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Hip Hop


Hip hop refers to a music genre that consists of rapping and chanted rhythmic speech which is why this music is often referred to as rap music. Hip hop music is always accompanied with a stylized electronic rhythm. Beyond being a music genre, hip hop is also considered as a culture and a lifestyle which originated from the American youths of African and Hispanic origin in the Bronx area in the New York City in the late 1960s. The elements of hip hop music and culture include MCing or rapping, break dance or B-boying, Graffiti writing, DJing or scratching, instrumental tracks, turntablism, sampling or synthesis, and beatboxing.

The Historical background of Hip Hop and its developmental stages

The evolution of hip hop between late 1960s to late 1970s could be traced to the activities of young Black and Hispanic American DJs who at house parties would mix songs and electronic sounds - from several places like Europe - together from different records by touching and moving vinyl records with their hands. In the process of time, these DJs were able to switch between record decks by creating longer dance breaks such as back-spinning, phasing, and cutting from short drum mixes from two turntables to the delights of the lovers of the music genre. Some notable examples of the DJs who pioneered hip hop music and culture include Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Moe Dee, Spoonie Gee, and Grandmaster Caz.

By the 1980s, hip hop began to develop more complex styles and the music genre began spreading beyond the U.S., into many countries. Between early 1980s and through the 1990s, the second wave of the hip hop style of music began to evolve when more innovations were added to hip hop by the likes of the records of Run-D.M.C., and LL. Cool J., with notable artists like the Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan.

The development of hip hop continues through the 2000s during which Crunk – an alternative style of hip hop that focuses more on beats and music more than the lyrics – evolved with the artists such as OutKast and Kanye West at the mainstream of this development.

The Basic Features of the key Elements of Hip Hop

  • MCing refers to the activities of rappers who while acting as MCs utters percussive rhythms or lyrical chanting to the beat of music.

  • Breakdancing is the style of hip hop dancing that features head spins, gymnastic moves and backspins.

  • DJing or scratching refers to the art of picking songs in a sequence that pleases the dancing crowd. It involves spinning records with the hands by using cutting and scratching techniques.

  • Graffiti writing has since developed into acts of colour effects, shading and elaborate scripts from being signatures of a rapper’s nickname or crew.

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