In 2017, data from the Nielsen Music Report revealed that for the very first time, R&B/Hip-Hop was the most popular genre in the United States. The genre's popularity has continued to skyrocket, with Billboard reporting at the end of 2021 that R&B/Hip-Hop accounted for 27.7 percent of music consumption in America, followed by Rock at 20 percent. However, despite being the most prevalent genre in the United States, hip-hop music is still fundamentally misunderstood by White American society. One example of this lack of understanding is Billboard's categories themselves: the company groups Hip-Hop and R&B together, two genres which, while they overlap in some regards, have their own unique histories and elements that distinguish them as separate categories of music. This grouping likely stems from the most striking similarity between these two genres: the fact that they were created, popularized, and are still mostly dominated by Black artists. By failing to learn the histories and intricacies of these two genres and instead grouping them into one category that represents "Black music," Billboard exemplifies White American society's refusal to give the same respect to historically Black genres as they do to historically White ones.
Yeldham, John, "Art as Ammunition: The Weaponization of Rap Lyrics in Court" (2022). Dean James E. McLeod Freshman Writing Prize. 15.