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Date: 31.10.2018, 11:50 / View: 54481

This article is about the culture in general. For the music genre, see. For other uses, see.

Two hip hop DJs creating new music by mixing tracks from multiple record players. Pictured are DJ Hypnotize (left) and Baby Cee (right) MC Hero performing rhythmic rhyming known as in Huntsville, Alabama. Hip hop-style graffiti showing stylized, elaborate lettering and colorful cartoons.

Hip hop or hip-hop, is a and developed in in during the late 1970s. The origins of the word are often disputed. It is also argued as to whether hip hop started in the or. While the term hip hop is often used to refer exclusively to (also called rap),hip hop is characterized by nine elements, of which only four elements are considered essential to understand hip hop musically. The main elements of hip hop consist of four main pillars. of the hip hop collective outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, coining the terms: "" (also called MC or Microphone Commander), a rhythmic vocal rhyming style (orality); (and ), which is making music with and (aural/sound and music creation); b-boying/b-girling/ (movement/dance); and. Other elements of hip hop subculture and arts movements beyond the main four are: hip hop culture and historical knowledge of the movement (intellectual/philosophical);, a percussive vocal style; street ; hip hop language; and hip hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth element is commonly considered either street knowledge,, or ; however, it is often debated.

The Bronx hip hop scene emerged in the mid-1970s from neighborhood thrown by the, an group that has been described as being a, a club, and a music group. Hip hop culture has spread to both and communities throughout the United States and subsequently the world. These elements were adapted and developed considerably, particularly as the art forms spread to new continents and merged with local styles in the 1990s and subsequent decades. Even as the movement continues to expand globally and explore myriad styles and art forms, including and, the four foundational elements provide coherence and a strong foundation for hip hop culture.Hip hop is simultaneously a new and old phenomenon; the importance of tracks, beats, and from old records to the art form means that much of the culture has revolved around the idea of updating classic recordings, attitudes, and experiences for modern audiences. older culture and reusing it in a new context or a new format is called "flipping" in hip hop culture. Hip hop music follows in the footsteps of earlier African-American-rooted musical genres such as,,,, and to become one of the most practiced genres worldwide. It is the language of urban environments and the youth around the world. According to, "Hip hop is the only place where you see 'I Have A Dream Speech' in real life." He also notes that hip hop is beyond something as race, gender, or nationality; it belongs to the world. In 1990, while working with the rap group Snap!,, a former member of the Zulu Nation, is credited for coining the term "Six elements of the " by being inspired by Public Enemy's recordings. The "Six Elements Of The Hip Hop Movement" are: Consciousness Awareness, Civil Rights Awareness, Activism Awareness, Justice, Political Awareness, and Community Awareness in music. Ronald Savage is known as the Son of The Hip Hop Movement.

In the 2000s, with the rise of new media platforms and Web 2.0, fans discovered and downloaded or streamed through social networking sites beginning with, as well as from websites like,,, and.



Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins, a member of, has been credited with coining the term in 1978 while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army by the made-up words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" cadence into his stage performance. The group frequently performed with disco artists who would refer to this new type of music by calling them "hip hoppers." The name was originally meant as a sign of disrespect but soon came to identify this new music and culture.

The song "" by, released in 1979, begins with the phrase "I said a hip, hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, and you don't stop". — a Bronx DJ who put out a single called "The Positive Life" in 1981 — and then began using the term when referring to this new rap music. Bill Alder, an independent consultant, once said, "There was hardly ever a moment when rap music was underground, one of the very first so-called rap records, was a monster hit ("Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang on Sugarhill Records).Hip hop pioneer and South Bronx community leader also credits Lovebug Starski as the first to use the term "hip hop" as it relates to the culture. Bambaataa, former leader of the, also did much to further popularize the term. The words "hip hop" first appeared in print on September 21, 1982, in in a profile of Bambaataa written by, who also published the first comprehensive history of the culture with St. Martins' Press.



In the 1970s, an underground urban movement known as "hip hop" began to develop in the. It focused on emceeing (or MCing) over "breakbeats," house parties and neighborhood block party events, held outdoors. Hip hop music has been a powerful medium for protesting the impact of legal institutions on minorities, particularly police and prisons. Historically, hip hop arose out of the ruins of a post-industrial and ravaged South Bronx, as a form of expression of urban Black and Latino youth, whom the public and political discourse had written off as marginalized communities. Jamaican-born DJ Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell pioneered the use of DJing percussion "breaks" in hip hop music. Beginning at Herc's home in a high-rise apartment at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, the movement later spread across the entire borough. On August 11, 1973 was the DJ at his sister's back-to-school party. He extended the beat of a record by using two record players, isolating the percussion "breaks" by using a to switch between the two records. Herc's experiments with making music with record players became what we now know as breaking or "."

A second key musical element in hip hop music is emceeing (also called MCing or rapping). Emceeing is the rhythmic spoken delivery of and wordplay, delivered at first without accompaniment and later done over a. This spoken style was influenced by the style of "capping," a performance where men tried to outdo each other in originality of their language and tried to gain the favor of the listeners. The basic elements of hip hop—boasting raps, rival "posses" (groups), uptown "throw-downs," and political and social commentary—were all long present in African American music. MCing and rapping performers moved back and forth between the predominance of toasting songs packed with a mix of boasting, 'slackness' and sexual innuendo and a more topical, political, socially conscious style. The role of the MC originally was as a for a DJ dance event. The MC would introduce the DJ and try to pump up the audience. The MC spoke between the DJ's songs, urging everyone to get up and dance. MCs would also tell jokes and use their energetic language and enthusiasm to rev up the crowd. Eventually, this introducing role developed into longer sessions of spoken, rhythmic wordplay, and rhyming, which became rapping.

By 1979 hip hop music had become a mainstream genre. It spread across the world in the 1990s with controversial "gangsta" rap. Herc also developed upon, where the breaks of songs—the part most suited to dance, usually percussion-based—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. This form of music playback, using hard funk and rock, 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 and b-girls. According to Herc, "breaking" was also street slang for "getting excited" and "acting energetically"

is a pioneer in developing hip hop music.

DJs such as,, and refined and developed the use of, including. The approach used by Herc was soon widely copied, and by the late 1970s, DJs were releasing records where they would rap to the beat. Influential tunes included 's "," The 's "," and 's "," all released in 1979.[] Herc and other DJs would connect their equipment to power lines and perform at venues such as public basketball courts and at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York, now officially a historic building. The equipment consisted of numerous speakers, turntables, and one or more microphones. By using this technique, DJs could create a variety of music, but according to Rap Attack by David Toop "At its worst the technique could turn the night into one endless and inevitably boring song"., a rapper-lyricist with Pete DJ Jones, is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an "MC."

were prevalent in the poverty of the South Bronx, and much of the graffiti, rapping, and at these parties were all artistic variations on the competition and one-upmanship of street gangs. Sensing that gang members' often violent urges could be turned into creative ones, Afrika Bambaataa founded the, 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. The saw widespread looting, arson, and other citywide disorders especially in the where a number of looters stole DJ equipment from electronics stores. As a result, the hip hop genre, barely known outside of the Bronx at the time, grew at an astounding rate from 1977 onward.

's house parties gained popularity and later moved to outdoor venues in order to accommodate more people. Hosted in parks, these outdoor parties became a means of expression and an outlet for teenagers, where "instead of getting into trouble on the streets, teens now had a place to expend their pent-up energy." Tony Tone, a member of the, stated that "hip hop saved a lot of lives". For inner-city youth, participating in hip hop culture became a way of dealing with the hardships of life as minorities within America, and an outlet to deal with the risk of violence and the rise of gang culture. MC Kid Lucky mentions that "people used to against each other instead of fighting".[] Inspired by DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa created a street organization called, centered around hip hop, as a means to draw teenagers out of gang life, drugs and violence.

