History of Hip Hop: The Road to Prominence

Mar 13, 2019
Articles About Graffiti
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The history of hip hop is a colorful one, full of intrigues and branded with the sentiments of the American youth whose values ​​were being restored by the older generation at that time. It was not just a type of music. It was a subculture, a way of life for urban young people who thought to express themselves in an alternative way that requires little monetary investment, yet effective enough in providing an outlet for their repressed emotions.

Contrary to what most people think, hip hop is not just rap. It consist of four elements, rapping, graffiti art, break dancing, and Disk Jockeying or DJ (producing cutting and scratching sounds through a record mounted on a turntable). As time went by graffiti and break dancing evolved into distinct forms of expression, and the result was that "rap" and "hip hop" were used interchangeable to connote the recitation of rhymes in time with music. The history of hip hop that became largely a history of rap music.

Jamaican elements of DJ can be rightfully named as the precursor of American hip hop culture. Clive Campbell, known otherwise as DJ Kool Herc, is credited as the pioneer of hip hop in the United States. Kool Herc was inspired by the Jamaican tradition of impromptu poetry during toasts, and then decided to accompany it with rhythmic beats generated by sampling. Sampling is a method of producing such beats by looping breaks over two turntables. As such the history of began.

Hip hop slowly became a popular subculture, for as mentioned earlier, it afforded the urban youth a new, inexpensive means of expression. It was little after Kool Herc generated the first hip hop beats that he soon found himself and other DJs playing in various venues, even acting as back-ups for famous acts of the time. DJ methods were later refined by consequent DJs, and soon break dancing and graffiti art became well-loved among the hip hop communities of South Bronx in New York. Beatboxing, or the art of vocal percussion, also came into the limelight.

Prominent personalities of the times noted the increasing significance of hip hop, and with that the history of hip hop was further enriched by their acknowledgment. As early as the late 1960s Martin Luther King was talking about the impact Black radio DJs were making on American society. Minister Louis Farrakhon even warned them to be careful in what they are playing over the radio, because it was creating an awesome effect on their audience.

While initially, the culture was successful in preventing gang wars between rival gangs due to the alternative venue it provided for releasing tension among them, the time came when break dancing groups collided with each other. The history of hip hop has thus been marred by violent struggles that ensued between these groups. Graffiti art also became more and more offensive to society's aesthetic values, even leading some people to describe it as a new form of vandalism. Music critics also commented that rapping is not music in itself, but another method of delivering a poorly-prepared speech.

The history of hip hop continues to grow as the subculture finds its way to other countries. Rap music succeeded in pervading the mainstream record industry, and rap artists have figured in some of the best selling albums of modern times. Break dancing also enjoys a high level of popularity, and beatboxing has been refined in many ways to suit various audiences' fancies. DJ techniques have also been incorporated in other genres, and while graffiti continues to be scorned by some, no doubt it has achieved higher degrees of popularity around the youth who were once repressed but are now able to vent their sentiments through a subculture known as hip hop.

Source by Khim Chan

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