It’s ‘Lit’


Drake’s album, “Views”, on Spotify.

Deanna Cuadra, Editor-In-Chief

If people were to witness a bunch of teenagers shouting “it’s lit!” as they dab to Drake on their way to school, most wouldn’t blink an eye. It is just another trend making its way through the masses. Or, to be more specific, it’s another hip-hop trend making its mark on American culture.

Whether it be on the streets of Los Angeles or the paved sidewalks of Folsom, people can’t escape the influence of hip-hop. What African Americans once started as a way to rebel against their own circumstances and the society that put them there is now a tune that everyone from every walk of life can get down to.

This means that no matter the race, socioeconomic class or address, people are consuming hip-hop through music, television and social media.

According to Spotify, which analyzed over 20-billion tracks, hip-hop is the most listened to genre in the world. Furthermore, this year’s VMAs was dominated by hip-hop artists such as Beyoncé, Drake and Kanye West in terms of nominations and screen time.

Shows like “Empire” and “The Get Down”, which explore hip-hop music and culture, are taking home some laurels as well. “Empire” averaged 12.2 million viewers overall, making it the top-rated, regular-timeslot series on the Big Four networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox) in 2016, and  Netflix invested $120 million in “The Get Down”, beating out the $90 million invested in “Marco Polo”.

“Straight Outta Compton”, a film depicting the career of the hip-hop group NWA and their rise to fame, made five times its $28 million budget, placing it as the most successful music biography movie in history. The film is also the source of the “straight outta” memes that graced the internet just last year and even inspired Vista del Lago’s seniors — hence the phrase “Straight Outa Here” on the senior class shirts.

On that note, it’s only fair to recognize that hip-hop hasn’t been isolated to the urban world of entertainment. Even Vista, smack dab in Folsom suburbia, likes the beat hip-hop has been laying down.

Rasa Forati, a Vista senior and hip-hop dancer, has loved the genre for as long as she can remember.

“I can’t really pinpoint a specific reason…but whenever I hear a beat I can groove to and then lyrics on top of it, it just makes me feel good,” Forati said.

Serafin Garcia, a Vista senior and avid Frank Ocean fan, feels that hip-hop provides something that other types of music simply can’t.

“It has such a distinct difference than that of other music, and I enjoy that refreshing sound,” said Garcia.

While the main thing associated with hip-hop is the music itself, that isn’t all there is to it. Dance move epidemics such the twerk, dab, whip and nae nae are products of hip-hop that was popularized on social media.

Likewise, American vernacular wouldn’t be complete without “lit”, “snatched”, “fam”, “turnt” and “on fleek”, nor would Twitter be the same without “#getshook” or “#itslit”. All these terms have their roots in hip-hop, so when one of these phrases are used (even sarcastically), it’s the hip-hop movement at work.

Of course, there is something much deeper to hip-hop than the mere hype surrounding its presence in media and in our vocabulary. Andrew Eugenio Sonico, otherwise as Sonico and the president of Vista’s Musician’s Social Club, acknowledges this.

“Hip-hop is a statement against the old order…And by far, it is more explosive than other genres in that it addresses the issues today like income inequality and the poor man’s plight,” said Sonico.

For such explosiveness, its roots sure have traveled a long way. Hip-hop is often credited with being formed in the 1970s when block parties featuring DJs were especially popular among the economically depressed African-American youth living in the Bronx. As a challenge to the status quo, hip-hop was torn away from disco scene and became an outlet for the disenfranchised.

“There’s such a rich and deep cultural background to hip-hop and I think many people don’t necessarily see it’s more than just the mainstream dances that go viral on Twitter,” Forati said. “Hip-hop allows an unlimited amount of freedom and expression.”

That brand of freedom and expression cannot be easily dismissed. As a medium for marginalized groups, hip-hop gives a voice to those with no means of being heard. Whether it be Tupac Shakur rapping about racism, poverty and police brutality in the 90s or Kendrick Lamar rapping about the same thing today, hip-hop offers a look at how other half’s other half lives.

“It has influenced how I see the world as it brings up ideas of social conflict and problems from different cultures I didn’t understand, so it has helped me to see the world more holistically,” said Garcia.

There’s no denying that hip-hop offers glimpses of another culture and another struggle, and many people are attracted to that.

“I mean, we live in suburbia and you still have all these people vibing to the art…We want to be awakened and this music gives us that opportunity,” said Sonico.

Whatever the reason may be for hip-hop’s allure in today’s world, it’s influencing what we listen to, what we watch and what trends we follow. For that, hip-hop is indeed “lit”.