Ronald Savage is the owner of the Hip Hop Movement trademark and is credited for coining the term "Six elements of the "

The lyrical content of many early rap groups focused on social issues, most notably in the seminal track "The Message" (1982) by, which discussed the realities of life in the housing projects. "Young black Americans coming out of the civil rights movement have used hip hop culture in the 1980s and 1990s to show the limitations of the."Hip hop gave young African Americans a voice to let their issues be heard; "Like rock-and-roll, hip hop is vigorously opposed by conservatives because it romanticizes violence, law-breaking, and gangs". It also gave people a chance for financial gain by "reducing the rest of the world to consumers of its social concerns."

In late 1979, of took of to such an event, as the main backing track used was the break from Chic's "". The new style influenced Harry, and Blondie's later hit single from 1981 "" became the first major single containing hip hop elements by a white group or artist to hit number one on the U.S. —the song itself is usually considered and fuses heavy elements, but there is an extended rap by Harry near the end.


In 1980, released his featuring the single "", which became the first certified gold rap song.

In 1982, and the released the track "". Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa and producer created an electronic sound using the drum machine and sampling from. "Planet Rock" is widely regarded as a turning point; fusing electro with hip hop, it was "like a light being switched on," resulting in a new genre. The track also helped popularize the 808, which became a cornerstone of hip hop music; and Slate both described the machine as hip hop's equivalent to the, which had dramatically influenced the development of. Other groundbreaking records released in 1982 include "" by, "" by, "Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop)" by, "Magic Wand" by, and "" by. In 1983, created the influential electro funk tune "", while Warp 9's ""(1983), "a cornerstone of early 80s beat box ", introduced socially conscious themes from a perspective, paying homage to music pioneer.

Encompassing graffiti art, MCing/rapping, DJing and b-boying, hip hop became the dominant cultural of the minority-populated urban communities in the 1980s. The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through hip hop. In 1982, and recorded "" (officially credited to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five), a song that foreshadowed the socially conscious statements of 's "" and 's "". During the 1980s, hip hop also embraced the creation of rhythm by using the human body, via the technique of. Pioneers such as, and Buffy from the made beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using their mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and other body parts. "Human Beatbox" artists would also or imitate turntablism scratching or other instrument sounds.

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,,,, and the documentary. These films expanded the appeal of hip hop beyond the boundaries of New York. By 1984, youth worldwide were embracing the hip hop culture. The hip hop artwork and "slang" of US urban communities quickly found its way to Europe, as the culture's global appeal took root.[] The four traditional dances of hip hop are rocking, b-boying/b-girling, locking and popping, all of which trace their origins to the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Women artists have also been at the forefront of the hip hop movement since its inception in the Bronx. Nevertheless, as became the dominant force in hip hop music, there were many songs with (anti-women) lyrics and many music videos depicted women in a sexualized fashion. The negation of female voice and perspective is an issue that has come to define mainstream hip hop music. The recording industry is less willing to back female artists than their male counterparts, and when it does back them, often it places emphasis on their sexuality over their musical substance and artistic abilities. Since the turn of the century (the beginning of the 2000s decade), female hip hop artists have struggled to get mainstream attention, with only a few, such as older artists like the female duo to more contemporary ones like and, reaching platinum status.


With the commercial success of in the early 1990s, the emphasis in lyrics shifted to drugs, violence, and. Early proponents of gangsta rap included groups and artists such as, who recorded what some consider to be the first gangster rap record,, and whose second album became the first gangsta rap album to enter the charts at number one. Gangsta rap also played an important part in hip hop becoming a mainstream commodity. Considering albums such as 's, 's, and were selling in such high numbers meant that black teens were no longer hip hop's sole buying audience. As a result, gangsta rap became a platform for artists who chose to use their music to spread political and social messages to parts of the country that were previously unaware of the conditions of ghettos. While hip hop music now appeals to a broader demographic, media critics argue that socially and politically conscious hip hop has been largely disregarded by mainstream America.

Global innovations[]

According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is "now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world" that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines. recognizes hip hop as "the world's favorite youth culture" in which "just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene." Through its international travels, hip hop is now considered a "global musical epidemic". According to The Village Voice, hip hop is "custom-made to combat the that preys on adolescents wherever nobody knows their name."

Hip hop sounds and styles differ from region to region, but there are also instances of fusion genres.Hip hop culture has grown from the avoided genre to a genre that is followed by millions of fans worldwide. This was made possible by the adaptation of music in different locations, and the influence on style of behavior and dress. Not all countries have embraced hip hop, where "as can be expected in countries with strong local culture, the interloping wildstyle of hip hop is not always welcomed". This is somewhat the case in Jamaica, the homeland of the culture's father, DJ Kool Herc. However, despite hip hop music produced on the island lacking widespread local and international recognition, artists such as have defied the odds by impressing online hip hop taste-makers and even reggae critics.

Hartwig Vens argues that hip hop can also be viewed as a global learning experience. Author argues that "the essence of hip hop is the, born in the Bronx, where competition and community feed each other." He also adds, "Thousands of organizers from Cape Town to Paris use hip hop in their communities to address environmental justice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education.". While hip hop music has been criticized as a music that creates a divide between western music and music from the rest of the world, a musical "cross pollination" has taken place, which strengthens the power of hip hop to influence different communities.Hip hop's messages allow the under-privileged and the mistreated to be heard. These cross borders. While the music may be from a foreign country, the message is something that many people can relate to- something not "foreign" at all.

Even when hip hop is transplanted to other countries, it often retains its "vital progressive agenda that challenges the status quo." In Gothenburg, Sweden, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) incorporate graffiti and dance to engage disaffected immigrant and working class youths. Hip hop has played a small but distinct role as the musical face of revolution in the, one example being an anonymous musician,, whose anti-government songs fueled the rebellion.


Rapper, entrepreneur and executive emphasizes his wealth.

In the early- to-mid 1980s, there was no established hip hop music industry, as exists in the 2010s, with record labels,, managers and staff. Politicians and businesspeople maligned and ignored the hip hop movement. Most hip hop artists performed in their local communities and recorded in underground scenes. However, in the late 1980s, music industry executives realized that they could capitalize on the success of "gangsta rap." They made a formula that created "a titillating buffet of hypermasculinity and glorified violence." This type of rap was marketed to the new fanbase: white males. They ignored the depictions of a harsh reality to focus on the sex and violence involved.

In an article for The Village Voice, argues that the commercialization of hip hop is a negative and pervasive phenomenon, writing that "what we call hiphop is now inseparable from what we call the hip hop industry, in which the and the super-rich employers get richer". Ironically, this commercialization coincides with a decline in rap sales and pressure from critics of the genre. Even other musicians, like Nas and KRS-ONE have claimed "" in that it has changed so much over the years to cater to the consumer that it has lost the essence for which it was originally created.

However, in his book In Search Of Africa, states that hip hop is really a voice of people who are marginalized in modern society. He argues that the "worldwide spread of hip hop as a market revolution" is actually global "expression of poor people's desire for the good life," and that this struggle aligns with "the nationalist struggle for citizenship and belonging, but also reveals the need to go beyond such struggles and celebrate the redemption of the black individual through tradition." The problem may not be that female rappers do not have the same opportunities and recognition as their male counterparts; it may be that the music industry that is so defined by gender biases. Industry executives seem to bet on the idea that men won’t want to listen to female rappers, so they are given fewer opportunities.

As the hip hop genre has changed since the 1980s, the African-American cultural "tradition" that Diawara describes has little place in hip hop's mainstream artists music. The push toward materialism and market success by contemporary rappers such as, and has irked older hip hop fans and artists. They see the genre losing its community-based feel that focused more on black empowerment than wealth. The commercialization of the genre stripped it of its earlier political nature and the politics and marketing plans of major record labels have forced rappers to craft their music and images to appeal to white, affluent and suburban audiences.

