Hip hops is a genre of music that includes a variety of different components. It is the style of music used for break dancing and it features a great deal of emceeing and DJing. There is a great deal of overlap with hip hop music and rap, which grew out from hip hop culture. For many, hip hop is more than just a genre of music it is a way of life. Most people agree hip hop originated in the Bronx region of New York City in the mid-1970s. The first DJ to begin developing hip hop music was Kool Herc. He would speak over instrumental pieces of music at parties, using rap to entertain people. The trend caught on with other deejays and hip hop gained a following.
Two other important figures in the development of hip hop include Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. Both of these men were DJs like Herc. They were also based in New York City and were influenced by the urban deterioration they saw everyday. In some cases, traditional music classes were eliminated from schools in these areas, so the exposure to music that kids had was mainly from the streets. Many of traditional music techniques were lost, but new ones were developed through the hip hop movement.
Hip Hop Structure
Hip hop and rap both utilize technology to create sound. Early artists also used the albums already owned by their families to recreate new songs.
This method is known as “sampling,” and is still a popular practice in hip hop music. In most early hip hop performances there were two turn tables used to blend and overlap traditional records, while the DJ spoke or rapped over top of the sounds. Hip hop was a grass roots art movement that grew directly from inner city culture. This subculture also includes graffiti art. Together, break dancing, DJing, rapping, and dancing comprise the “Four Pillars of Hip Hop.”
The first rap recording was by the Sugarhill Gang and was called Rapper’s Delight. It is important to note that this was by no means the first rap or hip hop song, but simply the first one recorded. What this accomplished was bringing the urban music style to the masses. The music that was originally found live in urban neighborhoods could now be played on the radio and reach suburban and rural areas. Thus began hip hops cross-cultural appeal.
Hip Hop Controversy
Hip hop has always pushed society’s buttons and is considered anti-establishment. Censorship has been a long-standing issue in the hip hop community. Hip hop albums frequently feature parental warning labels and many videos have words or images censored, at least during certain hours of airtime. In addition to basic obscenity, hip hop often focuses on controversial political and societal issues.
Today, the hip hop community is a bit of a melting pot. There are radio friendly artists that appeal to people from several generations, as well as the more hard-hitting artists that express themselves through swearing or images of violence. Some of the most popular figures in hip hop over the years include De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West, Sean Combs, Doug E. Fresh, Snoop Dogg, and Busta Rhymes.