Blog #39
Blog #24: Genre of the week
Hip Hop
Hip Hop


Hip-hop is a type of music. It is also a culture, or way of life. It includes many types of expression—for example, rapping, DJ-ing, dancing, and graffiti painting. Fans of hip-hop culture also wear certain styles of clothing.

Hip-hop music often has heavy beats and electronic sounds. It may also include other musical styles, such as jazz or rock and roll. Rapis usually set to hip-hop music. Rap is speech that has a rhythm and rhymes.

Another part of hip-hop music is DJ-ing. DJs change the sound of recorded music in various ways. They may mix songs together or speed up or slow down a song’s beat.

New styles of dancing developed along with hip-hop music. Break dancing was one of the earliest styles. Break dancing is acrobatic. It includes such moves as spinning on the back and springing from the ground on the arms.

Many young people copy the clothing styles of hip-hop stars. Some popular hip-hop styles have been oversized T-shirts, baggy pants, gym shoes, and large jewelry.

The hip-hop movement began in poor, mostly African American, parts of New York City in the 1970's. Young African Americans gathered at parties, where they developed rapping, DJ-ing, and break dancing.

Development of Hip Hop


In the 1970's an underground urban movement known as "hip hop" began to develop in the South Bronx area of New York City focusing on MCing, break beats, and house parties.

Starting at the home of DJ Kool Herc, the movement later spread across the entire borough. Herc created the blueprint for hip hop music and culture by building upon the Jamaican tradition of impromptu toasting, boastful poetry and speech over music. This became Emceeing - the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment—taking inspiration from the Rapping derived from the griots (folk poets) of West Africa, and Jamaican-style toasting. The basic elements of hip-hop—boasting raps, rival posses, uptown throwdowns, and political commentary—were all present in Trinidadian music as long ago as the 1800's, though they did not reach the form of commercial recordings until the 1920's and 30's. Calypso music—like other forms of music—continued to evolve through the '50's and '60's. When rock steady and reggae bands looked to make their music a form of national and even international Black resistance, they took Calypso's example.

Herc also developed upon break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk 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, 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 b-boys and b-girls. According to Herc, "breaking" was also street slang for "getting excited" and "acting energetically".

Famous musicians of the decade #1: The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, DJ Kool Herc, 


The 1980's marked the diversification of hip hop as the genre developed more complex styles. New York City became a veritable laboratory for the creation of new hip hop sounds.  The mid-1980's marked a paradigm shift in the development of hip hop, moving from samples of funk/soul music to the the introduction of samples from rock music.  

The TR-808 Rhythm Composer was one of the earliest drum machines that came onto the music scene and though it was a commercial failure, over the course of the decade the 808 attracted a cult following among underground musicians for its affordability on the used market, ease of use, and idiosyncratic sounds, particularly its deep, "booming"  bass drum. It became a cornerstone of the emerging electronic, dance, and hip hop genres. The 808 was eventually used on more hit records than any other drum machine. 

The lyrical content and other instrumental accompaniment of hip hop developed as well. The early lyrical styles in the 1970, which tended to be boasts and clichéd chants, were replaced with metaphorical lyrics exploring a wider range of subjects. As well, the lyrics were performed over more complex, multi-layered instrumental accompaniment. 

Hip hop's "golden age" (or "golden era") is a name given to a period in mainstream hip hop, produced between the mid-1980's and the mid-1990's, which is characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation and influence. There were strong themes of Afrocentrism and political militancy in golden age hip hop lyrics. The music was experimental and the sampling drew on eclectic sources. There was often a strong jazz influence in the music. 

Gangsta rap is a sub-genre 
of hip hop that reflects the violent lifestyles of inner-city American black youths.  N.W.A 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, and featuring incessant profanity. These lyrics were placed over rough, rock guitar-driven beats, contributing to the music's hard-edged feel. The subject matter inherent in gangsta rap more generally has caused controversy. 

Famous musicians of the decade #2: Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, N.W.A.

The East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry was a feud from 1991 to 1997 between artists and fans of the East Coast hip hop and West Coast hip hop scenes in the United States, especially from 1994 to 1997. Focal points of the feud were East Coast-based rapper The Notorious B.I.G and West Coast-based rapper Tupac Shakur, who were both fatally shot following drive-by shootings by unknown assailants in 1997 and 1996, respectively.

In the 1990's, hip hop began to diversify with other regional styles emerging on the national scene. Southern rap became popular in the early 1990's.  Atlanta hip hop artists were key in further expanding rap music and bringing southern hip hop into the mainstream.

In the 1990's, elements of hip hop continued to be assimilated into other genres of popular music. Neo soul, for example, combined hip hop and soul music. In the 1980's and 1990's, rap rock, rapcore, and rap metal, fusions of hip hop and rock, hardcore punk and heavy metal became popular among mainstream audiences.

Famous musicians of the 1990's: Public Enemy, MC Hammer, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Arrested Development, Outkast, Master P
2000's til today:

The popularity of hip hop music continued through the 2000's.

Alternative hip hop, which was introduced in the 1980's and then declined, re-surged in the early 2000's with the rejuvenated interest in indie music by the general public. In the 2000's alternative hip hop reattained its place within the mainstream, due in part to the declining commercial viability of gangsta rap as well as the crossover success of artist. 

Crunk is a regional hip hop genre that originated in Tennessee 
in the southern United States in the 1990's, influenced by Miami bass.  It was a fusion of hip hop, electro, and electronic dance music. The style was pioneered and commercialized by artists from Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, GA. Looped, stripped-down drum machine rhythms are usually used. The Roland RT-808 and 909 are among the most popular. The drum machine loops are usually accompanied by simple, repeated synthesizer melodies and heavy bass "stabs". The tempo of the music is somewhat slower than hip-hop, around the speed of reggaeton. The focal point of crunk is more often the beats and instrumental music rather than the lyrics. Crunk rappers, however, often shout and scream their lyrics, creating an aggressive, almost heavy, style of hip-hop. While other sub-genres of hip-hop address sociopolitical or personal concerns, crunk is almost exclusively "party music", favoring call and response hip-hop slogans in lieu of more substantive approaches.

Trap music is a sub-genre of rap originating from the late 1990's to early 2000's grew to become a mainstream sensation, frequently having songs top the Billboard hip hop charts. It is typified by double or triple-time sub-divided hi-hats, heavy kick drums from the Roland TR-808 drum machine, layered synthesizers and an overall dark, ominous or bleak atmosphere. The strong influence of the sound led to other artists within the genre to move towards the trap sound

Hip hop continues to evolve today, and will continue to be a staple of American music for decades to come.  

Famous Musicians of the 2000's and beyond: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Lil John, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Outkast, The Roots, Mos Def, 50 Cent, J. Cole, Future, Chief Keef, XXXTentacion, Lil Pump, Fetty Wap, 2 Chainz



Sugarhill Gang
"Rappers Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang

Run D.M.C.
"King of Rock" by Run D.M.C.

A Tribe Called Quest
"Can I Kick it"?" by A Tribe Called Quest

The Notorious B.I.G.
"Sky's the limit" by The Notorious B.I.G.

Tupac Shakur
"Changes" by Tupac Shakur

"Hey Ya!" by Outkast

Kanye West
"All Falls Down" by Kanye West


Click this link to respond to the questions below

Listen to at least two of the listening examples and compare and contrast the differences and similarities between the two.

As one of the youngest major musical genres, what are your opinions of hip hop music?