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Hip Hop, Music and Fashion

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1952 words Published: 7th Aug 2018

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Hip hop is a musical genre which developed alongside hip hop culture, defined by key stylistic elements such as rapping, DJing, sampling, scratching and beatboxing. Hip hop began in the Bronx in New York City in the 1970s, primarily among African Americans and Jamaican Americans, with some Latino influences. The term rap is often used synonymously with hip hop, but hip hop denotes the practices of an entire subculture.

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Rapping, also referred to as MCing or emceeing, is a vocal style in which the artist speaks lyrically, in rhyme and verse, generally to an instrumental or synthesized beat. Beats, almost always in 4/4 time signature, can be created by looping portions of other songs, usually by a DJ, or sampled from portions of other songs by a producer. Modern beats incorporate synthesizers, drum machines, and live bands. Rappers may write, memorize, or improvise their lyrics and perform their works a cappella or to a beat.

Roots of hip hop/history

Hip-hop originated at Bronx located in New York City, by a Jamaican DJ, Clive Campbell also known as “Kool Herc” who was born in 1955 at Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaican born DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell is credited as being highly influential in the pioneering stage of hip hop music, in the Bronx, after moving to New York at the age of thirteen. Herc created the blueprint for hip hop music and culture by building upon the Jamaican tradition of toasting – or boasting impromptu poetry and sayings over music – which he witnessed as a youth in Jamaica.

Herc and other DJs would tap into the power lines to connect their equipment and perform at venues such as public basketball courts and at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York, a historic building “where hip hop was born”.Their equipment was composed of numerous speakers, turntables, and one or more microphones.[17] In late 1979, Debbie Harry of Blondie took Nile Rodgers of Chic to such an event, as the main backing track used was the break from Chic’s Good Times.

Herc, along with Grandmaster Flash was also the developer of break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk songs-the part most suited to dance, usually percussion-based-were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. This breakbeat DJing, using hard funk, rock, and records with Latin percussion, formed the basis of hip hop music. Campbell’s announcements and exhortations to dancers would lead to the syncopated, rhymed spoken accompaniment now known as rapping. He dubbed his dancers break-boys and break-girls, or simply b-boys and b-girls. According to Herc, “breaking” was also street slang for “getting excited” and “acting energetically”. Herc’s terms b-boy, b-girl and breaking became part of the lexicon of hip hop culture, before that culture itself had developed a name

Later DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting and scratching. The approach used by Herc was soon widely copied, and by the late 1970s DJs were releasing 12″ records where they would rap to the beat. Popular tunes included Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks”, and The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”.

Emceeing is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. Rapping is derived from the griots (folk poets) of West Africa, and Jamaican-style toasting. Rap developed both inside and outside of hip hop culture, and began with the street parties thrown in the Bronx neighborhood of New York in the 1970s by Kool Herc and others. It originated as MCs would talk over the music to promote their DJ, promote other dance parties, take light-hearted jabs at other lyricists, or talk about problems in their areas and issues facing the community as a whole. Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five, is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an “MC”.

In the late 1970s an underground urban movement known as “hip-hop” began to develop in the South Bronx area of New York City. Encompassing graffiti art, break dancing, rap music, and fashion, hip-hop became the dominant cultural movement of the African American and Hispanic communities in the 1980s. Tagging, rapping, and break dancing were all artistic variations on the male competition and one-upmanship of street gangs. Sensing that gang members’ often violent urges could be turned into creative ones, Afrika Bambaataa founded the Zulu Nation, a loose confederation of street-dance crews, graffiti artists, and rap musicians. By the late 1970s, the culture had gained media attention, with Billboard magazine printing an article titled “B Beats Bombarding Bronx”, commenting on the local phenomenon and mentioning influential figures such as Kool Herc.

Hip hop as a culture was further defined in 1982, when Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released the seminal electro-funk track “Planet Rock”. Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa created an electronic sound, taking advantage of the rapidly improving drum machine, synthesizer technology as well as sampling from Kraftwerk.

The appearance of music videos changed entertainment: they often glorified urban neighborhoods. The music video for “Planet Rock” showcased the subculture of hip hop musicians, graffiti artists, and b-boys/b-girls. Many hip hop-related films were released between 1982 and 1985, among them Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, Breakin, and the documentary Style Wars. These films expanded the appeal of hip hop beyond the boundaries of New York. By 1985, youth worldwide were embracing the hip hop culture. The hip hop artwork and “slang” of US urban communities quickly found its way to Europe and Asia, as the culture’s global appeal took root.

