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The History Of Hip Hop

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Introduction

Hip hop music is a style of popular music. It is usually composed of two elements: rapping (also known as emceeing) and DJing. When combined with break dancing and graffiti art, these are the four components of hip hop, a cultural movement which began in New York City in the 1970s, predominantly by African Americans and Latinos.[1] The term rap music is sometimes used synonymously with hip hop music, though it is also used to refer specifically to the practice of rapping.

Origins of hip hop

The roots of hip hop are found in West African and African-American music. The griots of West Africa are a group of traveling singers and poets, whose musical style is reminiscent of hip hop. Within New York City, griot-like performances of poetry and music by artists such as The Last Poets and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin had a great impact on the post-civil rights era culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Hip hop arose during the 1970s when block parties became common in New York City, especially the Bronx. Block parties were usually accompanied by music, especially funk and soul music. The early DJs at block parties began isolating the percussion breaks to hit songs, realizing that these were the most dance-able and entertaining parts; this technique was then common in Jamaica and had spread via the substantial Jamaican immigrant community in New York City, especially the "godfather" of hip hop, DJ Kool Herc. Dub had arisen in Jamaica due to the influence of American sailors and radio stations playing R&B. Large sound systems were set up to accommodate poor Jamaicans, who couldn't afford to buy records, and dub developed at the sound system.

Herc was one of the most popular DJs in early 70s New York, and he quickly switched from using reggae records to funk, rock and, later, disco, since the New York audience did not particularly like reggae. Because the percussive breaks were generally short, Herc and other DJs began extending them using an audio mixer and two records. Mixing and scratching techniques eventually developed along with the breaks. (The same techniques contributed to the popularization of remixes.) Later DJs such as Grandmaster Flash refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting.[citation needed] As in dub, performers began speaking while the music played; these were originally called MCs; Herc focused primarily on DJing, and began working with two MCs, Coke La Rock and Clark KentвЂ"this was the first emcee crew, Kool Herc & the Herculoids. Originally, these early rappers focused on introducing themselves and others in the audience (the origin of the still common practice of "shouting out" on hip hop records). These early performers often emceed for hours at a time, with some improvisation and a simple four-count beat, along with a basic chorus to allow the performer to gather his thoughts (such as "one, two, three, y'all, to the beat, y'all"). Later, the MCs grew more varied in their vocal and rhythmic approach, incorporating brief rhymes, often with a sexual or scatological theme, in an effort at differentiating themselves and entertaining the audience. These early raps incorporated similar rhyming lyrics from African American culture (see roots of hip hop music), such as the dozens. While Kool Herc & the Herculoids were the first hip hoppers to gain major fame in New York, more emcee teams quickly sprouted up. Frequently, these were collaborations between former gang members, such as Afrikaa Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation (now a large, international organization). Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an "MC." During the early 1970s, break dancing arose during block parties, as b-boys and b-girls got in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. The style was documented for release to a world wide audience for the first time in Beat Street.

Origin of The Term "Hip Hop"

Coinage of the term hip hop is often credited to Keith Cowboy, a rapper with Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Though Lovebug Starski, Keith Cowboy, and DJ Hollywood used the term when the music was still known as disco rap, it is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" cadence into a part of his stage performance, which was quickly copied by other artists; for example the opening of the song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang. Former Black Spades gang member Afrika Bambaataa is credited with first using the term to describe the subculture that hip hop music belongs to, although it is also suggested that the term was originally derisively used against the new type of music.

Diversification of styles in the later part of the decade

In the mid-1970s, hip hop split into two factions. One sampled disco and focused on getting the crowd dancing and excited, with simple or no rhymes; these DJs included Pete DJ Jones, Eddie Cheeba, DJ Hollywood and Love Bug Starski. On the other hand, another group were focusing on rapid-fire rhymes and a more complex rhythmic scheme. These included Afrika Bambaataa, Paul Winley, Grandmaster Flash and Bobby Robinson.

As the 70s became the 1980s, many felt that hip hop was a novelty fad that would soon die out. This was to become a constant accusation for at least the next fifteen years. Some of the earliest rappers were novelty acts, using the themes to Gilligan's Island and using sweet doo wop-influenced harmonies.

With the advent of recorded hip hop in the late 1970s, all the major elements and techniques of the genre were in place. Though not yet mainstream, it was well-known among African Americans, even outside of New York City; hip hop could be found in cities as diverse as Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Houston.

Philadelphia was, for many years, the only city whose contributions to hip hop were valued as greatly as New York City's by hip hop purists and critics. Hip hop was popular there at least as far back as 1976 (first record: "Rhythm Talk", by Jocko Henderson in 1979), and the New York Times dubbed Philly the "Graffiti Capital of the World" in 1971, due to the influence of such legendary graffiti artists as Cornbread. The first female solo artist to record hip hop was Lady B. ("To the Beat Y'All",

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