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Was 1991 The Most Important Year In Pop Music's History?

N.W.A. members Dr. Dre, left, and Ice Cube, center, two of the subjects of the upcoming biographical drama "Straight Outta Compton," discuss the film with director F. Gary Gray during the Universal Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 in April. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
N.W.A. members Dr. Dre, left, and Ice Cube, center, two of the subjects of the upcoming biographical drama "Straight Outta Compton," discuss the film with director F. Gary Gray during the Universal Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2015 in April. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

In June of 1991, a rap album by N.W.A. hit the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time in history. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic writes that music historians have long determined this to be a hugely important moment for pop music.

Now researchers from the U.K at the Royal Society Open Science who studied chord structure find that 1991 was the biggest change in the history of modern pop music.

Thompson joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about what’s been happening over the last few decades in the pop music industry.

Guest

  • Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic. He tweets @DKThomp.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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