Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Quick Recap of Rap and Hip-Hop History

Definition of Hip-Hop:

A relatively new form of popular music, hip-hop is comprised mainly of four elements: deejaying and emceeing, breakdancing and graffiti. With the growing interest in hip-hop, big business started taking over, and the four elements (emceeing, deejaying, graffiti, and breakdancing) are constantly being merged with other trends, such as clothing, slang, and general popular mindset.

Hip-hop vs. Rap:

Stemming from hip-hop culture, rap, as a form of music, started in the early 1990s. Just like rock 'n roll, hip-hop is a lifestyle with its own dress code, lingo, and moral perspective. To quote KRS-One, "Hip-Hop is something you live, rap is something you do."

The Bronx is where it all started:

Rap is deeply rooted within ancient African culture and oral traditions, which is a product of cross cultured integration. A Jamaican deejay named Kool Herc is supposedly the individual responsible for originating hip-hop. Herc's style of deejaying involved reciting various rhymes over instrumental tracks. He would perform at house parties using a microphone, and a myriad of in-house references. Soon, there were duplicates of Herc's house parties drifting all throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. The message of hip-hop was soon spread around town and spawned tons of followers by way of Herc and other party DJs.

Humble Beginnings:

Some of the earliest rap songs ever recorded include, "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by Fatback Band and "Rappers Delight" by the Sugarhill Game. Rappers Delight reached the #36 spot on the Billboard charts, a very large feat in hip-hop by late 1970s standards. This successful turn of events demonstrated just how much hip-hop's ability to draw commercial appeal could grow.

Hip-hop Helps Create the Melting Pot:

Hip-hop is still evolving as a musical melting pot. Borrowing from jazz and soul and adding instrumentation with the likes of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and the newest producer to hold hip-hop's baton, Kanye West, who is championing the genre of 'soulful rap'.

This is just a brief description of the history of rap and hip-hop. Remember, always, that hip-hop is a way of life, and rap is something people do. Rap, and hip-hop, are still growing from their infancy. It has not gone through the changes that jazz, rock 'n roll, R&B, and even country music have. We still have yet to see how fast, and expansive, this new generation of hip-hop will become.

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