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9 Questions

What is the definition of hip hop culture?

What are the four key stylistic elements that define hip hop culture?

What is the origin of hip hop music?

What is the definition of rapping?

What was the first hip hop record to gain widespread popularity in the mainstream?

What is the TR-808 Rhythm Composer?

What is gangsta rap?

What was the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry?

What impact has hip hop had on popular culture?


The Origins and Evolution of Hip Hop Music

  • Hip hop music originated in the Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s as part of the hip hop culture.

  • The genre consists of rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted.

  • Hip hop culture is defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing.

  • The genre developed during block parties in New York City, particularly among African American youth residing in the Bronx.

  • Turntablist techniques such as scratching and beatmatching developed along with the breaks.

  • Rapping developed as a vocal style in which the artist speaks or chants along rhythmically with an instrumental or synthesized beat.

  • Hip hop music was not officially recorded for play on radio or television until 1979, largely due to poverty during the genre's birth and lack of acceptance outside ghetto neighborhoods.

  • Hip hop's early evolution occurred as sampling technology and drum machines became widely available and affordable.

  • The genre diversified in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of new school hip hop, golden age hip hop, gangsta rap, West Coast hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Southern rap, and Atlanta hip hop.

  • Hip hop became a best-selling genre in the mid-1990s and the top-selling music genre by 1999.

  • Hip hop influences have increasingly found their way into other genres of popular music, such as neo soul, nu metal, and R&B.

  • The trap and mumble rap subgenres have become the most popular form of hip hop during the mid-late 2010s and early 2020s, leading to hip hop becoming the most popular genre in the United States.The Origins and Evolution of Hip Hop Culture

  • Hip hop culture emerged as a way for inner-city youth, particularly African Americans, to deal with the hardships of life as minorities in America and an outlet to deal with the risk of violence and the rise of gang culture.

  • Early rap groups focused on social issues and gave young African Americans a voice to let their issues be heard.

  • Hip hop culture was opposed by conservatives because it was seen to romanticize violence, law-breaking, and gangs.

  • Sampling technology and drum-machines became widely available to the general public and were combined in machines that came to be known as MPC's or 'Music Production Centers.'

  • Turntablist techniques - such as rhythmic "scratching," beat mixing, and beat juggling - eventually developed along with the percussion breaks, creating a musical accompaniment or base that could be rapped over.

  • Rapping is a vocal style in which the artist speaks lyrically and rhythmically, in rhyme and verse, generally to an instrumental or synthesized beat.

  • The roots of rapping are found in African American music and bear similarities to traditional African music, particularly that of the griots of West African culture.

  • Jamaican DJs were the first to incorporate rapping into their music, and their style influenced early hip hop culture in the United States.

  • DJ Kool Herc and Coke La Rock provided an influence on the vocal style of rapping by delivering simple poetry verses over funk music breaks.

  • The MCs grew more varied in their vocal and rhythmic delivery, incorporating brief rhymes, often with a sexual or scatological theme, in an effort to differentiate themselves and to entertain the audience.

  • B-boying arose during block parties, as b-boys and now had a place to expend their pent-up energy.

  • Hip hop culture reflected the social, economic, and political realities of the lives of the disenfranchised youth of low-income and marginalized economic areas.The Development of Hip Hop Music

  • B-girls and B-boys danced in a distinctive and frenetic style, documented in documentaries and movies such as Style Wars, Wild Style, and Beat Street.

  • The term "B-boy" was coined by DJ Kool Herc to describe people who would wait for the break section of the song to show off their athleticism by "break-dancing."

  • The earliest hip hop music was performed live, and it was not recorded until the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" in 1979, regarded as the first hip hop record to gain widespread popularity in the mainstream.

  • Hip hop was influenced by disco music, but it was also a backlash against certain subgenres of late 1970s disco.

  • The 1980s marked the diversification of hip hop as the genre developed more complex styles, with artists such as Melle Mel, Rakim, Chuck D, KRS-One, and Warp 9 revolutionizing hip hop by transforming it into a more mature art form.

  • Early independent record labels like Tommy Boy, Prism Records, and Profile Records became successful in the early 1980s, releasing records in response to the demand generated by local radio stations and club DJs.

  • Sampling technology became more advanced, and the lyrical content and instrumental accompaniment of hip hop developed as well.

  • The Roland Corporation launched the TR-808 Rhythm Composer in 1980, one of the earliest programmable drum machines, which became a cornerstone of the emerging electronic, dance, and hip hop genres.

  • Hip hop music spread internationally during the 1980s, becoming a part of the music scene in dozens of countries.

  • B-boying became the first aspect of hip hop culture to reach Japan, Australia, and South Africa, while in France, Sidney became the father of French hip hop.

  • Hip hop has always kept a close relationship with the Latino community in New York, and Cypress Hill was formed in 1988 in Los Angeles, with members from Cuba, Mexico, and the US.

  • Japanese hip hop began when Hiroshi Fujiwara returned to Japan and started playing hip hop records in the early 1980s, and it became one of the most commercially viable mainstream music genres in Japan.

  • The new school of hip hop was the second wave of hip hop music, originating in 1983–84 with the early records of Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J.A Brief History of Hip Hop Music

  • The "old school" era of hip hop emerged in the 1970s and was characterized by funk and disco influences, live bands, synthesizers, and "party rhymes".

  • The "new school" era of hip hop emerged in the early 1980s and was characterized by drum machine-led minimalism, rock music influences, aggressive, self-assertive style, and socio-political commentary.

  • The "golden age" of hip hop occurred between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s and was characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation, and influence. It featured themes of Afrocentrism and political militancy and had strong jazz influences.

  • Gangsta rap emerged in the mid-1980s and reflected the violent lifestyles of inner-city American black youths. It was popularized by groups like N.W.A. and became the most commercially-lucrative subgenre of hip hop.

  • Hip hop's mainstream breakthrough occurred in 1990 with the success of Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet and MC Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em.

  • The East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry was a feud between artists and fans of the East Coast and West Coast hip hop scenes from 1991 to 1997.

  • East Coast hip hop was dominated by the Native Tongues posse in the early 1990s and was characterized by a mix of positive and darker material. The Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) revitalized the New York hip hop scene in 1993.

  • The success of Nas's Illmatic and Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die in 1994 cemented the status of the East Coast during a time of West Coast dominance.

  • The mid-1990s saw hip hop become the top selling music genre with 81 million CDs sold.

  • Hip hop has been described as a "mainstream subculture" due to its promotion of symbolic and conspicuous consumption, resistance, urban roots, battle rap, and solidarity within the African American community.

  • Hip hop has had a significant impact on popular culture, fashion, and language.


How much do you know about the origins and evolution of hip hop music? Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the history of the genre, from its roots in the Bronx in the early 1970s to its current status as the most popular genre in the United States. Explore the key stylistic elements of hip hop culture and the development of its subgenres, including new school, golden age, gangsta rap, and East Coast and West Coast hip hop. Discover the impact of hip hop

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