Hip Hop

its relevance in Us history


Hip hop was one of the most important events in US history, because it changed the face of music and culture, affected African American society in several ways and also affected America economically.


Changed the Face of music and culture

  • In the 1970s, an underground urban movement known as "Hip Hop" began to develop in New York City. The cultural movement gained widespread popularity in the 1980s and '90s, also containing rap, the musical style of incorporating rhythmic and/or rhyming speech which became the movements most lasting and influential art form. The first major hip-hop deejay was DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell). In New York's South Bronx in 1973, an 18-year-old immigrant introduced the huge sound systems of his native Jamaica to inner-city parties. Using two turntables, he melded percussive fragments from older records with popular dance songs to create a continuous flow of music, causing the birth of hip hop. Hip-hop music originated from a combination of traditionally African-American forms of music--including jazz, soul, gospel, and reggae.

  • Although its commonly used as a synonym for rap, hip-hop refers to a complex culture composing of 4 elements, deejaying (turn tabling), "MCing" or rhyming (rapping), breakdancing/B-boying. and graffiti.
Big image

Reason 2

It has impacted African American society

in recent years, political and media groups have been quick to place blame on rap for an apparent trend in youth violence. Although critics are quick to point out the violent lyrics of some artists, they are missing the point of rap's message. Rap, like other forms of music, cannot be understood unless it is studied without the frame of its historical and social context. Today's rap music reflects its origin in the hip-hop culture of young, urban, working-class African-Americans, its roots in the African oral tradition and its function as the voice of an otherwise underrepresented group. The black community, as well as other traditionally marginalized groups, turned discontent from injustices into productive protest through the restructuring of social attitudes and opportunities by means of musical expression.

Hip Hop is negatively viewed due to accusations of destroying black youth, if rap music appears to be excessively violent when compared to country-western or popular rock, it is because rap stems from a culture that has been trapped in the fight against political, social, and economic oppression. For many artists, rapping about guns and gang life is a reflection of daily life in racially and economically-stratified inner-city ghettos and housing projects. Violence in rap is not an affective aspect that threatens to harm America's youth, it is the outcry of an already-existing problem from youth whose woridviews have been shaped by experiencing deep economic inequalities divided largely along racial lines. Rap is used for expression, just like any other art form. It has the power to reach out to millions, which is why artists use rap to spread political views and social awareness as well.

Hip hop is inherently political, the language is political. It uses language as a weapon — not a weapon to violate or not a weapon to offend, but a weapon that pushes the envelope that provokes people, makes people think.

- Todd Boyd

Reason 3

It has impacted America economically

In recent times, hip-hop has become commercialized and profited from large corporations seeking to gain money from this authentic culture. The debate between culture and commerce is common when discussing the way hip-hop is viewed today. Mainstream hip-hop has promoted a lifestyle of materialism and luxury. Hip-hop is now a multi-billion dollar industry and the predominant popular culture of global youth. It has birthed CEOs like Sean Carter, Damon Dash, Steve Stout, Chris Lighty, Sean Combs and early pioneers like Russel Simmons. Charlie Stettler was the first person to get corporate America to sponsor a hip-hop related event. He organized a Rap & Breakdance contest at the Radio City Music Hall. It wasn’t until 1986 when Run-D.M.C. signed a $1.5 million endorsement deal with Adidas, they were the first hip-hop act to sign a contact with a non-music corporation.

Today we have fewer artists protecting the integrity of the music, and instead, are strictly entering the industry for the perks. Artists and labels aren't worried about quality, individuality or originality. They're focused on making more products and making them more appealing to a larger audience, which means more money. breakdancing has seen recent Internet and television exposure due to dance competitions such as “America’s Best Dance Crew.” What was once a rebellious form of breakdancing has now been acclimated into main stream dance. DJs are now able to become stars in their own right, and have their own endorsements as well. MCing became commercialized when rap itself started to commercialize. graffiti maybe the least commercialized element of hip hop, the art form did not take on a life of its own like the other elements did. Only extremely talented painters and artists can benefit and pull off lucrative graffiti.


Despite the national prevalence of Hip Hop in the United States, there remain a strong and vocal fraction of the community who believe that Hip Hop represents social subversion, chauvinism, aggression, vulgarity, profanity, etc.. It’s important to remember that hip-hop is not just about music. It’s unique era of culture where fashion, art, music and language filled with metaphors that became consistent and global, and that is why it is one of the most important events in US history.