The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through hip hop. In 1982, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee recorded “The Message” (officially credited to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five), a song that foreshadowed the socially conscious statements of Run-DMC’s “It’s like That” and Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”.

During the 1980s, hip hop also embraced the creation of rhythm by using the human body, via the vocal percussion technique of beatboxing. Pioneers such as Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie and Buffy from the Fat Boys made beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using their mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and other body parts. “Human Beatbox” artists would also sing or imitate turntablism scratching or other instrument sounds.

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Definition of hip hop

Hip-hop is a modern culture consisting of music, fashion, and art. The first people who made this music genre are the African Americans. Keith Cowboy, a rapper with Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five, made the term hip-hop. He was singing the words, “Hip hop hip hop,”when he was teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army. Hip-hop began to be popular all over the world. The four fundamental elements in hip-hop: hip-hop dance, hip-hop art, hip-hop music, and hip-hop fashion. Hip-hop dance includes break dancing and interesting forms of street dance. Hip-hop art includes urban inspiredart and graffiti. Hip-hop music includes Dj-ing, beatboxing, rapping, and hip-hop production. Rapping includes MC-ing and urban-inspired poetry.

The Influence of Hip-Hop Around the World

Hip-hop’s influence has become worldwide. This kind of music has been both a negative and positive influence to the young people. Some students in schools have violated the dress code by wearing hip-hop fashion, such as baggy pants, tank tops, and many other clothes. Some songs contain harsh language and violence-related themes. Those were some examples of how hip-hop can be a negative influence, but there are many positive sides to it too. Hip-hop culture represented the African-Americans’ freedom and culture. Many young African-Americans want to stop gang wars and put hip-hop music into a positive side. Hip-hop and rap is the most popular music genre in the United States; it had made more than 10 percent of the $12.3 billion music sales in 1998. This music genre replaces another popular genre called rock and roll. Rap music’s share of sales increased over 150% over the last ten years and is still increasing.

Also,breakdancing, a type of street dancing, is part of the hip-hop movement. It combines a series of toprock, downrock, power moves, and a freeze or suicide ending. This form of hip-hop dance has become a common dance amongst everybody. In fact, it has encouraged gang violence to decrease.

Hip-Hop Fashion

After the 1970s, hip-hop fashion has evolved into another different style. Today, it is a popular style of fashion for teenagers all over the world. Hip-hop fashion now includes large glasses (stunnershades), Kangol hats, brightly colored designer tracksuits, multi-fingered rings, oversized gold door-knocker earrings, and custom sneakers, also known by brand-names such a Nikes or Jordans.

Many elements of this fashion style were worn by famous hip-hop singers. These hip-hop stars are adored by their thousands of worshiping fans, who follow their style of clothing, wanting to be like them. That is why this fashion style is popularly recognized. The “in” accessories to wear in the style are gold necklaces, “bling-bling,” huge watches, “grillz” (no, not the barbeque grills; the grills we are talking about are gemmed, flashy oral pieces covering your teeth), and pendants or earrings filled with sparkly diamonds or anything that shines (the “bling-blings”).

Hairstyles very much mattered in the early-1980s; singers put their hair either in curly or messy knots atop their heads. Some people thought they were crazy, but decades ago, this was the style that everyone craved. They also tied it straight into ponytails or pigtails to get a fresh look.

Hip-hop today is mostly the wearing of baggy pants and black ink tattoos. Hooded sweaters were very famous for this style; gold teeth were also “in” in the late 80’s. For hats, hip-hop trend followers would either wear baseball caps or famous leather hats. Hip-hop fashion really matters for most adolescnets, and is the new trend today. Some brands that produce hip-hop clothing are G-Unit, Anchor Blue, d.e.m.o., Tilly’s, Iced Out Gear, Tommy Hilfiger, Phat Farm, Roca Wear, Ecko, Baby Phat, Dickies, Akedemiks, and many more.

Hip-Hop Music + Dance

Hip-hop music was popularly known as rap music. Hip-hop existed in the United States during the mid-1970s. Hip-hop dance was known as “breakdancing,” it is a very popular street dance for teenagers that influences people to watch them. Performed by a DJ, the “beat,” is a count as a rhythm for the music. Hip-hop is followed by the rhythms of R&B, disco, and funk. Hip-hop has a little bit of “slang,” which inlcudes words that have a special meaning, although the word itself can be grammatically incorrect and doesn’t make sense; slang words are often used in hip-hop songs. In the late 90’s and early 21st century, these words have been used into many different songs across America and globally.


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