Hip Hop Origin
Most people often refer to Rapping, as "Hip Hop." Hip Hop more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture. The term Hip Hop Music is sometimes used synonymously with the term Rap Music, though Rapping is not a required component of Hip Hop Music; the genre may also incorporate other elements of Hip Hop Culture, including DJing and Scratching,Graffiti Writing, Break Dancing, and BeatBoxing.
Hip hop is a broad conglomerate of artistic forms that originated as a specific street subculture within South Bronx communities during the 1970s in New York City. It is characterized by four distinct elements, all of which represent the different manifestations of the culture: rap music (aural), turntablism or "DJing" (aural), breaking (physical) and graffiti art (visual). Despite their contrasting methods of execution, they find unity in their common association to the poverty and violence underlying the historical context that birthed the culture. It was as a means of providing a reactionary outlet from such urban hardship that "Hip Hop" initially functioned, a form of self-expression that could reflect upon, proclaim an alternative to, try and challenge or merely evoke the mood of the circumstances of such an environment. Even while it continues in contemporary history to develop globally in a flourishing myriad of diverse styles, these foundational elements provide stability and coherence to the culture. The term is frequently used mistakenly to refer in a confining fashion to the mere practice of rap music.
The origin of the culture stems from the block parties of The Ghetto Brothers when they would plug the amps for their instruments and speakers into the lampposts on 163rd Street and Prospect Avenue and DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where Kool Herc would mix samples of existing records with his own shouts to the crowd and dancers. Kool Herc is credited as the "father" of Hip hop. DJ Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, to which he coined the terms: MCing, DJing, B-boying and graffiti writing. Since its evolution throughout the South Bronx, hip hop culture has spread to both urban and suburban communities throughout the world. Hip hop music first emerged with Kool Herc and contemporary disc jockeys and imitators creating rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables, more commonly referred to as juggling. This was later accompanied by "rap", a rhythmic style of chanting or poetry often presented in 16-bar measures or time frames, and beatboxing, a vocal technique mainly used to provide percussive elements of music and various technical effects of hip hop DJs. An original form of dancing and particular styles of dress arose among fans of this new music. These elements experienced considerable adaptation and development over the course of the history of the culture.
Hip hop is simultaneously a new and old phenomenon; the importance of sampling to the art form means that much of the culture has revolved around the idea of updating classic recordings, attitudes, and experiences for modern audiences — called "flipping" within the culture. It follows in the footsteps of earlier American musical genres blues, jazz, and rock and roll in having become one of the most practiced genres of music in existence worldwide, and also takes additional inspiration regularly from soul music, funk, and rhythm and blues.
Turntablism is the technique of manipulating sounds and creating music using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer. One of the few first hip hop DJ's was Kool DJ Herc, who created hip hop through the isolation of "breaks" (the parts of albums that focused solely on the beat). In addition to developing Herc's techniques, DJs Grandmaster Flowers, Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Grandmaster Caz made further innovations with the introduction of scratching.
Traditionally, a DJ will use two turntables simultaneously. These are connected to a DJ mixer, an amplifier, speakers, and various other pieces of electronic music equipment. The DJ will then perform various tricks between the two albums currently in rotation using the above listed methods. The result is a unique sound created by the seemingly combined sound of two separate songs into one song. Although there is considerable overlap between the two roles, a DJ is not the same as a producer of a music track.
In the early years of hip hop, the DJs were the stars, but that has been taken by MCs since 1978, thanks largely to Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash's crew, the Furious Five. However, a number of DJs have gained stardom nonetheless in recent years. Famous DJs include Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Mr. Magic, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Scratch from EPMD, DJ Premier from Gang Starr, DJ Scott La Rock from Boogie Down Productions, DJ Pete Rock of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC, Eric B., DJ Screw from theScrewed Up Click and the inventor of the Chopped & Screwed style of mixing music, Funkmaster Flex, Tony Touch, DJ Clue, Mix Master Mike and DJ Q-Bert. The underground movement of turntablism has also emerged to focus on the skills of the DJ.
GrandMaster Flash (Furious Five)
Afrika Bambaataa (Zulu Nation)
Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars), or just rhyming) refers to "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment". It can be broken down into different components, such as “content”, “flow” (rhythm and rhyme), and “delivery”. Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that is it performed in time to the beat of the music. The use of the word "rap" to describe quick and slangy speech or repartee long predates the musical form. MCing is a form of expression that is embedded within ancient African culture and oral tradition as throughout history verbal acrobatics or jousting involving rhymes were common within the Afro-American & Hispanic community.
