JAY-Z SAYS NIRVANA & GRUNGE BRIEFLY STOPPED THE RISE OF HIP HOP

Published On October 5, 2012 | By Brett Buchanan | Grunge Report, Nirvana

Thanks to Andrei Toth:

Rapper Jay-Z talked about the rise of Nirvana and Grunge in a new interview with SPIN.com:

“First we got to go back to before grunge and why grunge happened,” reasons Jay. “‘Hair bands’ dominated the airwaves and rock became more about looks than about actual substance and what it stood for—the rebellious spirit of youth….That’s why ‘Teen Spirit’ rang so loud because it was right on point with how everyone felt, you know what I’m saying?”

“It was weird because hip-hop was becoming this force, then grunge music stopped it for one second, ya know?” he says. “Those ‘hair bands’ were too easy for us to take out; when Kurt Cobain came with that statement it was like, ‘We got to wait awhile.’”

Jay-Z recently performed with Pearl Jam at the Made in America festival in Philadelphia.

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About The Author

Bio: Brett hosted the BWR podcast from 2004 to 2009, and then opened GrungeReport.net in May 2009. The site changed its name to AlternativeNation.net in June 2013. Brett also owns Concertfy.com. Reach out to Brett at; brett (at) alternativenation.net
  • cosmicatomic

    And today hip hop has so much substance, just like grunge. Look at new artist “2 Chainz”. Aptly named because he wears two golden chains. I haven’t heard his works but I can only assume it is full of substance.

  • Spoonman

    he acts like grunge is a footnote in hip hop, hip hop fucking sucks and im bummed brett even feels this rapper’s opinion is news…let alone a headline…

  • Garden of Sound

    Soundgarden, Nirvana, AIC and PJ were better than ANY rap artist ever. No arguments.

  • Jonk

    Man if you guys don’t know how hip-hop and punk rock are connected I suggest you look it up

  • Creep

    I’m sure there was mainly hair metal bands on tv and the radio than rap. Grunge didn’t stop anything…..well except for maybe hair metal.
    Hip hop names are strange.
    Who the hell is walka flocka flame?? or something like that. Probably the most ridiculous name I’ve ever heard.

  • Spoonman

    jonk, shut the fuck up

  • Mia

    Hopefully a new rock movement can take hip-hop down someday and there can be another movement as meaningful as grunge was.

  • robbyghoul

    ” rock became more about looks than about actual substance”

    i do enjoy late 80s and early 90s rap (when i feel it DID have meaning), but i think that comment should be rethought because thats exactly what rap is now. no substance,just about how much expensive liquor you bought in the club and how big your gold chain is. yep, so so deep.

  • Socialist

    “Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.” – Kurt Cobain

    I swear to god, this site is full of ignorant shitheads with good musical taste.

  • Garden of Sound

    Creep has a good point.

  • JB

    I agree with a lot of the comments; the only reason rap is mainstream is because it is the crap that is put on MTV, etc. Celebrating being an idiot, dressing like an idiot, parading your “hos” and your fake bling….theres not substance or art.

    Imagine Eddie, Chris, or Lanegan wearing 20 gold chains, throwing money in the air, and slapping a white girls ass. Come on. If MTV played real rock music – well, it would be a different story

  • Maverick785

    A lot of you need to gather ’round the fire and put on a Public Enemy album. I’m not really a rap fan, but to say the entire genre is completely devoid substance is beyond ignorant. The real issue is the fact that the genre today is mostly in the same place that rock was in the mid to late 80s.

  • lol

    GRUNGE REPORT. AUDIENCE FOR JAY-Z? GARBAGE, OH MY GOD
    HAAHHAHAAHAHHAAH

    holy shit!

