Hip hop music

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
Hip hop/Rap
Stylistic origins: complex roots primarily Jamaican Dancehall toasting alongside the rhythms of R&B, disco and funk
Cultural origins: 1970s: Kingston, Jamaica - early 1980's South Bronx, New York City
Typical instruments: Turntable, Drum machine, Sampler, Synthesizer
Mainstream popularity: Beginning in the 1980s in the U.S., and in the 1990s across the rest of the world
Derivative forms:
Alternative - Chopped & screwed - Crunk - East Coast hip hop - Gangsta rap - G-funk - Hardcore - Horrorcore - Nerdcore - Old school - Southern rap - West Coast hip hop
Fusion genres
country rap - Cumbia - Electro - Freestyle - Hip house - Hip life - Ghettotech - Go go - Jazz rap - Miami bass - Merenrap - Nu metal - Neo soul - Ragga - Rap metal - Reggaeton - Timba - Trip hop - Urban Pasifika
Regional scenes
Africa - Algeria - Angola - Arabic - Australia - Azerbaijan - Bahrain - Belgium - Brazil - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Botswana - Bulgaria - Canada - China - DRC Congo - Cuba - Czech Republic - Denmark - Egypt - Finland - France - Gambia - Germany - Ghana - Greece - Greenland - Guinea - Hong Kong - Hungary - Iceland - India - Indonesia - Ireland - Israel - Italy - Ivory Coast - Japan - Korea - Lebanon - Madagascar - Malaysia - Mali - Mexico - Morocco - Native American - Nepal - Netherlands - New Zealand - Niger - Nigeria - Norway - Philippines - Poland - Portugal - Puerto Rico - Romania - Russia - Rwanda - Senegal - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - South Africa - Sweden - Switzerland - Taiwan - Tanzania - Turkey - Uganda - Ukraine - United Kingdom - United States - Zimbabwe
Other topics
Beatboxing - Breakdancing - Collaborations - DJing - Fashion - Feuds - Graffiti - History - Rapping - Roots - Slang - Timeline

Hip hop music is a style of popular music. It is composed of two main components: rapping (MC'ing) and DJing (audio mixing and scratching); along with breakdancing and graffiti (tagging), these are the four elements of hip hop, a cultural movement which began among African Americans in New York City in the early 1970s. The terms rap and rap music are often used to describe hip hop music; the terms rap music and hip hop music are generally synonymous, although rap music is usually not used to describe hip hop songs without vocals. Many hip hop heads, as participants of the culture are called, arbitrarily separate the two terms by labeling the more commercial recordings as rap music, and the more underground-based recordings as hip hop music. Hip hop music is also erroneously used at times to describe related genres of music, such as contemporary R&B, which are primarily sung; while singing is present in several hip-hop songs, the main vocal is always rapped.

Most typically, hip hop consists of one or more rappers who chant semi-autobiographic tales, often relating to a fictionalized counterpart, in an intensely rhythmic lyrical form, making abundant use of techniques like assonance, alliteration, and rhyme. The rapper is accompanied by an instrumental track, usually referred to as a "beat" because of the emphasis on rhythm, performed by a DJ, a record producer, or one or more instrumentalists. This beat is often created using a sample of the percussion break of another song, usually a funk, rock, or soul recording. In addition to the beat, other sounds are often sampled, synthesized, or performed. Sometimes, a track can be made up of just the beat by itself, as a showcase of the skills of the DJ or producer.

Hip hop arose in New York City when DJs began isolating the percussion break from funk or disco songs. The role of the emcee (MC) arose to introduce the DJ and the music, and to keep the audience excited. The MCs began by speaking between songs, giving exhortations to dance, greetings to audience members, jokes and anecdotes. Eventually, this practice came to be more stylized, and was known as rapping. By 1979, hip hop had become a commercially recorded music genre, and began to enter the American mainstream. It also began its spread across the world. In the 1990s, a form called gangsta rap became a major part of American music, causing significant controversy over lyrics which were perceived as promoting violence, promiscuity, drug use and misogyny. Nevertheless, by the beginning of the 2000s, hip hop was a staple of popular music charts and was being performed in many styles across the world.



Hip hop is a cultural movement, of which music is a part (as are graffiti and breakdancing). The music is itself composed of two parts, rapping, the delivery of swift, highly rhythmic and lyrical vocals, and DJing, the production of instrumentation either through sampling, instrumentation, turntablism or beatboxing. Another important factor of Hip-Hop music is the fashion that originated along with the music. The fashion was a representation of the music.