After realizing her friends were making music but not getting television exposure other than what was seen on Video Music Box, Darlene Lewis (model/lyricist), along with Darryl Washington and Dean Carroll, brought hip hop music to the First Exposure cable show on Paragon cable, and then created the On Broadway television show. There, rappers had opportunities to be interviewed and have their music videos played. This pre-dated MTV or on BET. The commercialization has made hip hop less edgy and authentic, but it also has enabled hip hop artists to become successful.

As top rappers grow wealthier and start more outside business ventures, this can indicate a stronger sense of black aspiration. As rappers such as and establish themselves as artists and entrepreneurs, more young black people have hopes of achieving their goals. The lens through which one views the genre's commercialization can make it seem positive or negative.

White and Mexican Latino pop rappers such as,,,,,,,, and have often been criticized for commercializing hip hop and cultural appropriation. and, although not rappers, have been accused of cultural appropriation and commercializing hip hop. Katy Perry, a white woman, was criticized for her hip hop song "". was also accused of cultural appropriation.


and, MCing/,,, and are the creative outlets that collectively make up hip hop culture and its revolutionary aesthetic. Like the, these arts were developed by communities to enable people to make a statement, whether political or emotional and participate in community activities. These practices spread globally around the 1980s as fans could "make it their own" and express themselves in new and creative ways in music, dance and other arts.


DJ manipulating a at a turntablism competition in France in 2006.

and are the techniques of manipulating sounds and creating music and beats using two or more (or other sound sources, such as tapes, CDs or ) and a that is plugged into a. One of the first few hip hop DJs was, who created hip hop in the 1970s through the isolation and extending of "breaks" (the parts of albums that focused solely on the percussive beat). In addition to developing Herc's techniques, DJs,,, and made further innovations with the introduction of "", which has become one of the key sounds associated with hip hop music.

Traditionally, a DJ will use two turntables simultaneously and mix between the two. These are connected to a DJ mixer, an,, and various electronic music equipment such as a microphone and. The DJ mixes the two albums currently in rotation and/or does "" by moving one of the record platters while manipulating the on the mixer. The result of mixing two records is a unique sound created by the seemingly combined sound of two separate songs into one song. Although there is considerable hip hop fashion girls photo overlap between the two roles, a DJ is not the same as a of a music track. The development of DJing was also influenced by new techniques, such as, a process facilitated by the introduction of new turntable technologies such as the, first sold in 1978, which had a precise variable and a motor. DJs were often avid record collectors, who would hunt through used record stores for obscure records and vintage recordings. DJs helped to introduce rare records and new artists to club audiences.

DJ Pete Rock mixing with two turntables.

In the early years of hip hop, the DJs were the stars, as they created new music and beats with their record players. While DJing and turntablism continue to be used in hip hop music in the 2010s, the star role has increasingly been taken by MCs since the late 1970s, due to innovative, creative MCs such as Kurtis Blow and of 's crew, the, who developed strong rapping skills. However, a number of DJs have gained stardom nonetheless in recent years. Famous DJs include Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa,,, from, from, DJ from, DJ of, from, from,, from the and the inventor of the style of mixing music,,,,, Touch-Chill-Out, DJ Red Alert, and. The underground movement of turntablism has also emerged to focus on the skills of the DJ. In the 2010s, there are turntablism competitions, where turntablists demonstrate advanced beat juggling and scratching skills.


(also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars), or just rhyming) refers to "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment". Rapping typically features complex wordplay, rapid delivery, and a range of "street slang", some of which is unique to the hip hop subculture. While rapping is often done over beats, either done by a DJ, a, it can also be done without accompaniment. It can be broken down into different components, such as "content", "flow" (rhythm and ), and "delivery". Rapping is distinct from in that it is performed in time to the beat of the music. The use of the word "rap" to describe quick and slangy speech or witty repartee long predates the musical form. MCing is a form of expression that is embedded within ancient African culture and oral tradition as throughout history verbal acrobatics or jousting involving rhymes were common within the Afro-American community.


Graffiti is the most controversial of hip hop's elements, as a number of the most notable graffiti pioneers say that they do not consider graffiti to be an element of hip hop, including,, Blade, Fargo, Cholly Rock, Fuzz One, and Coco 144. says, "I don’t think graffiti is hip hop. Frankly I grew up with disco music. There's a long background of graffiti as an entity unto itself," and Fargo says, "There is no correlation between hip hop and graffiti, one has nothing to do with the other."Hip hop pioneer has also questioned the connection between hip hop and graffiti, saying, "You know what bugs me, they put hip hop with graffiti. How do they intertwine?"

In America in the late 1960s, was used as a form of expression by political activists. Gangs such as the,, and used graffiti to mark territory. was a Puerto Rican graffiti writer, one of the first graffiti writers in New York City. He was a member of the "Savage Skulls" gang, and started writing his nickname in his neighborhood as early as 1968. In 1971 the New York Times published an article ("'Taki 183' Spawns Pen Pals") about another graffiti writer with similar form,. According to the article Julio had been writing for a couple of years when Taki began tagging his own name all around the city. Taki also states in the article that Julio "was busted and stopped." Writers following in the wake of Taki and would add their street number to their nickname, "bomb" (cover) a train with their work, and let the subway take it—and their fame, if it was impressive, or simply pervasive, enough—"all city". Julio 204 never rose to Taki's fame because Julio kept his tags localized to his own neighborhood.

is an influential graffiti artist who began painting in the 1970s.

One of the most common forms of graffiti is tagging, or the act of stylizing your unique name or logo. Tagging began in Philadelphia and New York City and has expanded worldwide. Spray painting public property or the property of others without their consent can be considered vandalism, and the "tagger" may be subject to arrest and prosecution for the criminal act. Whether legal or not, the hip hop culture considers tagging buildings, trains, bridges and other structures as visual art, and consider the tags as part of a complex symbol system with its own social codes and subculture rules. Such art is in some cases now subject to federal protection in the US, making its erasure illegal.

Bubble lettering held sway initially among writers from, though the elaborate style Tracy 168 dubbed "" would come to define the art. The early trend-setters were joined in the 1970s by artists like,, Daze, Blade,,,,,, Kel, NOC 167 and.

The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists engaging in other aspects of hip hop culture, Graffiti is understood as a visual expression of rap music, just as is viewed as a physical expression. The 1983 film is widely regarded as the first hip hop motion picture, which featured prominent figures within the New York graffiti scene during the said period. The book and the documentary were also among the first ways the mainstream public were introduced to hip hop graffiti. Graffiti remains part of hip hop, while crossing into the mainstream art world with exhibits in galleries throughout the world.


  • B Boy executing a freeze

, an early form of, often involves dance, showing off technical skills, trying to out-do a rival dancer, and displaying tongue-in-cheek bravado.

Breaking, also called B-boying/B-girling or breakdancing, is a dynamic, rhythmic style of dance which developed as one of the major elements of hip hop culture. Like many aspects of hip hop culture, breakdance borrows heavily from many cultures, including 1930s-era street dancing, and,, and the dance moves of,, and California. Breaking took form in the South Bronx in the 1970s alongside the other elements of hip hop. Breakdancing is typically done with the accompaniment of playing on a or.

A silhouette shows a man break dancing. One of the 4 elements of hip hop.

According to the 2002 documentary film The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy, DJ Kool Herc describes the "B" in B-boy as short for breaking, which at the time was slang for "going off", also one of the original names for the dance. However, early on the dance was known as the "boing" (the sound a spring makes). Dancers at DJ Kool Herc's parties saved their best dance moves for the percussion section of the song, getting in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. The "B" in B-boy or B-girl also stands simply for break, as in break-boy or -girl. Before the 1990s, B-girls’ presence was limited by their gender minority status, navigating sexual politics of a masculine-dominated scene, and a lack of representation or encouragement for women to participate in the form. The few B-girls who participated despite facing gender discrimination carved out a space for women as leaders within the breaking community, and the number of B-girls participating has increased. Breaking was documented in, and was later given more focus in fictional films such as and. Early acts include the and.[]


is noted for his beatboxing skills. He is holding the mic close to his mouth, a technique beatboxers use to imitate deep basslines and bass drums, by exploiting the.

is the technique of, in which a singer imitates drums and other percussion instruments with her or his voice. It is primarily concerned with the art of creating beats or rhythms using the human mouth. The term beatboxing is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of, then known as beatboxes. It was first popularized by. As it is a way of creating hip hop music, it can be categorized under the production element of hip hop, though it does sometimes include a type of rapping intersected with the human-created beat. It is generally considered to be part of the same "Pillar" of hip hop as DJing—in other words, providing a musical backdrop or foundation for MC's to rap over.

