Hip Hop

Hip Hop is a subculture that originated from the fusion of African American and Latino American communities during the 1970s, in New York City, specifically within the Bronx. While the term is often used to refer to hip hop music, in its broader sense hip hop culture is characterized by the four elements of rapping, DJing, breaking and graffiti.

The origin of the subculture stems from the block parties of DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where Herc would mix samples of existing records with his own shouts to the crowd and dancers. Kool Herc is credited as the 'father' of the art form. DJ Afrika Bambaataa of the hip-hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the four pillars of hip hop culture: MCing, DJing, B-boying and graffiti writing. Since its emergence in the South Bronx, hip hop culture has spread to both urban and suburban communities throughout the world. Hip hop music first emerged with Kool Herc and contemporary disc jockeys and imitators creating rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables, more commonly referred to as sampling. This was later accompanied by "rap", a rhythmic style of chanting or poetry presented in 16 bar measures or time frames, and beatboxing, a vocal technique mainly used to imitate percussive elements of the music and various technical effects of hip hop DJs. An original form of dancing and particular styles of dress arose among fans of this new music. These elements experienced considerable refinement and development over the course of the history of the culture.

Hip hop is simultaneously a new and old phenomenon; the importance of sampling to the art form means that much of the culture has revolved around the idea of updating classic recordings, attitudes, and experiences for modern audiences - called "flipping" within the culture. It follows in the footsteps of earlier American musical genres blues, jazz, and rock and roll in having become one of the most practiced genres of music in existence worldwide, and also takes additional inspiration regularly from soul music, funk, and rhythm and blues. At its best, hip hop has given a voice to the voiceless and poverty-stricken worldwide, particularly in inner cities and neighborhoods suffering from urban blight, and showcased their artistic ingenuity and talent on a global scale. At its worst, hip hop has mirrored the worst aspects of the mainstream culture that it once challenged: materialism, sexism, an internalized racism and an antipathy towards intellectualism.

Read more about Hip HopEtymology, History, Legacy, Authenticity

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