  • lol

    WHO IS JAY-Z? WHAT THIS SON OF A BITCH CONTRIBUTED SOME IMPORTANT FACT TO SOCIETY? THAT GARBAGE

    I >>>>>>>>>>> ABISM >>>>>>>> PIECE OF SHIT >>>>>>> JAY-SHIT-Z

  • Lola

    I really hate the assumption that all Hip-hop is bad just because what’s in the mainstream is awful. Mainstream rock can be pretty bad does that mean all rock acts are crap?

  • Blind Lemon

    i hate seein posts about jayz and grunge….2 different worlds!

  • Garden of Sound

    @JB

    Good point, but I could definately see a young Cornell doing that…

  • Mark

    You guys are out of your MINDS if you took this as an insult to grunge… this is a great compliment to grunge from Jay-Z.

    Look around you right now. What’s more popular? Hip hop, or grunge? I don’t give a damn which you prefer, which is more popular and more powerful today?

    The answer is hip hop. If you answered grunge, you are blind.

    Jay-Z is correctly stating that the only thing that could stop/contain hip hop’s growth was grunge. That does not mean grunge is bad, that means grunge at the time was way more powerful and important than hip hop to the entire world. The only way, according to Jay-Z, that hip hop gained this power, is because grunge faded out.

    This is not an insult to grunge. This is a great compliment to grunge.

    Please note: I am not a fan of hip hop in the slightest, except when it is with rock acts (ie: Rage Against the Machine, ‘Scream’ album, etc).

  • Marley

    I agree with @Mark….

  • Garden of Sound

    Wow. well put Mark.

  • Mike

    Mark put it perfectly.

    Also, if you think rap is all about “bling” and “gold chains” and use “2 Chainz” as an example of substance then you are ignorant. Saying that rap is all based around gold and money would be like saying that all rock and roll is based around drugs and having sex; it’s just not true. Akin to rock, several subgenres exist beneath rap that could appeal to you if you opened your closed minds for one fucking minute. I know that this website isn’t really the audience for rap and that type of music, but if you bash the entire genre as bad without even CONSIDERING the artistic validity of the music, then you’re a fucking idiot and I hate you.

    If you want to hear some rap that isn’t about gold chains, check out the Roots, Kendrick Lamar, Lecrae, or Gang Starr. I like most music that I hear; if you don’t like it, say “IN YOUR OPINION,” DON’T TRASH AN ENTIRE GENRE. FUCK.

  • Raj

    The early 90′s rock movement pretty much stopped everything. It never killed any of the bands, it killed their success. That scene revolutionized music, in the early 00′s boy bands and pop dominated. The whole culture changed too, before it was cool to have long hair and wear flannel. MTV used to play music videos, people bought their music. Now people have short hair and dress up much more, MTV and TV in general is over saturated with reality TV. Musical forms never die, they just go through peaks and valleys.

    A lot of people hate rap and country, I would take rap over country, I find old country like LedBelly to be cool.

  • fsh

    @ Mark: You had me up to your “Scream album” comment.

  • Garden of Sound

    The Roots are indeed amazing but I personally always thought of them as a funk/blues sorta rap. “The Fire” is an amazing song.

  • Tom

    Socialist:

    As I’m sure you’re aware, Cobain hated everything about the audience Nevermind attracted you’ve described in your post. Good musical tastes, but they “know not what it means” Nicely said! Cheers

  • Mike

    Garden of Sound, if you listen to their album undun, they’re clear cut rap. The fire is amazing, i agree. Just the narratives of their albums, wah, Not the time or place for me to gush ;)

  • Mark

    “fsh said:
    @ Mark: You had me up to your “Scream album” comment.”

    Considering that the post had nothing to do with the ‘Scream’ album and that was only a side-note to my fan-ship of any hip hop acts/albums, I guess I failed in making my point to you.

    Glad some other people see it…

  • Deviate

    Gangsta rap had substance and rebellious heart to it. However, modernized “I’m iced out / drinkin Cristal / up in da club / fuckin hoes / sound like a robot because I sing through a vocator” is absolute horse shit, and anyone that listens to it has no taste in music, nor do they even know what the fuck music really is. It’s talentless bullshit. I don’t give a fuck what kind of spin you put on it. It’s terrible. Computer generated music and fake ass vocals. None of them can even sing, so they tweak their voices all to shit and think that it sounds good.

