By: Michael Bell
Growing up in the City of Detroit during the early sixties was a memorable era for music. It was a period of time whereby the unique sounding records of Motown were being played and heard throughout the streets, nightclubs, house parties and radio stations everywhere. It was common to have the soulful R and B records playing on the jukeboxes while folks were dancing in the streets or singing in the barber shops and beauty parlors to the love songs that eventually captivated the hearts of millions of people throughout the world. Music cds and rap music were not heard of during that period, it was all about the vinyl records and rhythm and blues soul.
The songs that were written by Motown songwriters during the 60’s & 70’s had so much meaning. They were songs that spoke about true love, current events and the heartache and pains of life experiences. Oh yes, Motown had it going on! Their music became universal music. Many of the soulful tunes crossed over into other markets such as pop, jazz, blues, etc… But just like George Benson said in one of his recordings “Everything Must Change”, and sure enough, he was right about the music.
After giving so many years service and great music to the City of Detroit, Motown moved out and Rap/Hip Hop moved in. Instead of hearing someone singing My Baby Loves Me or My Girl, you began to hear new sounding lyrics of street experience expressed in rhythms with the mouth, chest, hands and feet as such had never been heard before.
This new sound called Rap evolved in the early 80’s and took off as a sky rocket in the late 90’s and New Millennium as Hip Hop/Rap. Even today Rap/Hip Hop music is still a multi billion dollar genre. Millions of cds, videos and dvd’s are sold each year in the Hip Hop genre of music. And there is no sign that Hip Hop will be slowing down or taking a back seat to anyone anytime soon.
So what happened to the Motown sound…. did it die out? No! The Motown sound will never die out. It will always play a significant part in the hearts of millions who embraced it’s sound back in the early 60’s, and continued to pass that sound on to their children throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Sometimes you just have to move over and let the new kids on the block have a turn in expressing their musical talents, songs and ideas. That’s what Motown did…moved over-not out. And now the Hip Hop artists are not the new kids on the block anymore, for they have taken their position to express themselves musically, just like the rhythm and blues artists took their position to express themselves in the Motown era.
That’s how we’ve gone from Motown to Hip Hop!