Beatboxers can create their beats just naturally, but many of the beatboxing effects are enhanced by using a microphone plugged into a. This helps the beatboxer to make their beatboxing loud enough to be heard alongside a rapper, MC, turntablist, and other hip hop artists. Beatboxing was popular in the 1980s with prominent artists like the Darren "Buffy, the Human Beat Box" Robinson of the and displaying their skills within the media. It declined in popularity along with b-boying in the late 1980s, but has undergone a resurgence since the late 1990s, marked by the release of "Make the Music 2000." by of.


A typical rap drum beat, written in drum notation.

Although it is not described as one of the four core elements that make up hip hop, is another important element. In music, record producers play a similar role in that play in making a movie. The record producer recruits and selects artists (rappers, MCs, DJs, beatboxers, and so on), plans the vision for the recording session, coaches the performers on their songs, chooses, sets out a budget for hiring the artists and technical experts, and oversees the entire project. The exact roles of a producer depend on each individual, but some producers work with DJs and drum machine programmers to create beats, coach the DJs in the selection of sampled, and, give advice to rappers, vocalists, MCs and other artists, give suggestions to performers on how to improve their flow and develop a unique personal style. Some producers work closely with the audio engineer to provide ideas on mixing, (e.g., vocal effects such as those popularized by ), micing of artists, and so on. The producer may independently develop the "concept" or vision for a project or album, or develop the vision in collaboration with the artists and performers.

In hip hop, since the beginning of MCing, there have been producers who work in the studio, behind the scenes, to create the beats for MCs to rap over. Producers may find a beat they like on an old funk, soul or disco record, and then isolate the beat and turn it into a loop. Alternatively, producers may create a beat with a or by hiring a percussionist to play acoustic drums. The producer could even mix and layer different methods, such as combining a sampled disco drum break with a drum machine track and some live, newly recorded percussion parts or a live electric bass player. A beat created by a hip hop producer may include other parts besides a drum beat, such as a sampled from a funk or disco song, dialogue from a spoken word record or movie, or rhythmic "scratching" and "punches" done by a or DJ.

An early beatmaker was producer, who won producer of the year credits in 1983, 1984, and 1985. Known for the creation of sample and sample loops, Blow was considered the of early hip hop, a reference to the prolific African American record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, musician and bandleader. One of the most influential beatmakers was J. Dilla, a producer from Detroit who chopped samples by specific beats and would combine them together to create his unique sound. Those who create these beats are known as either beatmakers or producers, however producers are known to have more input and direction on the overall the creation of a song or project, while a beatmaker just provides or creates the beat. As Dr. Dre has said before "Once you finish the beat, you have to produce the record." The process of making beats includes sampling, "chopping", looping, sequencing beats, recording, mixing, and mastering.

Most beats in hip hop are from a pre-existing record. This means that a producer will take a portion or a "sample" of a song and reuse it as an instrumental section, beat or portion of their song. Some examples of this are ' "Footsteps in the Dark Pts. 1 and 2" being sampled to make 's "". Another example is 's "" being sampled to create the song "", released in 2011, by and.

"Chopping" is dissecting the song that you are sampling so that you "chop" out the part or parts of the song, be that the bassline, rhythm guitar part, drum break, or other music, you want to use in the beat. Looping is known as melodic or percussive sequence that repeats itself over a period of time, so basically a producer will make an even-number of bars of a beat (e.g., four bars or eight bars) repeat itself or "loop" of a full song length. This loop provides an for an MC to rap over.

While hip hop music makes a significant use of old records, using turntables and to create beats, producers use electric and acoustic instruments on some songs. Pictured is an electric bass player at a hip hop show.

The tools needed to make beats in the late 1970s were funk, soul, and other music genre,,,, and relatively inexpensive -style devices. In the 1980s and 1990s, beatmakers and producers used the new electronic and digital instruments that were developed, such as samplers, sequencers, drum machines, and synthesizers. From the 1970s to the 2010s, various beatmakers and producers have used live instruments, such as or on some tracks. To record the finished beats or beat tracks, beatmakers and producers use a variety of equipment, typically., also known as DAWs, became more common in the 2010s for producers. Some of the most used DAWs are,, and. DAWs have made it possible for more people to be able to make beats in their own home studio, without going to a. Beatmakers who own DAWs do not have to buy all the hardware that a recording studio needed in the 1980s (huge 72 channel audio consoles, multitrack recorders, racks of rackmount effects units), because 2010-era DAWs have everything they need to make beats on a good quality, fast laptop computer.

Beats are such an integral part of rap music that many producers have been able to make instrumental mixtapes or albums. Even though these instrumentals have no rapping, listeners still enjoy the inventive ways the producer mixes different beats, samples and instrumental melodies. Examples of these are 's "" and 's "Donuts". Some hip hop records come in two versions: a beat with rapping over it, and an instrumental with just the beat. The instrumental in this case is provided so that DJs and turntablists can isolate breaks, beats and other music to create new songs.

Social impact[]


Hip hop has made a considerable social impact since its inception in the 1970s. "Hip hop has also become relevant to the field of education because of its implications for understanding language, learning, identity, and curriculum.", a sociology professor at, helps describe the phenomenon of how hip hop has spread rapidly around the world. Patterson argues that mass communication is controlled by the wealthy, the government, and major businesses in nations and countries around the world. He also credits mass communication with creating a global cultural hip hop scene. As a result, the youth are influenced by the American hip hop scene and start their own forms of hip hop. Patterson believes that revitalization of hip hop music will occur around the world as traditional values are mixed with American hip hop music, and ultimately a global exchange process will develop that brings youth around the world to listen to a common musical form of hip hop.

It has also been argued that rap music formed as a "cultural response to historic oppression and racism, a system for communication among black communities throughout the United States". This is due to the fact that the culture reflected the social, economic and political realities of the disenfranchized youth. In the 2010s, hip hop lyrics are starting to reflect original socially conscious themes. Rappers are starting to question the government's power and its oppressive role in some societies. Rap music has been a tool for political, social, and cultural empowerment outside the US. Members of minority communities—such as Algerians in France, and Turks in Germany—use rap as a platform to protest racism, poverty, and social structures.


The development of hip hop linguistics is complex. Source material include the spirituals of slaves arriving in the new world, Jamaican dub music, the laments of jazz and blues singers, patterned cockney slang and radio deejays hyping their audience using rhymes.Hip hop has a distinctive associated slang. It is also known by alternate names, such as "Black English", or "". Academics suggest its development stems from a rejection of the racial hierarchy of language, which held "White English" as the superior form of educated speech. Due to hip hop's commercial success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many of these words have been assimilated into the cultural discourse of several different dialects across America and the world and even to non-hip hop fans. The word for example is particularly prolific. There are also a number of words which predate hip hop, but are often associated with the culture, with being a notable example. Sometimes, terms like what the dilly, yo are popularized by a single song (in this case, "" by ) and are only used briefly. One particular example is the rule-based slang of and, who add -izzle or -izz to the end or middle of words.

