As hip-hop celebrates 50 years, Sonoma County musicians say the genre is making a comeback locally

28 April 2023

Hip-hop began in an apartment rec room in the Bronx in the summer of 1973, when teenager Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, threw a back-to-school party and introduced a new way of making music.

Fifty years later, the beats have been heard in cities all over the world, including in Sonoma County.

It might surprise some that, once upon a time, hip-hop was big in Sonoma County, where the music scene now is dominated by rock, folk and country. In the 1990s and early 2000s, radio stations played hip-hop songs by local artists. One of the most successful rappers ever, Tupac Shakur, even spent time in Sonoma County.

Some local musicians now see the genre making a comeback here, with the added benefit of highlighting more artists of color in Sonoma County.

“The hip-hop scene here is only going to get bigger and better,” said KingLung, 36, a local hip-hop event coordinator. “It’s time that we give Sonoma County a hip-hop artist that we’re proud of and not continue to live in the shadow of the Bay Area.”

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