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Hip Hop's Affects On Society

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Hip-Hop's Affects on Society

The South Bronx, New York City. This place may not mean much to the average American but for hip-hop lovers it means the beginning of a way of life. Hip-Hop was and still is one of the most influential aspects of today's society on the youth. Hip-hop affects not only the music industry, but media, fashion, marketing and advertising, and almost every other part of modern society. It has reached beyond color boundaries, and stretched past the urban streets where it originated, becoming the global phenomenon it is today.

You can not adequately explain the affects of hip-hop without telling how, when, and with whom it all began. Hip-hop originated in the late 1970's with Kool DJ Herc, Africa Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash (also known as the founding fathers of hip-hop music)(Brian). For them hip-hop is the consistency of their lives. It defines their past and their views on the future. These three artists were the nucleus of hip-hop in the '70s and have become some of the most revered artists in hip-hop (George).

Kool DJ Herc used the sound systems of the Caribbean

as the model for his mammoth speaker setup. Hip-hop's vast array of sounds and influences was conceived by him in city parks and school yards in the Southeast Bronx of New York City, where crowds flocked to hear him play, grooving to the beats he formed.

With Herc as the base, Bambaataa and Flash are the twin pillars that complement and extend the original version. Bambaataa rose up from New York's early '70s gang banging era unscathed but wiser. Bombarded with an intense musical curiosity and an undeniable vison of African-American empowerment, he founded the Zulu Nation, the single most enduring institution of hip-hop. Bambaataa founded the musical inspiration in rock, Third World music and, most importantly, the electronic instrumentation that would support his breakthrough group, the Soul Sonic Force (Bush).

Grandmaster Flash was a teenager fascinated by records and audio circuitry. Besides having a wide musical interest, Flash became intrigued with the possibilities the technology surrounding music suggest for innovation. The concept of scratching-now the backbone of hip-hop DJing-came out of his laboratory(with the help of his friend Grand Wizard Theodore). Flash's introduction of the "beat box" turned DJ's from beat mixers to beat makers. And the building blocks of hip-hop as we know it were laid by the crew that gathered around Flash (Alkeny).

From that day forward hip-hop grew into one of the largest social phenomenons our society has ever experienced. Hip-hop changed society like rock n' roll did in the 1940s and 1950s (Blair). What is it about hip-hop that has captured the interest and dollars of so many people? What meaning does it have for them?

Hip-hop gave the African-American youth a voice. The very first lyrics and rhymes were about their lives and what they were going through. Hip-hop represents the people and their lives. It is not only a "kind" of music but a way of life. It is a music that is about authenticity (Ash).

The youth culture has most often been centered around music. For example, there was the punk rock era or subculture, which originated in England around the same time that hip-hop came into existence. Rude and antisocial behavior was highly encouraged, so that this music would remain more meaningful as an expression of rebellion rather than just an overly commercialized pop music. These subcultures develop their own distinct values and fashions (Lull).

Besides just affecting people, hip-hop has also influenced a plethora of music types. For example Run-DMC released their own interpretation of "Walk This Way", which was originally a hit for the rock group Aerosmith. This rendition sold 3.3 million copies, and fully demonstrated that hip-hop was truly versatile in its style and beats(Oshun). Often times pop singers such as Jessica Simpson, The Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, and various other artist would use hip-hop beats in most of their popular singles. This was especially true in 2000.

Fashion is a major aspect of hip-hop. The first era of fashion icons began with Run-DMC. In the 80's Run-DMC popularized track suits and adidas tennis shoes. Both west cost and east cost rappers made major fashion trends of the 90's popular. Athletic



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