Hip hop lyricism has gained a measure of legitimacy in and literary circles. Studies of hip hop linguistics are now offered at institutions such as the, where poet and author George Eliot Clarke has taught the potential power of hip hop music to promote social change. Greg Thomas of the offers courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level studying the feminist and assertive nature of 's lyrics. Some academics, including Ernest Morrell and Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade, compare hip hop to the satirical works of great "" poets of the modern era, who use imagery and create a mood to criticize society. As quoted in their work "Promoting Academic Literacy with Urban Youth Through Engaging Hip Hop Culture":

Hip hop texts are rich in imagery and metaphor and can be used to teach irony, tone, diction, and point of view. Hip hop texts can be analyzed for theme, motif, plot, and character development. Both Grand Master Flash and T.S. Eliot gazed out into their rapidly deteriorating societies and saw a "wasteland." Both poets were essentially apocalyptic in nature as they witnessed death, disease, and decay. ”

Hip Hop lyrics have also been known for containing swear words. In particular, the word "bitch" is seen in countless songs, from NWA's "A Bitch Iz a bitch" to Missy Elliot's "She is a Bitch." It is often used in the negative connotation of a woman who is a shallow "money grubber". Some female artists have tried to reclaim the word and use it as a term of empowerment. Regardless, the hip hop community has recently taken an interest in discussing the use of the word "bitch" and whether it is necessary in rap. Not only the particular words, but also the choice of which language in which rap is widely debated topic in international hip hop. In Canada, the use of non-standard variants of French, such as, a mix of French and English, by groups such as ) or (such as ) has powerful symbolic implications for Canadian language politics and debates on. In the United States rappers choose to rap in English,, or, depending on their own backgrounds and their intended audience.


A artist uses his artwork to make a satirical social statement on censorship: "Don't blame yourself... blame hip hop!"

Hip hop music has been censored on radio and TV due to the explicit lyrics of certain genres. Many songs have been criticized for and sometimes violent messages. The use of as well as graphic depictions of violence and sex in hip hop music videos and songs makes it hard to broadcast on television stations such as MTV, in music video form, and on radio. As a result, many hip hop recordings are broadcast in censored form, with offending language "bleeped" or blanked out of the soundtrack, or replaced with "clean" lyrics. The result – which sometimes renders the remaining lyrics unintelligible or contradictory to the original recording – has become almost as widely identified with the genre as any other aspect of the music, and has been parodied in films such as, in which ' character Dr. Evil – performing in a parody of a hip hop music video ("" by ) – performs an entire verse that is blanked out. In 1995, wrote:

“ Rap has a bad reputation in white circles, where many people believe it consists of obscene and violent anti-white and guttural. Some of it does. Most does not. Most white listeners don't care; they hear black voices in a litany of discontent, and tune out. Yet rap plays the same role today as did in 1960, giving voice to the hopes and angers of a generation, and a lot of rap is powerful writing. ”

In 1990, and his group filed a lawsuit against Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro, because Navarro wanted to prosecute stores that sold the group's album because of its obscene and vulgar lyrics. In June 1990, a judge labeled the album obscene and illegal to sell. However, in 1992, the overturned the obscenity ruling from Judge Gonzalez, and the refused to hear Broward County's appeal. Professor Louis Gates testified on behalf of The 2 Live Crew, arguing that the material that the county alleged was profane actually had important roots in vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected.

Many black rappers--including Ice-T and Sister Souljah--contend that they are being unfairly singled out because their music reflects deep changes in society not being addressed anywhere else in the public forum. The white politicians, the artists complain, neither understand the music nor desire to hear what's going on in the devastated communities that gave birth to the art form.

—,, 1992

Gangsta rap is a of hip hop that reflects the violent culture of inner-city American black youths. The genre was pioneered in the mid-1980s by rappers such as and, and was popularized in the later part of the 1980s by groups such as. Ice-T released "", which is often regarded as the first gangsta rap song, in 1986. After the national attention that Ice-T and N.W.A created in the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop.

is the group most frequently associated with the founding of gangsta rap. Their lyrics were more violent, openly confrontational, and shocking than those of established rap acts, featuring incessant profanity and, controversially, use of the word "". These lyrics were placed over rough, rock guitar-driven beats, contributing to the music's hard-edged feel. The first blockbuster gangsta rap album was N.W.A's, released in 1988. would establish as a vital genre, and establish as a legitimate rival to hip hop's long-time capital, New York City. Straight Outta Compton sparked the first major controversy regarding hip hop lyrics when their song "" earned a letter from Assistant Director Milt Ahlerich, strongly expressing 's resentment of the song.

Controversy surrounded Ice-T's song "" from the album. The song was intended to speak from the viewpoint of a criminal getting revenge on racist, brutal cops. Ice-T's rock song infuriated government officials, the and various police advocacy groups. Consequently, refused to release Ice-T's upcoming album because of the controversy surrounding "Cop Killer". Ice-T suggested that the furor over the song was an overreaction, telling journalist Chuck Philips "...they've done movies about nurse killers and teacher killers and student killers. [Actor] blew away dozens of cops as. But I don't hear anybody complaining about that." suggested to Philips that the misunderstanding of "Cop Killer" and the attempts to censor it had racial overtones: "The Supreme Court says it's OK for a white man to burn a cross in public. But nobody wants a black man to write a record about a cop killer."

The White House administrations of both senior and criticized the genre. "The reason why rap is under attack is because it exposes all the contradictions of American culture...What started out as an underground art form has become a vehicle to expose a lot of critical issues that are not usually discussed in American politics. The problem here is that the White House and wanna-bes like Bill Clinton represent a political system that never intends to deal with inner city urban chaos," Sister Souljah told The Times. Until its discontinuation on July 8, 2006, ran a late-night segment titled to air nearly-uncensored videos. The show was exemplified by music videos such as "" by, which was criticized for what many viewed as an exploitative depiction of women, particularly images of a man swiping a credit card between a stripper's buttocks.

's "Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need" was censored on, removing the words "free ". After the attack on the on September 11, 2001, group was under fire for the cover art on their album, which featured the group's two members holding a guitar tuner and two sticks as the Twin Towers exploded behind them despite the fact that it was created months before the actual event. The group, having politically radical and lyrical content, said the cover meant to symbolize the destruction of capitalism. pulled the album until a new cover could be designed.

Product placement and endorsements[]

packages featuring hip hop-design images (showing and based on the film )

Critics such as 's David Kiley argue that the discussion of products within hip hop culture may actually be the result of undisclosed product placement deals. Such critics allege that or takes place in commercial rap music, and that lyrical references to products are actually paid endorsements. In 2005, a proposed plan by to pay rappers to advertise McDonald's products in their music was leaked to the press. After made a deal with to promote the brand among hip hop fans, recorded the song "Pass the Courvoisier". Simmons insists that no money changed hands in the deal.

in front of a billboard at a festival sponsored by the soda pop company.

The symbiotic relationship has also stretched to include car manufacturers, clothing designers and sneaker companies, and many other companies have used the hip hop community to make their name or to give them credibility. One such beneficiary was, a diamond merchant from New York. Jacob Arabo's clientele included, and. He created jewelry pieces from precious metals that were heavily loaded with diamond and gemstones. As his name was mentioned in the song lyrics of his hip hop customers, his profile quickly rose. Arabo expanded his brand to include gem-encrusted watches that retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, gaining so much attention that filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against him for putting diamonds on the faces of their watches and reselling them without permission. Arabo's profile increased steadily until his June 2006 arrest by the on charges.

Rapper has endorsed a line of expensive, high-quality headphones and other audio gear called "beats", which bear his name.

While some brands welcome the support of the hip hop community, one brand that did not was champagne maker. A 2006 article from magazine featured remarks from managing director Frederic Rouzaud about whether the brand's identification with rap stars could affect their company negatively. His answer was dismissive: "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure or [champagne] would be delighted to have their business." In retaliation, many hip hop icons such as and, who previously included references to "Cris", ceased all mentions and purchases of the champagne. 's deal with, 's promotion of his headphone line and, and 's commercial with are successful deals. Although product placement deals were not popular in the 1980s, was an early innovator in this type of strategy. With merchandise such as dolls, commercials for soft drinks and numerous television show appearances, Hammer began the trend of rap artists being accepted as for brands.