Rhythmic structure

Beats (though not necessarily raps) in hip hop are almost always in 4/4 time signature. At its rhythmic core, hip hop swings: instead of a straight 4/4 count (pop music; rock 'n' roll; etc.), hip hop is based on a triplet feel somewhat similar to the "swing" emphasis found in jazz beats. Hip hop takes this concept a step further, however. Whereas jazz swing implies three eighth notes (a triplet) per beat, hip hop implies six sixteenth notes (a "double triplet") per beat. Like the triplet emphasis in swing, hip hop's double triplet "bubble" is subtle, rarely written as it sounds (4/4 basic; the drummer adds the hip hop interpretation) and is often played in an almost "late" or laid back way.

Here's a basic hip hop drum set example --one bar that would be repeated indefinitely. Note that no single instrument plays all of the implied double triplets. This is usually the case. In this example, the bass drum plays part of the double triplet subdivision. The bass drum pattern is most often the part that provides the hip hop feel.

 Count       1       2       3       4
 Implied     *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

 Hi Hat      x-- x-- x-- x-- x-- x-- x-- x--
 Snare       --- --- x-- --- --- --- x-- ---
 Bass Drum   x-- --x --- --x x-- x-- --- --x

This style was innovated predominantly in soul and funk music, where beats and thematic music were repeated for the duration of tracks. In the 1960s and 1970s, James Brown (known as The Godfather of Soul) talked, sung, and screamed much as MCs do today. This musical style provides the perfect platform for MCs to rhyme. Hip hop music generally caters to the MC for this reason, amplifying the importance of lyrical and delivering prowess.

Instrumental hip hop is perhaps the lone exception to this rule. In this hip hop subgenre, DJs and producers are free to experiment with creating instrumental tracks. While they may mix in sampled rap vocals, they are not bound by the need to cater to an MC.

Instrumentation & production

The instrumentation of hip-hop is descended from disco, funk, and R&B, both in the sound systems and records sampled, and session musicians and their instrumentation, used. Disco and club DJs' use of mixing originated from the need to have continuous music and thus smooth transitions between tracks, while in hip hop Kool DJ Herc originated the practice of isolating and extending only the break, basically short percussion solo interludes, by mixing between two copies of the same record, as this was, according to Afrika Bambaataa the "certain part of the record that everybody waits for -- they just let their inner self go and get wild." (Toop, 1991) James Brown, Bob James, and Parliament -- among many others -- have long been popular sources for breaks. Over this one could and did add instrumental parts from other records, frequently as horn punches (ibid). Thus the instrumentation of early sampled or sound system-based hip hop is the same as funk, disco, or rock: vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion.

Although hip hop's original music consisted solely of the DJ's breakbeats and other vinyl record pieces, the advent of the drum machine allowed hip hop musicians to develop partially original scores. Drum set sounds could be played either over the music from vinyl records or by themselves. The importance of quality drum sequences became the most important focus of hip hop musicians because these rhythms (beats) were the most danceable part. Consequently, drum machines were equipped to produce strong kick sounds with powerful (sine) bass behind them. This helped emulate the very well-engineered drum solos on old funk, soul and rock albums from the late 1960s and early to mid 1970s. Drum machines had a limited array of predetermined sounds, including hi-hats, snares, toms, and kick drums.

The introduction of the digital sampler changed the way hip hop was produced. A sampler can digitally record and save small sound clips from any output device, such as a turntable. Producers were able to sample their own drum sounds from the records they grew up listening to. Perhaps more importantly, they could sample horns, upright basses, guitars and pianos to play along with their drums. Hip hop had finally gathered its complete band.

What many fail to recognize is the distinct importance of the gritty, choppy sound of hip hop. The music seldom sounds like other organic forms. Even hip hop crews that have their own band often use samples and the gritty, choppy texture of machines to create their beats in the studio as featured on their album (when performing live, they usually recreate this sound with a full band). One popular misconception is that samples and drum machines exist in hip hop music as merely a lazy substitute for a real band; in fact, hip hop producers obsess over the timbre, texture and frequency of specific samples and drum machine sounds. A session drummer playing James Brown's Funky Drummer break is no substitute for the sampled break from the original record. However, in recent years there has been a tendency towards original instrumental compositions in hip hop from the likes of Outkast, The Roots and The Neptunes.



