How Hip Hop Originated: A History

Hip hop is a genre of popular music originated from the United States and with earlier association with the Black community. Hip hop, as a culture, is now extended to dance, fashion, expression, and visual art. Hip, funk, and rowdy youths wearing baggy clothes are the first images that come to mind when you think of hip hop. As a language, hip hop musicians will use their slang to communicate their message which is usually riddled with grievances about social inequality, police, prison, drug, and violence. Hip hop is interchangeably called rap but as music fans point out, the latter is more about the poetry of words and hip hop is the music that accompanies rap. 

According to one explanation, the etymology of the name hip hop derived by combining the word hip meaning “trendy” or “in the know”, and hop which connotes “leap”, a movement usually exhibited by hip hop performers.

Another accepted theory is when Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, an American hip hop recording artist and a member of the pioneering rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, was teasing a friend who was going into the army. He kept on repeating the words hip/hop/hip/hop as if marching, and then vocally playing off that. It was later incorporated into songs and into his performances. Soon after, DJs and MCs used the term to introduce the type of music they’re performing. Lovebug Starski, DJ Hollywood, and The Sugarhill Gang are some of the groups and performers credited with popularizing the name.

How does hip hop compare with other music genres? No other type of music can pull a marketing campaign like hip hop. No wonder that corporate brands will partner with hip hop artists so their products can be used on music videos or their names be dropped in one of the lyrics. Rappers explicitly mention luxury brands of cars, clothing, and just about everything to signify upward financial mobility. Unlike pop or R&B, rap has allowed female hip hop artists to clap back in the same fashion as the dudes. They can curse and be raunchy, and no one will raise an eyebrow. You can’t expect this kind of leniency from any other genre. 

And while most genres talk about love and heartache, no other music discusses violence and pain as hip hop does. Rappers are not glorifying it, though, but merely talks about it as part of their everyday life. 

It is said that there is a total of seven elements in hip hop but only four are considered major pillars: Deejaying, MCing, B-boying, and Writing.