What Is Hip-Hop?

On March 1, 2018, in Red Hot Radio, by Wide View Publishing

What is Hip-Hop Article art


Hip-hop is a culture of creative expression built upon rhythmic break beats, scratches, and loops presented by the DJ, poetic storytelling chanted by the MC, intricate break dance moves of B-Boys defying gravity, the beauty of aerosol created Graffiti Art painted with visual appeal and the cultural influence or self-awareness exhibited by individual expressions of hip-hop arts.

Hip-Hop started with a man of African American and Jamaican Descent; a black man named Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc. Hip-Hop was born organically, on August 11, 1973, when DJ Kool Herc was the DJ for a “Back to School Jam” party for his sister, in the community room of their apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York, USA.

DJ Kool Herc created hip-hop music by extending the breakdown of songs with great drum rhythm tracks. The prolonged tracks let toast makers MC and dancers break over the instrumental or breakbeat much longer than the original record would allow. This process was the humble beginnings of hip-hop; before DJ Kool Herc set it free.

Once the DJ plays the Break Beat, B-Boys would dance to the music; hence B-Boy was dubbed. A B-boy is a guy or girl who dances to breakbeats. The MC is the Master of Ceremonies; he raps or talks to the crowd. The break beat is the music that compliments the MC’s rap. Some people also call the MC a Mic Controller; because he or she controls the microphone. Graffiti is an ancient art form that uses pictures or words to convey messages or record history on walls. Hieroglyphics, cave art, and modern day aerosol all provide a voice through art.

Joseph Saddler, also known as Grand Master Flash perfected the art of the hip-hop DJ by studying DJ Kool Herc’s invention, discovering technical ways to control the break beat extension process, and creating smooth blends from one record to the next which gave the music a more advanced sound and feel.

The DJ, MC, B-Boy, and Graffiti; are the creative pillars of expression that manifests hip-hop culture. Each element is a craft to master and express creatively through mind, body, and soul. The artistic expression itself displays the thoughts and inner feelings of the individual expressing the art. Knowledge and cultural awareness are what have sustained hip-hoppers and hip-hop itself. Lack of positive direction and self-destructive forces kill hip-hoppers and hip-hop itself.

Kevin Donovan also known as Afrika Bambaataa was a key organizer of hip-hop and member of a well-known street gang. As a way out of gang violence, Afrika Bambaataa helped bring Black and Brown youth together with “Peace, Unity, Love and Having Fun” through hip-hop. Instead of killing each other with guns and knives, hip-hop crews and individuals would battle with the elements of hip-hop. And it was effective. Afrika Bambaataa taught Black and Brown youth to come together, stop gang violence, use the arts to release anger and tension, be warriors for their communities, learn about and embrace their cultural backgrounds, and to live the culture of hip-hop.


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