MC Busy Bee Starski
In America around the late 1960s, graffiti was used as a form of expression by political activists, and also by gangs such as the Savage Skulls, La Familia, and Savage Nomads to mark territory. Towards the end of the 1960s, the signatures—tags—of Philadelphia graffiti writers Top Cat, Cool Earl and Cornbread started to appear. Around 1970–71, the center of graffiti innovation moved to New York City where writers following in the wake of Julio 204, TAKI 183 and Tracy 168 would add their street number to their nickname, "bomb" a train with their work, and let the subway take it—and their fame, if it was impressive, or simply pervasive, enough—"all city". Bubble lettering held sway initially among writers from the Bronx, though the elaborate Brooklynstyle Tracy 168 dubbed "wildstyle" would come to define the art. The early trendsetters were joined in the 1970s by artists like Dondi, Futura 2000, Daze, Blade, Lee, Fab Five Freddy,Zephyr, Rammellzee, Crash, Kel, NOC 167 and Lady Pink.
The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists engaging in other aspects of hip hop culture, Graffiti is understood as a visual expression of rap music, just as breaking is viewed as a physical expression. The 1983 film Wild Style is widely regarded as the first hip hop motion picture, which featured prominent figures within the New York graffiti scene during the said period. The book Subway Art and documentary Style Wars were also among the first ways the mainstream public were introduced to hip hop graffiti. Graffiti remains part of hip hop, while crossing into the mainstream art world with renowned exhibits in galleries throughout the world.
Mack73 O.S.K (R.I.P)
In 1924, Earl Tucker (aka Snake Hips), a performer at the Cotton Club, created a dance style which would later inspire an element of hip hop culture known as b-boying. Breaking, also called B-boying or breakdancing, is a dynamic style of dance which developed as part of the hip hop culture. Breaking is one of the major elements of hip hop culture. Like many aspects of hip hop culture, breakdance borrows heavily from many cultures, including 1930s-era street dancing,Afro-Brazilian and Asian Martial arts, Russian folk dance,and the dance moves of James Brown, Michael Jackson, and California Funk styles. Breaking took form in the South Bronx alongside the other elements of hip hop.
According to the 2002 documentary film The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy, DJ Kool Herc describes the "B" in B-boy as short for breaking which at the time was slang for "going off", also one of the original names for the dance. However, early on the dance was known as the "boing" (the sound a spring makes). Dancers at DJ Kool Herc's parties, who saved their best dance moves for the break section of the song, getting in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. The "B" in B-boy also stands simply for break, as in break-boy (or girl). Breaking was documented in Style Wars, and was later given more focus in fictional films such as Wild Style and Beat Street. Early acts include the Rock Steady Crew and New York City Breakers.
NYC Breakers (Beat Street The Movie)
Rock Steady Crew (RSC)
Beatboxing, popularized by Doug E. Fresh, is the technique of vocal percussion. It is primarily concerned with the art of creating beats or rhythms using the human mouth.The term beatboxing is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. As it is a way of creating hip hop music, it can be categorized under the production element of hip hop, though it does sometimes include a type of rapping intersected with the human-created beat. It is generally considered to be part of the same "Pillar" of hip hop as DJ'ing — in other words, providing a musical backdrop or foundation for MC's to rhyme over.
Beatboxing was quite popular in the 1980s with prominent artists like the Darren "Buffy, the Human Beat Box" Robinson of the Fat Boys and Biz Markie displaying their skills within the media. It declined in popularity along with b-boying in the late 1980s, but has undergone a resurgence since the late 1990s, marked by the release of "Make the Music 2000." by Rahzel of The Roots.
Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew
New School Hip Hop
The new school of hip hop was the second wave of hip hop music, originating in 1983–84 with the early records of Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J. As with the hip hop preceding it (which subsequently became known as (old school hip hop), the new school came predominately from New York City. The new school was initially characterized in form by drum machine-led minimalism, with influences from rock music, a hip hop "metal music for the 80's-a hard-edge ugly/beauty trance as desperate and stimulating as New York itself." It was notable for taunts and boasts about rapping, and socio-political commentary, both delivered in an aggressive, self-assertive style. In image as in song its artists projected a tough, cool, street b-boy attitude. These elements contrasted sharply with the funk and disco influenced outfits, novelty hits, live bands, synthesizers and party rhymes of artists prevalent prior to 1984 (although this characterization does not include all, or most artists prior to 1984). New school artists made shorter songs that could more easily gain radio play, and more cohesive LPs than their old school counterparts. By 1986 their releases began to establish the hip hop album as a fixture of the mainstream. Hip hop music became commercially successful, as exemplified by the Beastie Boys' 1986 album Licensed to Ill, which was the first rap album to hit #1 on the Billboard charts.