Hip hop culture has had extensive coverage in the media, especially in relation to television; there have been a number of television shows devoted to or about hip hop, including in Europe ("" in 1984). For many years, was the only television channel likely to play hip hop, but in recent years[] the channels and MTV have added a significant amount of hip hop to their play list. Run DMC became the first group to appear on MTV. With the emergence of the Internet, a number of online sites began to offer hip hop related video content.


Hip hop magazines describe hip hop's culture, including information about rappers and MCs, new hip hop music, concerts, events, fashion and history. The first hip hop publication, The Hip Hop Hit List was published in the 1980s. It contained the first rap music record chart. It was put out by two brothers from Newark, New Jersey, Vincent and Charles Carroll (who was also in a hip hop group known as ). They knew the art form very well and noticed the need for a hip hop magazine. DJs and rappers did not have a way to learn about rap music styles and labels. The periodical began as the first Rap record chart and tip sheet for DJs and was distributed through national record pools and record stores throughout the New York City Tri-State area. One of the founding publishers, Charles Carroll noted, "Back then, all DJs came into New York City to buy their records but most of them did not know what was hot enough to spend money on, so we charted it." Jae Burnett became Vincent Carroll's partner and played an instrumental role in its later development.

The German hip hop magazine.

New York tourists from abroad took the publication back home with them to other countries to share it, creating worldwide interest in the culture and new art form.[] It had a printed distribution of 50,000, a circulation rate of 200,000 with well over 25,000 subscribers. The "Hip Hop Hit List" was also the first to define hip hop as a culture introducing the many aspects of the art form such as fashion, music, dance, the arts and most importantly the language. For instance, on the cover the headliner included the tag "All Literature was Produced to Meet Street Comprehension!" which proved their loyalty not only to the culture but also to the streets. Most interviews were written verbatim which included their innovative broken English style of writing. Some of the early charts were written in the graffiti format tag style but was made legible enough for the masses.[]

The Carroll Brothers were also consultants to the many record companies who had no idea how to market hip hop music. Vincent Carroll, the magazine's creator-publisher, went on to become a huge source for marketing and promoting the culture of hip hop, starting Blow-Up Media, the first hip hop marketing firm with offices in NYC's Tribeca district. At the age of 21, Vincent employed a staff of 15 and assisted in launching some of the culture's biggest and brightest stars (the Fugees, Nelly, the Outzidaz, feat. Eminem and many more).[] Later other publications spawned up including:,,, and. Many individual cities have also produced their own local hip hop newsletters, while hip hop magazines with national distribution are found in a few other countries. The 21st century also ushered in the rise of online media, and hip hop fan sites now offer comprehensive hip hop coverage on a daily basis.


Clothing, hair and other styles have been a big part of hip hop's social and cultural impact since the 1970s. Although the styles have changed over the decades, distinctive urban apparel and looks have been an important way for rappers, breakdancers and other hip hop community members to express themselves. As the hip hop music genre's popularity increased, so did the effect of its fashion. While there were early items synonymous with hip hop that crossed over into the mainstream culture, like Run-DMC's affinity for or the Wu-Tang Clan's championing of Clarks’, it wasn’t until its commercial peak that became influential. Starting in the mid- to late 1990s, hip hop culture embraced some major designers and established a new connection with classic fashion. Brands such as, and all tapped into hip hop culture and gave very little in return. Moving into the new millennium, hip hop fashion consisted of baggy shirts, jeans, and jerseys. As names like Pharrell and Jay-Z started their own clothing lines and still others like Kanye West linked up with designers like, the clothes got tighter, more classically fashionable, and expensive.

As hip hop has a seen a shift in the means by which its artists express their masculinity, from violence and intimidation to wealth-flaunting and entrepreneurship, it has also seen the emergence of rapper branding. The modern-day hip hop artist is no longer limited to music serving as their sole occupation or source of income. By the early 1990s, major apparel companies "[had] realized the economic potential of tapping into hip hop culture...Tommy Hilfiger was one of the first major fashion designer[s] who actively courted rappers as a way of promoting his ". By joining forces, the artist and the corporation are able to jointly benefit from each other's resources. Hip Hop artists are trend-setters and taste-makers. Their fans range from minority groups who can relate to their professed struggles to majority groups who cannot truly relate but like to "consume the fantasy of living a more masculine life". The rappers provide the "cool, hip" factor while the corporations deliver the product, advertising, and financial assets. Tommy Hilfiger, one of the first mainstream designers to actively court rappers as a way of promoting his street wear, serves a prototypical example of the hip hip/fashion collaborations:

“ In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both rhyming verses of rap songs and their ‘shout-out’ lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support. Hilfiger's success convinced other large mainstream American fashion design companies, like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, to tailor lines to the lucrative market of hip hop artists and fans. ”

Artists now use brands as a means of supplemental income to their music or are creating and expanding their own brands that become their primary source of income. As Harry Elam explains, there has been a movement "from the incorporation and redefinition of existing trends to actually designing and marketing products as hip hop fashion".


Main article:

Hip hop music has spawned dozens of subgenres which incorporate hip hop music production approaches, such as, creating beats, or rapping. The diversification process stems from the appropriation of hip hop culture by other ethnic groups. There are many varying social influences that affect hip hop's message in different nations. It is frequently used as a musical response to perceived political and/or social injustices. In South Africa the largest form of hip hop is called, which has had a growth similar to American hip hop. Kwaito is a direct reflection of a post apartheid South Africa and is a voice for the voiceless; a term that U.S. hip hop is often referred to. Kwaito is even perceived as a lifestyle, encompassing many aspects of life, including language and fashion.

Kwaito is a political and party-driven genre, as performers use the music to express their political views, and also to express their desire to have a good time. Kwaito is a music that came from a once hated and oppressed people, but it is now sweeping the nation. The main consumers of Kwaito are adolescents and half of the South African population is under 21. Some of the large Kwaito artists have sold more than 100,000 albums, and in an industry where 25,000 albums sold is considered a gold record, those are impressive numbers. Kwaito allows the participation and creative engagement of otherwise socially excluded peoples in the generation of popular media. South African hip hop is more diverse lately and there are hip hop acts in South Africa that have made an impact and continue making impact worldwide. These include,,,.

In, the sounds of hip hop are derived from American and Jamaican influences. Jamaican hip hop is defined both through dancehall and reggae music. Jamaican brought the sound systems, technology, and techniques of music to New York during the 1970s. Jamaican hip hop artists often rap in both Brooklyn and Jamaican accents. Jamaican hip hop subject matter is often influenced by outside and internal forces. Outside forces such as the bling-bling era of today's modern hip hop and internal influences coming from the use of anti-colonialism and marijuana or "ganja" references which believe bring them closer to God.

Author argues that "Hip hop, as with any number of African-American cultural forms before it, offers a range of compelling and contradictory significations to Jamaican artist and audiences. From "modern blackness" to "foreign mind", transnational cosmopolitanism to militant, radical remixology to outright mimicry, hip hop in Jamaica embodies the myriad ways that Jamaicans embrace, reject, and incorporate foreign yet familiar forms."

In the developing world, hip hop has made a considerable impact in the social context. Despite the lack of resources, hip hop has made considerable inroads. Due to limited funds, hip hop artists are forced to use very basic tools, and even graffiti, an important aspect of the hip hop culture, is constrained due to its unavailability to the average person. Hip hop has begun making inroads with more than black artists. There are number of other minority artists who are taking center stage as many first generation minority children come of age. One example is rapper Awkwafina, an, who raps about being Asian as well as being female. She, like many others, use rap to express her experiences as a minority not necessarily to "unite" minorities together but to tell her story. Many hip hop artists that make it out of the developing world come to places like the United States in hopes of improving their situations. is a -born Tamil hip hop artist in this situation. She claims, "I'm just trying to build some sort of bridge, I'm trying to create a third place, somewhere in between the developed world and the developing world.". Another music artist using hip hop to provide a positive message to young Africans is, who is a former child soldier from. Jal is one of the few South Sudanese music artists to have broken through on an international level with his unique form of hip hop and a positive message in his lyrics. Jal has attracted the attention of mainstream media and academics with his story and use of hip hop as a healing medium for war-afflicted people in Africa and has also been sought out for the international lecture circuit with major talks at popular talkfests like.

