Popular Culture Analysis: Hip-Hop

By: Caleb Tempro

What is Pop Culture?

Pop culture is a variety of activities or commercial items that are trending in modern day and appeal to large masses of people.

ex. Skywalker boards, the "dab", etc.

Pop Culture Element: Hip Hop

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Hip-Hop is a genre of popular music that comes from African American and Hispanic origin. In 1962, "Live at the Apollo" first showed on television. James Brown and his band had shown off a new beat called "Break Beat" and it took the audience and viewers by storm. He later made two new songs that took advantage of the drums. People of America just wanted more and more of the new musical sensation. With the sound of loud bass and drums stuck in everyone's head, by 1743, DJ Kool Herc appeared. Originally known for playing music at block parties, he later joined Grandmaster Flash and others in the music industry. Their particular style of music was given the name that we all know well today. Hip-Hop.
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Hip-Hop has come a long way since it was first created. Hip-Hop beats used to be created solely by physical instruments or vocals (beat-boxing). However, with the advancement of technology, beats can be made digitally via numerous music applications and sound programs. For example, the iMaschine app on iOS devices (shown in the picture below). These applications take pre recorded instruments and sounds and allow you to place them in any order you want, creating the beat. You may also record your own sounds wether you're signing, talking, or doing something unique. Something that is also popular in today's hip-hop is sampling. Sampling is when you take a sample of another song and place it into your own, altering the sound clip however you want.
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How did it Diffuse?

In present day, Hip-Hop is known worldwide. However, it diffused gradually. Hip-Hop was first seen in South Bronx. It was commonly found around the city in parks and basketball courts (which were greatly used by tons of people) and usually in the form of music and break dancing. From the Bronx it was diffused contagiously throughout New York City. The “Old School days” took place in a time period from 1970 to 1984 and is when Hip-Hop began to spread across America. During this time Hip-Hop diffused hierarchically. It would generally spread from major urban areas onto other urban areas. It then made its way into the suburbs. 1985 to 1993 is known as “the Golden Age of Hip-Hop” because it was during that time period where it spread the most.
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What medium was used in it's Diffusion?

In present time, internet and social media are the main factors in the spreading of new Hip-Hop music. However, in the past, technology was not advanced as it is today. Hip-Hop was mainly spread by house and block parties, concerts, and general socialization. People talk, and the majority of them liked Hip-Hop. Then people were becoming know and became the faces of Hip-Hop (such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash). Once the music genre had public figures to promote it, people started following.
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Distance Decay

Hip-Hop is still a very popular genre of music in America. However, as it leaves the US, other countries have their own popular/common genres of music, so Hip-Hop is not as popular. Distance decay is most certainly present. In certain cases though, Hip-Hop is still very much listened to in different countries but it is usually modified to their own culture wether it be in a different language or has different instruments added (stimulus diffusion). For example, in Tokyo Japan, Hip-Hop is popular but modified to fit their culture.
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