Main article: Roots of hip hop music

The roots of hip hop music are in West African and African American music. The griots of West Africa are a group of traveling singers and poets, whose musical style is reminiscent of hip hop. Discussion of the roots of hip hop (and rap) must mention the contributions of The Last Poets and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, whose jazzy and poetic "spiels" commented on 1960's culture. True hip hop arose during the 1970s when block parties became common in New York City, especially in the Bronx. Block parties were usually accompanied by music, especially funk and soul music. The early DJs at block parties began isolating the percussion breaks to hit songs, realizing that these were the most danceable and entertaining parts; this technique was then common in Jamaica (see dub music) and had spread via the substantial Jamaican immigrant community in New York City, especially the godfather of hip hop, DJ Kool Herc. Dub had arisen in Jamaica due to the influence of American sailors and radio stations playing R&B. Large sound systems were set up to accommodate poor Jamaicans, who couldn't afford to buy records, and dub developed at the sound systems (refers to both the system and the parties that evolved around them).


Herc was one of the most popular DJs in early 70s New York, and he quickly switched from using reggae records to funk, rock and, later, disco, since the New York audience did not particularly like reggae. Because the percussive breaks were generally short, Herc and other DJs began extending them using an audio mixer and two records. Mixing and scratching techniques eventually developed along with the breaks. (The same techniques contributed to the popularization of remixes.) As in dub, performers began speaking while the music played; these were originally called MCs; Herc focused primarily on DJing, and began working with two MCs, Coke La Rock and Clark Kent—this was the first emcee crew, Kool Herc & the Herculoids. Originally, these early rappers focused on introducing themselves and others in the audience (the origin of the still common practice of "shouting out" on hip hop records). These early performers often emceed for hours at a time, with some improvisation and a simple four-count beat, along with a basic chorus to allow the performer to gather his thoughts (such as "one, two, three, y'all, to the beat, y'all"). Later, the MCs grew more varied in their vocal and rhythmic approach, incorporating brief rhymes, often with a sexual or scatological theme, in an effort at differentiating themselves and entertaining the audience. These early raps incorporated similar rhyming lyrics from African American culture (see roots of hip hop music), such as the dozens. While Kool Herc & the Herculoids were the first hip hoppers to gain major fame in New York, more emcee teams quickly sprouted up. Frequently, these were collaborations between former gang members, such as Afrika Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation (now a large, international organization). During the early 1970s, breakdancing arose during block parties, as b-boys and b-girls got in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. The style was documented for release to a world wide audience for the first time in Beat Street.


The 1980s saw intense diversification in hip hop, which developed into a more complex form. The simple tales of 1970s emcees were replaced by highly metaphoric lyrics rapping over complex, multi-layered beats. Some rappers even became mainstream pop performers, including Kurtis Blow, whose appearance in a Sprite commercial made him the first hip hop musician to be considered mainstream enough to represent a major product, but also the first to be accused by the hip-hop audience of selling out. Other popular performers among mainstream audiences included LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, who won hip hop's first Grammy Award in 1988.

The techniques used in hip hop changed during the 1980s as well. Most important was the DJ records such as Grandmaster Flash's "Adventures on the Wheels of Steel" (known for pioneering use of scratching, which was invented by Grandwizard Theodore in 1977) as well as electronic recordings such as "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa and Run DMC's very basic, all electronic "Sucker MC's" and "Peter Piper" which contains genuine cutting by Run DMC member Jam Master Jay. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five released a "message rap", called "The Message", in 1982; this was one of the earliest examples of recorded hip hop with a socially aware tone. In 1984, Marley Marl accidentally caught a drum machine snare hit in the sampler; this innovation was vital in the development of electro and other later types of hip hop.

A number of new hip hop styles and subgenres began appearing. Run-D.M.C.'s collaboration with hard rock band Aerosmith on "Walk This Way" was an early example of rock and hip hop fusions. Also, the mid-1980s saw the rise of the first major black female group, Salt-N-Pepa, who hit the charts with singles like "The Show Stoppa" in 1985. Ice-T's seminal "6n' Da Mornin'" (1986) is one of the first nationally successful West Coast hip hop singles, and is often said to be the beginning of gangsta hip hop (along with Schoolly D, LL Cool J and N.W.A.).