Many artists in have been influenced by hip hop. Many South Koreans perform hip hop music. In, South Korea, Koreans b-boy.


Scholars argue that hip hop can have an empowering effect on youth. While there is misogyny, violence, and drug use in rap music videos and lyrics, hip hop also displays many positive themes of self-reliance, resilience, and self-esteem. These messages can be inspiring for a youth living in poverty. A lot of rap songs contain references to strengthening the African American community promoting social causes. Social workers have used hip hop to build a relationship with at-risk youth and develop a deeper connection with the child.Hip hop has the potential to be taught as a way of helping people see the world more critically, be it through forms of writing, creating music, or social activism. The lyrics of hip hop have been used to learn about literary devices such as metaphor, imagery, irony, tone, theme, motif, plot, and point of view.

Organizations and facilities are providing spaces and programs for communities to explore making and learning about hip hop. An example is the in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Many dance studios and colleges now offer lessons in hip hop alongside and ballet, as well as teaching hip hop lectures at Harvard University. Hip hop producer and former rapper-actor from hip hop group have taught hip hop history classes at and 9th Wonder has also taught a "Hip Hop Sampling Soul" class at. In 2007, the established a Hip Hop Collection to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of hip hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations.

Values and philosophy[]


Since the age of slavery, music has long been the language of African American identity. Because reading and writing were forbidden under the auspices of slavery, music became the only accessible form of communication. Hundreds of years later, in inner-city neighborhoods plagued by high illiteracy and dropout rates, music remains the most dependable medium of expression. Hip Hop is thus to the Hood as Negro Spirituals are to the Plantation: the emergent music articulates the terrors of one’s environment better than written, or spoken word, thereby forging an “unquestioned association of oppression with creativity [that] is endemic” to African American culture”. In hip hop culture, it is thus considered essential to "keep it real" or to be to the lived experiences of people from disadvantaged neighborhoods ("the Ghetto"). Despite the fact that hip hop artists typically use imagined scenarios and fictionalized stories in their raps, the culture demands that they act as if all their lyrics are true or potentially true. Because of this, lyrics of rap songs have often been treated as "confessions" to a number of violent crimes in the United States. It is also considered to be the duty of rappers and other hip hop artists (DJs, dancers) to "represent" their city and neighborhood. This demands being proud of being from disadvantaged cities neighborhoods that have traditionally been a source of shame, and glorifying them in lyrics and graffiti. This has potentially been one of the ways that hip hop has become regarded as a "local" rather than "foreign" genre of music in so many countries around the world in just a few decades. Nevertheless, sampling and borrowing from a number of genres and places is also a part of the hip hop milieu, and an album like the surprise hit by Anglo-Tamil rapper was recorded in locations all across the world and features sounds from a different country on every track.

According to scholar Joseph Schloss, the essentialist perspective of Hip Hop conspicuously obfuscates the role that individual style and pleasure plays in the development of the genre. Schloss notes that Hip Hop is forever fossilized as an inevitable cultural emergent, as if “none of hip-hop’s innovators had been born, a different group of poor black youth from the Bronx would have developed hip-hop in exactly the same way”. However, while the pervasive oppressive conditions of the Bronx were likely to produce another group of disadvantaged youth, he questions whether they would be equally interested, nonetheless willing to put in as much time and energy into making music as Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa. He thus concludes that Hip Hop was a result of choice, not fate, and that when individual contributions and artistic preferences are ignored, the genre’s origin becomes overly attributed to collective cultural oppression.


Graffiti depicting US rapper. Larry Nager of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that 50 Cent has "earned the right to use the trappings of – the macho posturing, the guns, the drugs, the big cars and magnums of champagne. He's not a pretending to be a gangsta; he's the real thing."

Hip hop music artists and advocates have stated that hip hop has been an (true and "real") African-American artistic and cultural form since its emergence in inner-city Bronx neighborhoods in the 1970s. Some music critics, scholars and political commentators[] have denied hip hop's authenticity. Advocates who claim hip hop is an authentic music genre state that it is an ongoing response to the violence and discrimination experienced by black people in the United States, from the that existed into the 19th century, to the of the 20th century and the ongoing faced by blacks.[]

and state that unlike,,,, and other genres that were developed in the African-American community and which were quickly adopted and then increasingly controlled by white music industry executives, hip hop has remained largely controlled by African American artists, producers and executives. In his book, Phonographies, Weheliye describes the political and cultural affiliations that hip hop music enables. In contrast, states that the market-driven, commodity form of commercial hip hop has uprooted the genre from the celebration of African-American culture and the messages of protest that predominated in its early forms. Tate states that the commodification and commercialization of hip hop culture undermines the dynamism of the genre for African-American communities.

These two dissenting understandings of hip hop's scope and influence frame debates that revolve around hip hop's possession of or lack of authenticity. Anticipating the market arguments of Tate and others, both Gilroy and Weheliye assert that hip hop has always had a different function than Western as a whole, a function that exceeds the constraints of market capitalism. Weheliye notes, "Popular music, generally in the form of recordings, has and still continues to function as one of the main channels of communication between the different geographical and cultural points in the, allowing artists to articulate and perform their diasporic citizenship to international audiences and establish conversations with other diasporic communities." For Paul Gilroy, hip hop proves an outlet of articulation and a sonic space in which African Americans can exert control and influence that they often lack in other sociopolitical and economic domains.

In "Phonographies", Weheyliye explains how new sound technologies used in hip hop encourage "diasporic citizenship" and African-American cultural and political activities. Gilroy states that the "power of [hip hop] music [lies] in developing black struggles by communicating information, organizing consciousness, and testing out or deploying...individual or collective" forms of African-American cultural and political actions. In the third chapter of The Black Atlantic, "Jewels Brought from Bondage: Black Music and the Politics of Authenticity", Gilroy asserts that these elements influence the production of and the interpretation of black cultural activities. What Gilroy calls the "Black Atlantic" music's rituals and traditions are a more expansive way of thinking about African-American "blackness", a way that moves beyond contemporary debates around arguments. As such, Gilroy states that music has been and remains a central staging ground for debates over the work, responsibility, and future role of black cultural and artistic production.

Traditional vs. progressive views[]

Ever since the over-commercialization of hip hop occurred between the late 1980s and the mid 1990s (at peak), traditional hip hop supporters have been in a feud with more progressive hip hop fans, claiming that they are uneducated towards what they are building. The traditionalists also claim that progressives are not only building music that steps further and further away from Hip Hop, but causes ignorance and misconceptions between fans of more progressive Hip Hop and fans of traditional Hip Hop culture. These views have been narrowed heavily over the past couple of years and have experienced change of views from the traditional side, as well as acceptance towards evolution of hip hop.

However, all of these beliefs seem to still be viewed under very specific sets of morals and ethics. Such as that one does not take themselves away, or deny the true past of hip hop (doing such would result in ignorance of the history of hip hop, and a completely disconnected community of fans who become uncertain as to what truly should be considered hip hop). Hip hop is also known to be the of the (African Americans, Puerto Ricans and women) and based. Fans of more progressed Hip Hop have received both acclaim due to innovation and futuristic views, as well as strong criticism due to lack of proper education and what is felt as a completely changed form of values, rather than evolved.

