A Houston news radio station changed formats last week:
“. . . Rechristened Boom 92, the station declared that it would become the first major market radio station dedicated to classic hip hop. Instead of Drake and Nicki Minaj, it would play “the hip hop you grew up with”—assuming that you grew up with Dr. Dre and Missy Elliott. If that sounds awesome to you, you’re going to love a recent Boom 92 playlist.
In many ways, this is an idea whose time has come, which is another way of saying that hip-hop, and its first-wave fans, are, well, old. Dre will be 50 in February; Ice-T is just 10 years away from his first Social Security check. Licensed to Ill topped the Billboard charts in 1987; three years later, hip-hop made up one-third of the Hot 100. By 1999, it was the country’s best-selling genre, with more than 81 million albums sold. The fans who propelled the early boom probably don’t know Young Thug from Rich Homie Quan, and don’t want to.