Published: 22nd March 2012
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If you were under the impression that hip hop is just a style of music with attractive beats and peppy lyrics, you are very much mistaken. For those who are a part of the hip hop world, it is a culture, an art, an expression of oneself and a lifestyle that embodies freedom itself. It is a cultural movement that was started to express social freedom with the help of its four main elements- MCing, DJing, dancing and graffiti writing. And what was started in the late 70s early 80s has now become of the most popular genres in the world today.

But not many people are aware of its history. Initially known as Disco rap, the term hip hop was sort of created by accident, whose credit goes Keith Cowboy, who was a rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It is believed that Cowboy used the term for the first time when he was teasing a friend who had been newly recruited in the U.S. Army, by singing the words ‘hip-hop-hip-hop’ in an attempt to mimic the rhythmic sound of soldiers marching. Cowboy later used the very same sound ‘hip hop’ as a part of a song during one of his stage performances. The term caught on and came into trend and quickly started being used by other artists like ‘The Sugarhill Gang’ etc.

However, Hip hop as a music and culture came into being during the 1970s, in the era of New York block parties. These gained a huge amount of popularity especially amongst the African Americana and Latino youth that resided in the Bronx. These parties involved DJs who played popular songs and musical genres such as funk and soul, creating mixes and eventually developing the early DJing techniques like isolating the percussion breaks of songs- a popular Jamaican club music technique.

This is the time around which the hip hop greats like DJ Cool Herc and Grandmaster Flash gained popularity. Often credited with being the father of hip hop, DJ Cool Herc was the first to develop the technique of using two turntables to extend the percussion breaks in songs, as these breaks were generally short in disco, funk and soul songs.
Around this very time, various other techniques such as the of Turntablist techniques of scratching (credited to Grand Wizzard Theodore), beat mixing and matching, toasting as well as beat juggling were also developed for using as bases to rap over. This era can well be credited as the time when hip hop music was born and its base and style was developed. MCing or rapping also came about during the same time, completing the hit musical combo and forming the second pillar of the hip hop subculture.

Today, however, it is one of the most listened to genres with hip hop rap songs and hip hop music videos constantly topping the charts. Although the industry has evolved much and come a long way from its humble beginnings, latest hip hop songs and new releases still create the same type of buzz and anticipation in its followers as it did in the disco rap era!

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About the Author:

James Griffith is a freelance writer from London specialising in writing hiphop r&b music and uk grime music articles. Over the years he has developed an extensive knowledge of urban music and urban music artists and is considered one of the leading authorities on this subject. With a passion for Hip hop and R&B music since childhood, James Griffith brings great knowledge and a great understanding of this exciting music genre and his articles are both informative and entertaining too.

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