    So “rap” at one time was actually very real. Whether you liked it or not was dependent on your own personal taste. What it became, and has been more commonly referred to as “hip-hop” is all complete, bogus bullshit. Worse than most current pop-rock. Because at least pop-rock shit is still played with actual musical instruments, and sang with a vocalists actual voice. Most of it is just lame, recycled, radio friendly bubble gum pop with no emotion or edge.

  • GenXLady

    Well put, Mark.

    I also think it is important to remember that there are always bands lacking substance that sprout up around whatever sound is selling in any genre. There are both relevant and poser bands/artists in every genre. You can’t junk a whole genre based on those who jump on the coattails of what is selling.

  • umyeah

    I disagree with this spliced interview for two reasons.

    First, the substance bit doesn’t make sense to me. Hair bands lacked substance bc they didn’t rep youthful rebellion/independence. Hip hop and grunge did so they made hair metal extinct. Got it. And grunge was so rebellious that hip hop stopped creating substance for a hot min. So then why didn’t grunge make hip hop extinct? I don’t believe the surge in grunge’s popularity forced hip hop to stop creating. That’s a weak ass cop out being spit by a dude who wasn’t even in the game at the time.

    This question leads into my second disagreement.

    Hip hop and grunge are two different genres of music and their anatomy is completely different. To compare their longevity and power VIA cultural influence is like comparing the Blue Whale to a Whale Shark. Two totally diff animals.

    Hip hop didn’t kill hair metal – grunge did. And the reason hip hop has survived is bc it’s comprised of international artists. Grunge didn’t survive bc, like the USSR, it was too autonomous. Grunge is from a distinct set of years, comprised by a handful of bands, and self-quarantined to regions of America. Apparently, those regions didn’t produce any new bands or perhaps bands from those areas refused to accept anyone new from other places forcing grunge to die with them.

  • umyeah

    P.S. Mr. Z’s logic is also faulty bc grunge didn’t die or lose power/influence for lacking substance. They’re still hella rebellious. The genre died bc the bands self-imploded.

  • Elle

    Why is this TRASH on here Jay-Z is boring :(

  • Mark

    Grunge being compared to the USSR.

    We’re in for a wild ride, folks.

  • umyeah

    Yeah, that is pretty funny.

  • cosmicatomic

    Mark is right, I just couldn’t resist a pot shot at hip hop – through “2 CHAINZ”.

    I shake my head and friend every time I see one of these new “artists” on iTunes, like “2 CHAINZ”.

  • magicalDICK

    cypress hill + jay z = PJ’s biggest turdfest

  • Scott McLean

    Is there any hip-hop Grunge?

  • Jonk

    lol Scott Mclean.

    My favorite hip hop artist combines punk rock and hip-hop. Look up P.O.S especially his track “Drumroll”. There’s a vid on youtube of him doing a Pearl Jam track

    Good comments socialist and Mark. interesting discussion

  • Jonk

    P.O.S covering Pearl Jam’s “Why Go”

    http://youtu.be/RQIEuugmarY

  • Bigdaddypeepee

    Jay z
    Simply another piece of shit who sells a product his music, Budweiser beer … As all wanna be artists should be banned from the artistic community once and for all like any boy band selling Pepsi cola products and rock against drugs… Hip hop is fine check out knaan not akon but knaan instead of listening to this funny money hungry nobody

  • GRUNGE AND RAP HATER

    Soundgarden, Nirvana, AIC and PJ were better than ANY rap artist ever. No arguments DUDE DUDE DUDE YOUR GEN SUCKS

  • GRUNGE AND RAP HATER

    1990 was ther death of music grunge meatal rap especially hate melodicalla meticalla