Billboard Explains: How R&B/Hip-Hop Became the Biggest Genre in the U.S.

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Since 2017, R&B/hip-hop has been the dominant music genre on the United States Billboard charts, becoming bigger than pop and rock and coming to define modern popular music. And its reign hasn’t let up since, with new smashes and superstars created every year.

So how did it happen? How did R&B/hip-hop pull into first place on the charts?

The latest episode of Billboard Explains breaks down exactly how R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the U.S., by looking at its early influence, innovative evolutions and explosion in the streaming era. You’ll hear commentary from Billboard hip-hop editor Carl Lamarre on why exactly the genre is leading pop culture.

After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains clips and learn about how festivals book their lineupsBillie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battlesnonbinary awareness in musicthe Billboard Music Awardsthe Free Britney movement, rise of K-pop in the U.S., why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albums, the boom of hit all-female collaborations, how Grammy nominees and winners are chosenwhy songwriters are selling their publishing catalogs, how the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and why Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” was able to shoot to No. 1 on the Hot 100.

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