What Is Hip Hop?

Hip Hop is an art form that includes deejaying [cuttin' & scartchin'] emceeing/rappin'. breakdancing and grafitti art. These art forms as we know them today originated in the South Bronx section of New York City around the mid 1970s. Hip Hop has thrived within the subculture of Black and Puerto Rican communities in New York and is now just recently beginning to enjoy widespread exposure. From a sociological perspective, Hip Hop has been one of the main contributing factors that helped curtail gang violence due to the fact that many adults found it preferrable to channel their anger and aggressions into these art forms which eventually became the ultimate expression of one's self

Break dancing, a colorful and acrobatic style of dance which includes headspins, backspins and 'Kirk Thompson-like flairs..[long before Olympic athlete Kirk Thompson invented it], traces its roots back to the African martial arts form known as capoeta. This form of fighting was employed by revolting slaves who were brought to Brazil. No one knows for sure who was New York's first break dancer, but a group of youngsters known 'B-Boys' and original members of an organization called Zulu Nation certainly made it popular. Around the same time break dancing begain hitting the streets of New York, within the Black communities of California a style of dance known as Pop-Locking which includes strutting, moonwalking, waving and angular robot-like contortions of the body also began to take form. Movies such as 'Beat Street' and 'Breaking' have help shed light on this new type of dance.

Rapping as we know it today, saying rhymes to the beat of music was originally called emceeing. It draws its roots from the Jamaican art form known as toasting. Artist like James Brown, The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron along with old 'dozens' rhymes and jail house jargon passed down through the years and made popular by Black activist H.Rap Brown have helped influence rap to its present form. Rap has surfaced and resurfaced under different names down through the years within Black communities of this country.

Deejaying [cuttin' and scratchin'] is the manipulation of a record over a particular groove so it produces strange sounds. This was invented by either Grand Master Flash or Grand Wizard Theodore, two popular disc jockeys from the Bronx. Herbie Hancock with his song 'Rock It' and Malcolm MacLaren's Buffalo Gals' has helped make this art form popular outside the New York City area.

written by Davey D

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