Evolution of Hip Hop

By: Ty'Zhanie Kinney and Alexis Grinnell

What is a negro Spirituals?

Negro Spirituals are generally Christian songs that were created by African Americans to explain the hardships of slavery. Spirituals would sometimes provide comfort and would ease the boredom tasks of the slaves daily life. Negro Spirituals were the expression of the spiritual yearning for freedom from bondage. These songs of the slaves represented the sorrows, rather than their joys. Like tears, they were a relief of an aching heart.

Wade In The Water (1901)

Wade in the water was used as a guide to help fugitive slaves avoid capture and gave them the route to successfully make their way to freedom. (0:00-0:30)
Wade in the water - Ella Jenkins

Steal Away (1862)

Was raised unexpectedly in a dusty field, or sung softly in the dark of night, signaled that the coast was clear and the time to escape was here. (3:20)
Steal Away-Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole

Roll, Jordan, Roll

The River Jordan became the Ohio River, or the Mississippi, or another body of water that had to be crossed on the journey to freedom.(0:00-0:55)
12 Years a Slave 2013 Roll Jordan Roll

Sweet Chariot

Had veiled references to the Underground Railroad to lead the slaves to their freedom. In which you would also listen to " Follow the Drinking Gourd" Which would provide a coded map to the Underground Railroad.(0:00-0:30)
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - The Plantation Singers

How negro spirituals influenced hip-hop?

What is Hip-Hop?

Hip-Hop is the culture, not just music; however Rap and R&B are the types of music influenced by the culture of Hip-Hop. There is a huge misconception and stereotype put on the Hip-Hop community. The genre of rap is far more than just uneducated and ignorant artists rapping or singing about irrelevant unrelatable topics. The social significance of Hip-Hop influenced music is profound as it serves as messenger to social, political, and economic issues... Hip-Hop can easily be misconcepted if the historic and social context of the issue is not understood. In today's Hip-Hop music reflects the origin of Negro spirituals as you see young, hard working African Americans fight for equality and an end to discrimination. As the popularity of Hip-Hop rap and R&B have overwhelmingly increased, the voice of the underrepresented group of the Hip-Hop community is finally being heard.

Be Free(2014)

In J. Cole's Be Free he brings awareness to the Hip-Hop Communities mourning of Freddy Gray, a 19 year old man who was unlawfully arrested and mishandled, who died due to complications due to his injuries. J. Cole is a perfect example of someone who understands the everyday struggle of people within the Hip-Hop community. This is why his music is highly respected as it brings awareness to the daily issues and struggles. In the song J. Cole alludes to slavery as he says "all we wanna do is take the chains off, all we wanna do is be free," as if feeling as if we aren't indeed equal.
J. Cole Performs 'Be Free' Live on The Late Show with David Letterman

Vanity Slaves(2015)

Kendrick argues that this obsession with vanity is a characteristic of the newer Black generations. Slaves only had spiritual songs passed down from generation, they couldn’t have material things. Kendrick Lamar feels as if African Americans today have let materialistic items enslave them taking them back to the 400 years of oppression. Kendrick is outraged that African Americans have overcame adversity and oppression to only let materialistic things bring us back, but we have to fight and as a Hip-Hop community we have to control the things we have not let the things we have control us.
Kendrick Lamar - Vanity Slaves