The Four Elements of Hip-Hop

Mar 13, 2019
Articles About Graffiti
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The emergence of hip-hop in the early 70's produced four elements, which continue to be mainstays of the genre: disc jockeying or a DJ, break dancing, emceeing or an MC, and graffiti art. How prominent are these elements today and how were they represented during BET's first annual hip-hop awards in Atlanta? Upon acceptance of the "I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award," rap pioneer, Grandmaster Flash paid homage to a host of DJs . According to Flash, DJ's were once the gatekeepers between the record labels and the streets. In 1996, thriving regional radio stations that reflected a community's heart and soul were replaced by media conglomerates with syndicated play lists. Followed by a myriad of changes in music distribution and leadership at radio stations and record labels, the fire that fueled hip-hop's reputation began to fade. To maintain integrity, Flash encouraged a shifting to the way things use to be – where new music was received and circulated by the DJs. Knowing that DJs spend all of their time in tune with the streets through clubs and parties, Flash commented, "It makes sense that [DJs] break a record." Flash also admonished MCs to allow DJs to perform on stage. "The template was designed for DJs to play a part," he said. Embodying the original template, Atlanta's DJ Drama , was among some DJs who held it down on stage alongside notable MCs. Even though break dancing and poppin 'are nostalgic forms of hip-hop both are visible in varying forms of dances including the Bay Area's hyphy. Newer dances that help hip-hop maintain its hype include snap, shoulder lean, motorcycle, and chicken noodle soup. DJ Unk and the Big Oomp Camp showed attendees just how easy it was to walk-it-out in sync. While MCs abound in every corner of the globe, talent is comparable to the innovators who dominated the 80's and 90's is hard to come by. As hip-hop aficionados anticipate "the new," music executives search regardless for the one or ones who will carry the hip-hop torch to the next phase. Invariably, advances in technology and a shortage of lyricists who have solid albums have caused a noticeable erosion of hip-hop's staying power.

For the past six years, hip-hop was the top-selling genre over R & B and country music and was second only to rock music. This year's lack-luster Billboard ratings are a warning sign of the genre's potential to slow to a lull until new life respires. Pending change, BET Hip-Hop award recipient, Common is the current standard for aspiring lyricists. Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco , and TI are among his peers. Graffiti art was once an economic menace to society. For years, buildings, buses, trains, sidewalks, etc., were regular targets for unwanted and unappreciated artist tags. Today, graffiti art is perhaps the most embroidered aspect of the hip-hop culture. New canvases of the profitable, permanent, and mobile enterprise now include skin (by way of tattoos), clothing, and vehicle wraps. Among the many artists profiling their "tag" or some else's during the awards were the Game, Nelly, Jim Jones, Chamillionaire, TI , and Juelz Santana . As it relates to the four elements of hip-hop, BET's hip-hop award show recognized exceptional work and contribution to the hip-hop genre by acknowledging the Producer of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, Hip-Hop Dance of the Year , and Director of the Year . For a complete listing of award winners, visit:

Source by Isha Edwards

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