Like most grassroots cultures, hip hop initially rejected the views and support of the mainstream industry, however eventually learned to be content due to the understanding of what opportunity and voice could be given. The Father of Hip Hop, recently criticized the cancelled series due to its lack of viewer response, by calling it 'The Let Down' and that legendary hip hop DJ is Grandmaster Trash. Herc criticized the whole production for their misrepresentations of history and culture.

However, he did state that he does support many stars in rap today such as and. Herc, and many other legends such as and originally held views against mainstream rap. However, recent interviews have shown to prove that even they have changed their ways to a certain extent. However, rappers like still feel a strong disapproval of the rap industry, especially through mainstream media.

In, most supporters have begun to slowly involve more industry sponsorship through events on the and through the UDEF powered by Silverback Open. Other b-boys have begun to accept using the term breakdance, but only if the term b-boying is too difficult to communicate to the general public. Regardless of such, b-boys and b-girls still exist to showing lack of support to jams and events that they feel represent the culture as a sport, form of entertainment and as well through. as an industry has also been strongly supported by old-school/ golden-era legends such as Herc, and.


Commercialization and stereotyping[]

In 2012, hip hop and rap pioneer, from the group criticized young hip hop artists from the 2010s, stating that they have taken a music genre with extensive roots in and turned it into commercialized pop music. In particular, seminal figures in the early underground, politically-motivated music, such as, have criticized current hip hop artists for being more concerned with image than substance. Critics have stated that 2010s hip hop artists are contributing to cultural stereotyping of African-American culture and are gangsters. Critics have also stated that hip hop music promotes drug use and violence.

Hip hop has been criticized by critics who state that hip hop is not a true art form and who state that rock and roll music is more. These critics are advocating a viewpoint called "" which favors music written and performed by the individual artist (as seen in some famous -led rock bands) and is against 2000s (decade)-era hip hop, which these critics argue give too large a role to and digital. Hip hop is seen as being too violent and explicit, in comparison with rock. Some contend that the criticisms have racial overtones, as these critics deny that hip hop is an art form and praising rock genres that prominently feature white males.

Marginalization of women[]

Hip hop artist has been successful as a solo performer and as a member of the. This photo shows her performing at the in 2012.

The hip hop music genre and its subculture has been criticized for its and its negative impacts on women in African-American culture. artists such as, and have song lyrics that portray women as sex toys, and as people who are inferior to and dependent on men (though Eazy-E is deceased, Dr. Dre makes music less frequently sine about the '90s and has apologized for his views which carried over into actuality, and Snoop Dogg has become extremely diversified and changed his image in a positive way.) Between 1987 and 1993, over 400 hip hop songs had lyrics that described violence toward women including rape, assault, and murder. These anti-women hip hop lyrics have led some male listeners to make physical threats toward women and they have created negative stereotypes of young urban African-American women.Hip hop music promotes masculine hegemony and it depicts women as individuals who must rely on men. The portrayal of women in hip hop lyrics and videos tends to be violent, degrading, and highly sexualized. There is a high frequency of songs with lyrics that are demeaning, or depict sexual violence or sexual assault towards women. Videos often portray idealized female bodies and depict women as being the.

Very few female artists have been recognized in hip hop, and the most popular, successful and influential artists, and music executives are males. Women who are in rap groups, such as of the, tend to have less advantages and opportunities than male artists. Female artists have received little to no recognition in hip hop. Only one female artist has won Best Rap album of the year at the since the category was added in 1995. In addition, African American female hip hop artists have been recognized even less in the industry.

Marginalization of Latinas[]

Main article:

Latinas especially Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican women are degraded and fetishized in hip hop. White women and Asian women are also fetishized in hip hop but not as much as Latinas, who are referred to as “Spanish”. Latinas especially Puerto Rican models and Dominican models are often portrayed as a object of sexual desire in hip hop videos.

Homophobia and transphobia[]

Main article:

As well, the hip hop music community has been criticized for its and.Hip hop song lyrics contain offensive, homophobic slurs (most popularly, the pejorative term "") and sometimes violent threats towards people, such as rapper 's "Where the Hood At," rapper 's "Nobody Move," rap group 's "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down". Many rappers and hip hop artists have advocated homophobia and/or transphobia. These artists include, who in an interview claimed,"We need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and let's talk about all these fucking shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can’t watch this shit," and rap artist, who has said publicly,"[Hip hop] will never accept transgender rappers." Until the 2010s, hip hop music has excluded the. This has perpetuated a culture in hip hop that is prejudiced towards queer and trans people, making it a tough culture for queer artists to participate in. Despite this prejudice, some queer/ rappers and hip hop artists have become successful and popular in the 2010s. One of the more notable members of the LGBT community in hip hop is, who in 2012 and has released critically acclaimed albums and won two Grammy Awards. Other successful queer hip hop/rap artists include female bisexual rapper, pansexual androgynous rapper and singer, lesbian rapper, and genderqueer rapper.[]

Having its roots in,, and, hip hop has since expanded worldwide. Its expansion includes events like Afrika Bambaataa's 1982 releasing of, which tried to establish a more global harmony. In the 1980s, the British became the first international hit hip hop artist not native to America.[] From the 1980s onward, television made hip hop global. From to Public Enemy's world tour, hip hop spread to Latin America and became a mainstream culture. Hip hop has been cut, mixed and adapted as it the music spreads to new areas.[]

Early hip hop[] may have reduced inner-city gang violence by replacing physical violence with hip hop battles of breakdancing, turntablism, rapping and artwork. However, with the emergence of commercial and crime-related during the early 1990s, violence, drugs, weapons, and, were key themes. Socially and politically conscious hip hop has long been disregarded by mainstream America in favor of its media-baiting sibling,. artists attempt to reflect the original elements of the culture. Artists/groups such as,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, emphasize messages of verbal skill, internal/external conflicts, life lessons, unity, social issues, or activism.

Black female artists such as,, and have made great strides since the hip hop industry first began. By producing music and an image that did not cater to the hyper-sexualized stereotypes of black women in hip hop, these women pioneered a revitalized and empowering image of black women in hip hop. Though many hip hop artists have embraced the ideals that effectively disenfranchize black female artists, many others choose to employ forms of resistance that counteract these negative portrayals of women in hip hop and offer a different narrative. These artists seek to expand ways of traditional thinking through different ways of cultural expression. In this effort they hope to elicit a response to female hip hop artists not with a misogynist but with one that validates women's struggle.

Many have written about these intersections of hip-hop and feminism. One such example is Savannah Shange's article on Nicki Minaj entitled A King Named Nicki: Strategic queerness and the black femmecee. In her article, Shange discusses the inability to categorize Nicki Minaj’s music as either specifically hetero or homosexual. She ways that Nicki uses a sort of strategic queerness to that uses her sex appeal both ways to attract her audience. Shange writes how even when looking at Nicki’s music and persona from a homonormative lens, she defies categorization. She goes on to describe how Minaj “is a rapper whose critical, strategic performance of queer femininity is inextricable linked to the production and reception of their rhymes.” In this way, Nicki Minaj's performative style enables her to make similarly great strides as those who came before her.

For women, artists such as Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, Young M.A. and others are providing mentorship for new female MCs. In addition, there is a vibrant scene outside the mainstream that provides an opportunity for women and their music to flourish. Rap music has the power to influence how we view black women in our society. Queen Latifah used her award-winning song "U.N.I.T.Y.”" to support to other women and to inform of the presence of women in the hip hop genre. However, many contemporary females in hip hop do not embody this mindset and counteract it. In 2014, was the first White female rapper to go mainstream and was the first White female rapper to have a number-one hit with “” in history.

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  • Kitwana, Bakari (2005). Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes and the New Reality of Race in America. New York City, New York: Basic Civitas Books.  . 
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Further reading[]

  • Chang, Jeff. Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. Basic Books, 2008.
  • Fitzgerald, Tamsin. Hip-Hop and Urban Dance. Heineman Library, 2008.
  • Shapiro, Peter. The Rough Guide to Hip-hop. Rough Guides, 2005.

External links[]

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