Hip hop

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Image:Graffiti stylaz.jpg
Examples of different graffiti styles.

The term hip hop (also spelled "hip-hop" or "hiphop") refers both to a musical (see hip hop music) and cultural genre or movement (hip hop culture) that was developed by African Americans predominantly in urban communities over the last quarter-century. Since first emerging in New York City in the seventies, hip hop has grown to encompass not just rapping, but an entire lifestyle that consistently incorporates diverse elements of ethnicity, technology, art and urban life. There are four fundamental elements in hip hop: hip hop dance (notably breakdancing), urban inspired art (notably graffiti), DJing and MCing.

[edit] History

During the early 70s, a Jamaican DJ called Kool Herc arrived in New York City. Herc introduced the Jamaican tradition of "toasting," or boasting impromptu poetry and sayings over Reggae, Disco and Funk records. Herc also was the originator of break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk songs—being the most danceable part, often featuring percussion—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. Later DJs such as Grandmaster Flash refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting.
DJ Grandmaster Flash, one of the architects of hip hop DJing.

Herc's idea was soon widely copied, and by the late 70's a myriad of DJ's were releasing 12" cuts where they would rap to the beat. Popular tunes included Kurtis Blow's The Breaks, and The Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight.

Hip hop as a culture was further defined in 1983, when former Black Spades gang member Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force released a track called Planet Rock. Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa created an innovative electronic sound, taking advantage of the rapidly improving drum machine and synthesizer technology. Many credit the sensation caused by the track as the defining moment in hip hop music and culture. The mainstream media began to focus on one of the greatest impacts of hip hop; instead of fighting with guns and knives, former gangmembers had a new way of battling--though break dancing, rapping, turntable mixing, and tagging (graffiti). By 1985, youth worldwide were laying down scrap linoleum or cardboard, setting down portable stereo and spinning on their backs in tracksuits and sneakers to music by Run DMC, LL Cool J, the Fat Boys, Herbie Hancock, Soul Sonic Force, Jazzy Jay, Egyptian Lover, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde and Stetsasonic, to name a few.

[edit] Legacy of hip hop

Early hip hop has often been credited with helping to reduce inner-city gang violence by replacing physical violence with hip hop battles. Many believe that in later years (with the emergence of commercial and gangsta rap during the early 1990s) the emphasis on non-violence has come full circle, with many rappers boasting about weapons, crimes and violence. Within this time period, hip hop music has also begun to appeal to a broader demographic.

Image:Breakdance street paris.jpg
A breakdancer performing a one-handed freeze (also known as a pike) in the streets of Paris.

Within the culture of hip hop, some differentiate between heavily commercialized and "underground" or "alternative" hip hop. Many artists are now considered to be alternative/underground hip hop when they attempt to reflect what they believe to be the positive roots of the culture. Such artists such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, Dead Prez and Jurassic 5 claim to emphasize messages of unity, activism and verbal skill instead of messages of violence, wealth and misogyny.

[edit] See also

de:Hip-Hop lv:Hip hop no:Rap sk:Hip-hop sr:Hip-hop sv:Hiphop zh:嘻哈

Hip hop

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