The Beginnings of Hip Hop and Culture's Elements

The Hip Hop began....

in the 1970s --- It was a direct result of overflowing creativity, suppressed energy, and a lack of available outlets for release and expression of local area teens and young adults in an impoverished area. Funding for after school programs, music, and art classes had been dropped. The effect was gangs and violence due to lack of recreational outlets. Afrika Bambaataa, along with DJ Kool Herc, Busy Bee Starski, and DJ Hollywood, began organizing block parties in the Bronx area which started the humble beginnings of hip hop. The result of their endeavors grew into what is known as the hip hop culture of today.

        "Rap is what we do, hip hop is how we live" -KRS One

The Hip Hop Culture What is Hip Hop? Styles and Clothing Artists and Music Graffiti
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"Picture of one of the founders of Hip Hop: Afrika Bambaataa"

The components of hip hop are MCing, DJing, graffiti, and break dancing.

Rap music is the main component of hip hop that is recognized today and is a combination of two of the major components; DJing and MCing. Rap music incorporates artists of different genres of hip hop vocal expression and the music that the artists "rap" to. The "music" can consist of any element from mixing music from other songs, noises made with your mouth, beats from a drum, clapping your hands, or any number of creative noise combinations. The "music" is whatever the DJ wants it to be and the more original the better.

The artists have to bring their own creativity into the music element too. The raps incorporate the use of metaphors that have to be easy to relate to by the audience and cleverly rhyme or not rhyme all in time with the beat of the music. Rap music has a feel to it, a message to deliver, and even a story to tell.

Break dancing is an inventive expression of the hip hop culture through a unique form of dance. Break dancing can be performed in any number of ways; solo, as a group, and with or without music. Break dancing, like rapping, evolved as a way for gangs to "battle" rivals without resorting to physical violence.

Graffiti, another form of expression of the hip hop culture can be seen in numerous locations. Depending upon the viewer, this form of expression can either been viewed as art or trash.

The style and clothing of the hip hop culture also reflects the strong influence of hip hop. Although it is not one of the major components of hip hop's origins it has become a major form of expression for this culture. Most times the clothing is a result of what the current "favored" artists are wearing; what is seen in the latest music video is quickly emulated by the audience. Many hip hop artists have their own clothing and shoe lines. The style and clothing of the hip hop culture can also simply be a statement of the individual and his or her environment; such has become the case with the popular white and black t-shirts worn with baggy, sagging pants.