Kurt Cobain’s Spot-On Prediction About Mainstream Music

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Throughout music history, one can observe that some music genres emerged from a counter-culture or the underground music scene but later became mainstream. The mainstream genres vary based on countries and regions, but the determining three factors are the production, listening rate, and context-specific reception of music, which separate mainstream from underground.

Due to the multitude of these parameters, including cultural particularities, preferences of leading record labels, and the changing demands of audiences, it can be difficult to predict what might become mainstream when a genre enters the scene. However, the rock legend Kurt Cobain was able to foresee the fate of hip-hop in its early times. 

What Relevant Thing Did Kurt Cobain Say About Mainstream Music?

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Since the early 2000s, many hip-hop albums have hit the shelves, and rap music has become one of the mainstream genres. One of the rare interviews of Kurt Cobain depicts his insight into the music industry, as he predicted the future dominance of rap music during the prominence of grunge music.

DJs started experimenting with percussion breaks during the New York block parties of the ’70s, introducing rap (rhythm and poetry) into the music scene. Two fundamental elements of the genre, raps and rhyme, were relatively simple until the mid-’80s. Throughout the decade, often called hip-hop’s ‘Golden Era,’ the sound and lyrics became more sophisticated.

However, rap’s arrival in the mainstream coincides with the early 2000s. Rap albums from the early 2000s remain relevant and popular today, and it is possible to see the influence of rappers such as Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. In fact, it can be observed that there is a nostalgic comeback of rap today, similar to other genres.

In lost audio of an interview, Kurt Cobain discussed rap music and stated that it is ‘the only vital form of music’ that was introduced since the emergence of punk rock. Cobain said he would never make rap because he believed it made no sense but admitted that those who did were successful. In this way, the rocker seems to have predicted the fate of rap and hip-hop as it entered the mainstream shortly afterward.

“I think rap music is the only vital form of music that has been introduced to music in a long time since punk rock. I would never do rap music. No. There’s just no sense in it. The people who do rap music do it just fine… I’m usually offended by people like Vanilla Ice and stuff like that.”

Hip-hop officially surpassed rock in popularity and became the most famous genre in the United States in 2017. Kurt Cobain’s prediction is more relevant than ever, especially in the last 5 years. Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Future, and Drake are some of the most popular names in the genre.