Hip Hop Culture

Essay by cpc114High School, 11th gradeB+, April 2010

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Hip Hop Culture

"Rap is something you do. Hip-Hop is something you live." - KRS-One

Hip hop originated from African-American communities of New York City in the late 1970s. Since first emerging in the Bronx, the lifestyle of hip hop has spread all over the world, and continues to spread and grow today. Hip hop is a cultural movement that includes norms such as break dancing, DJing, MCing, graffiti writing and much more.

When hip hop first began, it was solely based on DJing and turntablism. Turntablism, the art of manipulating sounds and samples to create music, was innovated by hip hop. One of the first hip hop DJs was Kool DJ Herc, who further developed hip hop through the isolation of breaks. Along with Herc, DJs like Grandmaster Flash, Caz, and others made more innovations with the introduction of scratching. DJing exists in many types of popular music, but the DJ is especially important in the hip hop world.

The DJ is the person that keeps the party going, responsible for playing "dope" beats that the MCs can rhyme over and the breakers can dance to.

An Emcee or Master of Ceremonies (MC) throughout the history of hip-hop has been defined as the one who can control the crowd with his voice, lyrics, delivery and "flow" (rhythm and rhyme). The greatest emcees of all time like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One have been successful for their ability to create sounds that were unheard before their time. They had seemingly endless vocabularies and set the trend for later emcees who would try to emulate the way they wrote and the way the spoke. They had the intelligence, confidence, and storytelling capability to leave crowds and listeners in awe of their lyrical content. MCing is crucial to the hip...