In the 50 years since hip hop’s emergence in New York City in the 1970s, the genre has grown to dominate the popular music field worldwide. The 1980s marked the diversification of hip hop, as the genre developed more complex styles and spread around the world. The music produced between the mid-80s and the mid-90s is known as hip hop's "golden age", which is characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation and influence.
The success of Public Enemy's ‘Fear of a Black Planet' in 1990, played a key role in hip hop's mainstream emergence, dubbed by Billboard editor Paul Grein as... "the year that rap exploded". By the late 1990s, in the wake of the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., a new commercial sound had emerged, sometimes referred to as the ‘bling era’, which saw hip hop became a best-selling genre.