were accompanied by her energetic Yorkie as well as a playlist I’d filled with many of her favorite soulful classics—the ingredients for nostalgia and positivity.
However, as we grew nearer to the South, it became evident that this trip would be a mixed bag for her. We were heading to her “home” for a joyful family gathering, but also approaching an environment that had been the source of many of her nightmares. After all, my grandmother had been a teenager during the 1960s, and the terror of Jim Crow wasn’t that long ago. I’m sure my well-intentioned soundtrack from that era wasn’t helpful either.
Hip hop music has the same duality. Many of our club anthems uplift us when we desire to think less and “feel good” more. I mean, recent classics like Future’s “March Madness” and Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” are guaranteed to get you in your bag years later. But, hip hop music is also about reconciling emotions like sadness and anger. While hip hop is recognized as the product of R&B and soul music, the dynamic genre is also the heir apparent to Blues.