Back in the day, even by their own dopest standards, none of the early rappers could predict that a hip and a hop would actually not stop on its way to becoming a billion-dollar global industry.

It all started on Aug. 11, 1973, when DJ Kool Herc mixed some beats during a back-to-school party in the South Bronx. Since then, hip-hop has left a significant footprint on modern culture. It also revealed the pain and struggle of growing up and living on the margins of mainstream society, not only in America but across the world.

To celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, The Conversation asked several scholars to explore a range of topics that evolved from the beats and the rhymes, everything from misogyny and homophobia to violence and drugs. Here are selections from those articles.

Howard Manly

Race + Equity Editor

Hip-hop culture spread quickly – to places like London, seen here in 1984. Kerstin Rodgers/Redferns

Hip-hop at 50: 7 essential listens to celebrate rap’s widespread influence

Nick Lehr, The Conversation; Jamaal Abdul-Alim, The Conversation; Matt Williams, The Conversation; Molly Jackson, The Conversation; Howard Manly, The Conversation

On Aug. 11, 1973, a block party in the Bronx spawned a genre that would go on to influence nearly all aspects of US culture – and the music, fashion and art of countries around the world.

Hip-hop culture brought graffiti art, breakdancing, emceeing and DJing to prominence. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

As the global musical phenomenon turns 50, a hip-hop professor explains what the word ‘dope’ means to him

A.D. Carson, University of Virginia

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, a scholar of the culture and its musical genres explores the meaning of the word ‘dope.’

Hip hop artists, from top left, clockwise, DMX, Lexii Alijai, Prince Markie Dee and Trugoy the Dove have all passed away within the past decade. Getty Images

Hip-hop and health – why so many rap artists die young

A.D. Carson, University of Virginia

As hip-hop turns 50, an unfortunate reality is that so many of its pioneering artists never live to see much more than 50 years themselves, a professor of hip-hop writes.

After ‘Rapper’s Delight,’ hip-hop went global – its impact has been massive; so too efforts to keep it real

Eric Charry, Wesleyan University

Hip-hop traveled far after being birthed by Black Americans in US cities. The journey hasn’t always been smooth.

How hip-hop has enhanced American education over the past 50 years, from rec rooms to classrooms

Toby Jenkins, University of South Carolina

Once considered a novelty in school, hip-hop has spawned an array of educational programs and initiatives that are reshaping the way educators teach and how students learn.

Tupac’s ‘Dear Mama’ endures as rap artists detail complex relationships with their mothers, street life and the pursuit of success

A.D. Carson, University of Virginia

From Tupac to Jay-Z, many a rap artist has set pen to paper to pay homage to the women who gave them birth.

‘Knowledge of self’: How a key phrase from Islam became a pillar of hip-hop

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer, University of Michigan

A scholar explains how a concept that appeared in Nation of Islam literature nearly a century ago essentially defines hip-hop’s consciousness today.