Did Neoliberalism Create (And Destroy)The Greatest Artform In The History of Humankind?

Adebayo Adeniran
5 min readFeb 25, 2024

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Zachary DeBottis via Pexels

The 1970s were such an extraordinary time.

The United States of America was coming to terms with its ignominious failure in Vietnam and in Richard Milhous Nixon, it had a President who was as corrupt and morally bankrupt as they came.

And it was also the 37th American president, who took the very first and important steps in unleashing the greenback across the globe by breaking with the Bretton Woods agreement and liberating the power and influence of the American currency.

Even though many didn’t realize it at the time, those steps by Nixon, were the building blocks of what we would come to know as neoliberalism.

Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, the protagonists of this extraordinarily revolutionary idea, recognized that at the heart of the efficacy of neoliberalism would be freedom: freedom from high taxes; freedom from legislation and freedom from the all conquering power of the state.

And liberating the power of capital from every constraint imaginable, would change our lives forever.

Just as this was happening, you had a disc jockey from New York, who was experimenting with his turntables to create a new sound which no-one had ever heard before.

Accompanying this new sound was an MC, putting words together to rhyme to the beat.

This was unlike anything which had existed before: In the 1920s, you had Jazz from the likes of Lionel Hampton, Bud Bolden who had developed a genre which had gone beyond the confines of New Orleans.

And this was certainly unlike the sound of Motown, which had given the entire world, the soundtrack to the social and political upheaval of the 1960s.

While much of the sound which emerged from Berry Gordy’s establishment were carefully crafted love songs, it couldn’t pretend that America was tearing itself apart with its inability to achieve racial equality and this was powerfully expressed in Marvin Gaye’s 1973 album.

But HipHop was a completely different proposition and it was perfectly in sync with the changes which were taking place in the world.

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible