Since the early 20th century, music has undergone considerable transformation. These changes are attributed to the reactions against the impressionist movements of the 19th century. In the mission to develop new lingo and forms, artists have come up with different genres of music. Each genre targets a specific audience. Currently, the most popular genres of music include rock, pop music, reggae, dancehall, and hip hop music among others. The term ‘Hip Hop’ is more or less the same as rap music. Hip-hop is believed to have started in early 1975. There is no literature that gives the exact year hip-hop begun.
Rap generally means singing or speaking in sequence with the beat or rhythm (Alridge and James 190). In the past, the term ‘rap’ had numerous meanings. For example, the ancient African-American society used it to describe diverse ways of making musical notations. However, in all the contexts the term rap is used, beats are always attached to it. For that reason, rap has existed for many years and is not a new word (George 5). According to light, hip-hop is a genre of music that entails musical beats that are accompanied by rhythmic monologue (singing or talking). In other words, hip-hop consists of rhythm and recited speech (2).
It should be noted that hip hop is not only a music genre but also a way of life, particularly among African-Americans. Hip-hop music can be identified through certain elements. These elements include rap, Disc Jockey (DJ), breakdance, beatboxing, and graffiti (Light 3). The essay will analyze the background of Hip-Hop music and its ensuing growth.
The Origin of Hip-Hop Music and Famous Artists
Hip-hop music and culture began in the mid-1970s, when disco dance became popular in the city of New York, especially among African-Americans. The disco parties had DJs who played trendy music. Given the popularity of disco parties, Disc Jockeys developed a habit of breaking the beats of popular music. This habit was also common among the clubs playing reggae and dancehall music.
For that reason, a section of the American population started to believe that hip-hop music originated from the Caribbean (George 15; Crossley 501). Until now, some of the Jamaican DJs, for example, Kool Herc and others are regarded as the hip-hop pioneers. This is because DJ Kool and his counterparts introduced two turntables to expand the percussive breaks, which is one of the key elements of hip-hop music (Crossley 501).
This musical genre later evolved into other distinct subgenres like R&B. This is mainly attributed to the accessibility of a mixer and beat machines to the general public. At first, the two devices were very costly and could only be accessed in major studios. Later on, new and less costly devices, which merged both the beat machine and a mixer was introduced. The new device is usually referred to as the music production center (MPC).
The accessibility of MPCs to the general public, especially among the poor and the vulnerable led to the evolution of hip-hop. The accessibility and affordability of these devices led to the experimentation of new hip-hop genres. In addition, the artists benefited from a decrease in the cost of producing and recording music. At the moment, there are very many sub-genres of (George 15).
In early 1980, a Brooklyn-based DJ by the name of Wizzard Theodore introduced new Hip-hop mixing techniques. These techniques incorporated, beat mixing and matching, beat control, and the art of playing around with the LPs. Some of the techniques were influenced by the Caribbean Disk Jockeys (George 15). As already been mentioned, hip-hop was described as a mouthpiece of the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in the New York Ghetto. However, the popularity of hip-hop music and culture has broken the boundary between the rich and the poor (Crossley 502).
Hip-hop has gone through a number of phases. The first phase was dominated by Jamaican DJs and a couple of artists with Caribbean accents. Most of these artists did not record their songs in the studio but relied on disco performances. The phase of hip-hop started in the mid-1980s. It saw the emergence of two great MCs, that is, Run-D. M. C and LL Cool J. Hip-hop at this stage were characterized by metallic beats. In addition, the songs were more organized and could easily be played on the radio stations (George 15).
Mainstream and Gangster rap later emerged in 1988. Mainstream hip-hop was characterized by diversity, superior quality, and innovativeness. In addition, it had a massive influence. Gangster rap depicted the atrocious and aggressive lifestyle of the Ghetto life. The popularity of hip-hop increased in the 1990s. At the moment, hip-hop music and culture have been embraced all over the world (Light 7).
Hip-hop is a genre of music that entails regular beats that are accompanied by monologues recitation. The term ‘Hip Hop’ is more or less the same as rap music. Hip-hop music and culture started in the mid-1970s in the city of New York, principally among the African-Americans. There is no literature that gives the exact year hip-hop begun. Hip-hop is not only a genre of music but also a way of life. It is believed to have originated from the Caribbean, particularly in Jamaica. No wonder, until now, some of the Jamaican DJs, for example, Kool Herc and others are regarded as the hip-hop pioneers.
This is because DJ Kool and his counterparts introduced two turntables to expand the percussive breaks, which is one of the key elements of hip-hop music. The development of hip-hop is mainly attributed to the accessibility of a mixer and beat machines to the general public. Initially, the two devices were very costly and could only be accessed in major studios. Generally, hip-hop is described as the voice of the disadvantaged youths, especially those from underprivileged communities. Hip-hop music and culture have grown tremendously. As a matter of fact, hip hop music and culture are currently being embraced all over the world.
Alridge, Derrick and James Steward. “Introduction: Hip Hop in History: Past, Present, and Future”. Journal of African American History 90.3 (2005): pp. 190-195. Print.
Crossley, Scott. ‘’Metaphorical Conceptions in Hip-Hop Music”. African American Review 19 (2005):pp.501–502. Print.
George, Nelson. Hip-Hop America, New York: Penguin Books, 2005. Print.
Light, Alan. The VIBE History of Hip-Hop, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999. Print.