Episode 113: How Hip Hop Conquered the World

a graffit art work of a boom box ghettoblaster on a wall.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip hop, which emerged from block parties in the South Bronx to become the dominant form of popular music in the United States and beyond. How did this unlikely underdog story happen? What kind of changes to the music and culture have taken place over five decades? What do you do when Chuck D from Public Enemy keeps giving you the brushoff? To answer these questions and more, there’s no one better qualified than Professor of History Jeffrey Ogbar, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music and author of the award-winning book, “Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap.” In one of the most fun and wide-ranging conversations in the illustrious history of UConn 360, he lends his insights into how this vital expression of the Black experience in the US became the dominant mode of popular music, and why it remains urgent and fresh after 50 years.

After that, Tom and Julie journey back to the late 1970s to learn about how UConn was responding to the energy crisis: with chilly buildings, solar panels, and carpools that made lifelong friendships. 

Listen to the episode here.