Run DMC & The Beastie Boys
Golden Age Hip Hop
Hip hop's "golden age" (or "golden era") is a name given to a period in mainstream hip hop—usually cited as between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s—said to be characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation and influence.There were strong themes of Afrocentrism and political militancy, while the music was experimental and the sampling, eclectic. There was often a strong jazz influence. The artists most often associated with the phrase are Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Big Daddy Kane and The Jungle Brothers.
The golden age is noted for its innovation – a time "when it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre" according to Rolling Stone. Referring to "hip-hop in its golden age", Spin’s editor-in-chief Sia Michel says, "there were so many important, groundbreaking albums coming out right about that time", and MTV’s Sway Calloway adds: "The thing that made that era so great is that nothing was contrived. Everything was still being discovered and everything was still innovative and new". Writer William Jelani Cobb says "what made the era they inaugurated worthy of the term golden was the sheer number of stylistic innovations that came into existence... in these golden years, a critical mass of mic prodigies were literally creating themselves and their art form at the same time".
The specific time period that the golden age covers varies little from different sources. MSNBC states, "the “Golden Age” of hip-hop music: The ’80s".
KRS One / Boogie Down Productions
Eric B. & Rakim
A Tribe Called Quest
West Coast Hip Hop / Gangsta Rap
Gangsta rap is a subgenre of hip hop that reflects the violent lifestyles of inner-city American black youths. Gangsta is a non-rhotic pronunciation of the word gangster. The genre was pioneered in the mid-1980s by rappers such as Schoolly D and Ice-T, and was popularized in the later part of the 1980s by groups like N.W.A. Ice-T released "6 in the Mornin'", which is often regarded as the first gangsta rap song, in 1986. After the national attention that Ice-T and N.W.A created in the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop.
N.W.A is the group most frequently associated with the founding of gangsta rap. Their lyrics were more violent, openly confrontational, and shocking than those of established rap acts, featuring incessant profanity and, controversially, use of the word "nigger". These lyrics were placed over rough, rock guitar-driven beats, contributing to the music's hard-edged feel. The first blockbuster gangsta rap album was N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton, released in 1988. Straight Outta Compton would establish West Coast hip hop as a vital genre, and establish Los Angeles as a legitimate rival to hip hop's long-time capital, New York City. Straight Outta Compton sparked the first major controversy regarding hip hop lyrics when their song "Fuck tha Police" earned a letter from FBI Assistant Director, Milt Ahlerich, strongly expressing law enforcement's resentment of the song. Due to the influence of Ice T and N.W.A, gangsta rap is often credited as being an originally West Coast phenomenon, despite the contributions of East Coast acts like Boogie Down Productions in shaping the genre.
The subject matter inherent in gangsta rap has caused a great deal of controversy. Criticism has come from both left wing and right wing commentators, and religious leaders. Gangsta rappers often defend themselves by saying that they are describing the reality of inner-city life, and that they are only adopting a character, like an actor playing a role, behaving in ways that they may not necessarily endorse.
After N.W.A broke up, Dr. Dre (a former member) released The Chronic in 1992, which peaked at #1 on the R&B/hip hop chart, #3 on the pop chart and spawned a #2 pop single with "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang." The Chronic took West Coast rap in a new direction, influenced strongly by P funk artists, melding smooth and easy funk beats with slowly drawled lyrics. This came to be known as G-funk and dominated mainstream hip hop for several years through a roster of artists on Death Row Records, including Tupac Shakur, whose double disc album All Eyez on Me was a big hit with hit songs "Ambitionz az a Ridah" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted", and Snoop Dogg, whose Doggystyle included the songs "What's My Name?" and "Gin and Juice", both top ten hits. As the Los Angeles-based label Death Row Records built an empire around Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the charismatic, complicated rapper-actor Tupac Shakur. It also entered into a rivalry with New York City’s Bad Boy Records. (See the article on the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry.)
Detached from this scene were other artists such as Freestyle Fellowship, The Pharcyde as well as more underground artists such as the Solesides collective (DJ Shadow and Blackalicious amongst others) Jurassic 5, Ugly Duckling, Dilated Peoples People Under the Stairs, Loot Pack (Madlib), Tha Alkaholiks, and earlier Souls of Mischief represented a return to hip hop roots of sampling and well planned rhyme schemes.
Madlib (Loot Pack, Jaylib, Madvillian & More)
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