What is Hip Hop?


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What is Hip Hop?

Hip Hop arrived on the American dance and music scene in the 1970s. The word hip was already a common word in both English and American slang that meant trendy or fashionable. And added to the word hop the term was then used to describe a movement that brought together a new style of music. This new sound was all about creating a music from sounds that could be gathered from optimizing a turntable. One of the main innovators of this new form of music was Afrika Bambaataa who hailed from New York. Bambaataa was a DJ and rapper from the South Bronx and he was one of the first artists to experiment with electro music. His also widely considered to be the originator of the breakbeat style of DJ’ing.

Hip Hop Dance

As the culture of Hip-Hop music grew in the inner cities of America the music brought with it its own fashion and dance. It was all based on the street, with baggy clothes and baseball caps worn back to front. The street dancing embraced funky styles and even break dancing. And still today break dance troops can be seen on the streets of big cities across the world.

The Golden Years of Hip Hop

Between 1970 to 1985 is generally regarded as the golden age of Hip Hop and is actually referred to today as old school Hip Hop. Although this definition is actually a contradiction of terminology. Then the years that came after 1985 brought an absolute explosion to the world of Hip Hop. New dances were formed from classic old school moves, such as gangsta walking, snap dance, and the famous Harlem Shake.

The Four Elements of Hip Hop

Hip Hop can be broadly broken down into four separate components that make up the whole. The most famous is probably rapping, closely followed by Djing, breakdancing, and graffiti. Graffiti is particularly interesting as it is an artistic impression of what Hip Hop is all about. It gathered together all the elements of the urban culture of New York at the time and anachronistically displayed them on public places such as the subway and abandoned buildings.

First the Music then the Dance

Obviously, there can be no dancing without music, so in a way the music has always got to be the primary driver of the Hip Hop revolution. A DJ named Clive Campbell formed the blueprint for the start of Hip Hop music, and it came out of the love of toasting that was fashionable in the Bronx. This predominately Jamaican form of rapping was highly popular, and he decided to turn it into something with a more American flavor. Hip Hop changes the world over. The styles of dancing and clothes pay homage to the host country but with a distinctly American influence. There can now be found dance studios in all four corners of the globe that teach Hip Hop as a formal dance style. And so, as they say, the beat goes on, and Hip Hop is still thriving today both in music and dance.