Though hip-hop has its roots in the proverbial streets, college students were also among its earliest adopters. In the early days, college tastes were amorphous—a mixture of select pop hits and more adventurous alternatives. Def Jam Records ruled, naturally, as the label itself was born in an NYU dorm. Certain themes found obvious success, too, with acts like the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill appealing to the time-honored college traditions of partying and getting high, respectively.
Still, these were well-known names throughout hip-hop. It wasn't until the mid-'90s that a specific, college-focused scene began to take form. Major label refugees like Hieroglyphics and Dr. Octagon ruled the indie circuit with a proud, anti-mainstream eccentricity, while Black Star and The Roots added a bohemian and socially conscious edge to that same angle.
Today, the exact opposite sentiment rules dorm rooms, with the Beasties' ironic party animal poses seeming downright prophetic. College rap reflects the university lifestyle, as carefree acts like Mac Miller, Chiddy Bang and Kid Cudi keep parties and wild social interactions central to their output. Explore beer and beats with Play All Night: College Rap 101. – Andrew Nosnitsky, Google Play