Rap music has changed a ton over the past 25 years, and Polygraph’s Matt Daniels has created the interactive graph to prove it. Teaming up with the folks at Billboard, Daniels created a chart the both tracks and plays the Top 10 tracks on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart from 1989 to 2015. (It defaults to starting in 1995, a great year for rap, but you can drag it back to ’89 if you want.)
Here are a few things listeners will learn:
- In spite of what uncles and older brothers may have told people, the golden age of hip-hop actually had its fair share of crap in the charts. (Looking at you, Candyman.)
- The number one rap song in the country changed almost daily in the early ’90s.
- Da Brat’s “Funkdafied” was absolutely dominant in the summer of 1994.
- Speaking of dominant, Craig Mack, who bumped Da Brat out of the top spot, held the number one rap song in the country for most of the back half of 1994, and then fans never really heard from him again. (That said, the money he made for Puffy would set him up for years.)
- Bad Boy Records was an unstoppable juggernaut in the mid-to-late ’90s.
- The “No Scrubs” response song “No Pigeons” was a really big hit.
- Bow Wow had way more hits than you remember, especially around the turn of the millennium.
Take a minute, listen, and watch the genre change and evolve over at Polygraph.