How Hip Hop Continues Its Influence in 2020

Aside from romanticizing violence and poverty, one of the criticisms for hip hop was its misogynistic approach to women. The prejudice was evident in music videos and lyrical content. In the 1990s, hip hop lyrics shifted to misogyny, violence, and drugs, and the term “gangsta rap” was born. Hip hop music has also been censored on music TVs and radio due to its explicit content. Considered as anti-white or anti-female, the use of profanity, sexual depictions, including violence and drugs often caused most lyrics to be bleeped out or replaced. However, removing these omitted words makes the lyrics unintelligible or contradictory to the original recording.

Hip hop American group N.W.A. is considered the founder of gangsta rap. This subgenre of hip hop is openly confrontational, more violent, and incites controversy. It features constant profanity and use of the word “nigga”. In 1990, Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro wanted to prosecute stores selling 2 Live Crew’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be because of its vulgar and obscene lyrics. The group leader, Luther Campbell, filed a lawsuit against Navarro for this. U.S. district court judge Gonzalez ruled in favor of Navarro and labeled the album too obscene for the public. 2 Live Crew argued that the material in question had important roots in African American traditions and should be protected. After two years, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overruled Judge Gonzalez obscenity ruling.

Rap and hip hop ire bad rep because of its lyrics full of violence, swearing, and sex but that doesn’t have to be the case. Might be considered an oxymoron, but many Christian rappers joined the hip hop wagon. By choice, their songs have clean lyrics devoid of insults or swear words. Many hip hop songs from popular artists have clean version well suited for radio, streaming, and music televisions. Also, over the years, Black females artists such as Missy Elliot, Nicki Minaj, and Queen Latifah were able to penetrate the rap industry dominated by men. Nowadays, instead of gangsta rap, many hip hop artists focus more on the messages of life lessons, unity, and social issues relevant in today’s world.

Just in time of hip hop’s birth 50 years ago, Microsoft, Penn Credit, and the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality together with legendary hip hop artists collaborated to open a museum dedicated to genre’s history and evolution over the years. According to Lonely Planet, the museum which will be located at the birthplace of hip hop Bronx in New York City will break ground later this year and projected to open by 2023, in time for hip hop’s 50th anniversary.

As Variety reported, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off a contribution of $3.7 million coming from the state’s economic and community development package. Dubbed the Universal Hip Hop Museum, visitors will dive deep into the genre’s history – from the 1970s to the present day, and be introduced to the first DJs, MCs, and all the iconic hip hop artists of all time. Museum director Rocky Bucano believes the importance of having a “home” for hip hop which has a rich influence on culture, advertising, and even politics. The Bronx is the most obvious location, of course. …

Read More →

How DJ’ing Ignited the Hip Hop Revolution

DJing (short for Disc Jockeying) or turntabling or scratching is the technique of phonograph turntables or other sound sources to create music and manipulate beats. As the story goes, Clive Campbell, a Jamaican DJ, also known in the Bronx community as DJ Kool Herc, was DJing at his sister’s party. He played hard funk, house, disco, dancehall – the usual party music, but the party was still dull. He noticed that the dancers were waiting for the break sections to hit the dance floor. Campbell then took two turntables, some thunderous speakers, and a guitar amplifier to cut up the middle section of records and fading them to one. The result was instantaneous and the technique he did still does its magical wonder until today.

MCing sometimes spelled as emcee, is short for Master of Ceremony. MC is the host of an event or party and responsible for introducing the performers, engage the audience, and overall considered to keep the show moving. In earlier hip hop culture, MC’s main task is just to get the crowd excited about the DJ. If he has to do any rhyming, that is only to talk about how great the DJ was. Most of the time, MC can’t be given the microphone unless the DJ gave his permission. 

B in B-boying stands for “break” which is a style of dance that was already being done in the late 60s but became popular in the 1970s to match DJ Kool Herc’s innovative “breaking” style of music. By the late 70s, b-boying or breakdancing competitions sprout on the streets of New York. This kind of dance competition was encouraged not only to further grow the hip hop movement but also to deter the use of violence in settling conflicts in the borough. 

The last major pillar of hip hop is writing. Although it is said that writing music is all about the words and the message, hip hop audience not only listen to songs to get entertained but also to learn what the artist has to say. Storytelling, wordplay, and use of metaphors are some of the techniques employed by many popular rap artists in their repertoire. Hip hop is the only genre in music that expects rappers to write their songs. 

The hip hop genre started its root at the Bronx, New York City as an underground movement to protest the injustices experienced by the Blacks and Latinos considered as marginalized minorities. Around 1977, the hip hop genre who was only popular along the streets of the Bronx started to attract mainstream media. Started as a jam for street and block parties, musicians started to turn their music into albums in the 1980s. Kurtis Blow and his single “The Breaks” became the first gold-certified rap song. In 1986, Beastie Boys’ Licensed to III became the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart. 

You can’t discuss the history of hip hop without mentioning Afrika Bambaataa who created and led Universal Zulu Nation (called “Organization” in the 1970s). Universal Zulu Nation aims to unite all hip hop groups and provide a supportive environment to the culture. With growing anger and restlessness felt by Latino and Black youths in New York in the 1970s, Bambaataa would organize block parties and break-dancing competitions to draw out angry kids from gangs. Bambaataa and his team of dancers, DJs, and artists were the first groups who went on the first hip hop tour outside the United States.  …

Read More →

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.…

Read More →