Boldness, aspiration, vision: How hip-hop changed communications

PR pros aren’t often associated with rap music, but maybe they should be. To convey your message, one communicator suggests channeling your inner artist.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

When Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest died recently, Twitter users’ timelines lit up worldwide.

Some posted commemorations, music and tributes that reflected on the impact of his life. #RIPPhife shot up the list of trending topics faster than the Midnight Marauders album ascended the charts in autumn 1993.

Phife left his mark on many PR pros’ careers, including mine. People who grew up listening to hip-hop in the 1990s—as I did as a teenager in Texas—found a message about the inequity of life and the struggle to overcome repression in the philosophical rhymes and staccato delivery of many songs.

What originated on the streets of Queens, New York, was not confined to a neighborhood. A Tribe Called Quest took the best parts of communication and applied it to their music.

The message

It wasn’t just Tribe. Hip-hop in the ’90s defined a new way of communicating.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.