In 1987, Public Enemy brought out their debut album (Yo! Bum Rush the Show) on Def Jam - one of hip hop's oldest and most important labels, and Boogie Down Productions followed up in 1988 with By All Means Necessary; both records pioneered wave of hard-edged politicized performers. The late 1980s saw a flourishing of like-minded rappers on both coasts, and Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back became surprisingly successful, despite its militant and confrontational tone, appearing on both the club and rap charts, and peaking at #17 and #11, respectively. Aside from the lyrical innovations, Public Enemy's Bomb Squad production team (along with Eric B. & Rakim and Prince Paul among others) pioneered new techniques in sampling that resulted in dense, multi-layered sonic collages.

Hip hop was almost entirely unknown outside of the United States prior to the 1980s. During that decade, it began its spread to every inhabited continent and became a part of the music scene in dozens of countries. In the early part of the decade, breakdancing became the first aspect of hip hop culture to reach Germany, Japan and South Africa, where the crew Black Noise established the practice before beginning to rap later in the decade. Meanwhile, recorded hip hop was released in France (Dee Nasty's 1984 Paname City Rappin') and the Philippines (Dyords Javier's "Na Onseng Delight" and Vincent Dafalong's "Nunal"). In Puerto Rico, Vico C became the first Spanish language rapper, and his recorded work was the beginning of what became known as reggaeton.


In the 90s, gangsta rap became mainstream, beginning in about 1992, with the release of Dr. Dre's The Chronic. This album established a style called G Funk, which soon came to dominate West Coast hip hop between 1993 and 1996.

Though G Funk was the most popular variety of hip hop in the early 90s, New York's hip hop scene did not disappear, and remained an integral part of the industry, producing such well-regarded acts as The Wu-Tang Clan and Busta Rhymes as well as acclaimed acts A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.

In the mid 90s the reemergence of New York as a growing entity in mainstream hip-hop soon spawned an inevitable confrontation between the East Coast and West Coast and their respective major labels. This sales rivalry eventually turned into a personal rivalry, aided in part by the music media. Many reporters were not aware that MC battles were an integral part of hip hop since its inception, and that, generally, little was meant by open taunts on albums and in performances. Nevertheless, the East Coast-West Coast rivalry grew, unfortunately resulting in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G..

Though mainstream and crossover acceptance has been almost entirely limited to gangsta rap or pop rap, isolated artists with a socially aware and positive or optimistic tone or a more avant-garde approach have achieved some success, such as the band Atmosphere who lie on the fringes of the mainstream. They are usually referred to in mainstream musical circles as "alternative hip hop", i.e. not gangsta or pop rap; however, this is a somewhat misleading term given that before about 1991 the vast majority of music produced was generally positive and optimistic rather than negative or focusing on negative things. Indeed, many artists often labeled "alternative rappers", such as Common or A Tribe Called Quest, are considerably closer in content and ethos to the pre-gangsta rap braggadocio and social commentary of pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash than many artists who are thought to be in the modern hip hop mainstream.

In 1988 and 1989, albums from the Native Tongues collective like De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising, A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm and the Jungle Brothers' Straight Out the Jungle are usually considered the first alternative rap albums, with jazz-based samples and quirky, insightful lyrics covering a diverse range of topics (see jazz rap) and strongly influenced by the Afrocentric messages of Bambaataa's Zulu Nation. This period, between 1988 and 1992, when the Native Tongues (together with other crews such as Pete Rock and CL Smooth) were at their creative peak, is considered the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

By about 1997 record labels based out of Atlanta, St. Louis and New Orleans gained fame for their local scenes (see Crunk and Southern rap). By 2000, especially with the success of Eminem, hip hop was an integral part of popular music, and nearly all American pop songs had a major hip hop component.

In the 1990s and into the 2000s elements of hip hop continued to be assimilated into other genres of popular music; neo soul, for example, combined hip hop and soul music and produced some major stars in the middle of the decade, while in the Dominican Republic, a recording by Santi Y Sus Duendes and Lisa M became the first single of merenrap, a fusion of hip hop and merengue. In South Africa, pioneering crew Black Noise began rapping in 1989, provoking a ban by the apartheid-era government, which lasted until 1993. Later, the country produced its own distinctive style in the house fusion kwela. Elsewhere in Africa, Senegalese mbalax fusions continued to grow in popularity, while Tanzanian Bongo Flava crews like X-Plastaz combined hip hop with taarab, filmi and other styles.

In Europe, hip hop was the domain of both ethnic nationals and immigrants. Germany, for example, produced the well-known Die Fantastischen Vier as well as several Turkish performers like the controversial Cartel. Similarly, France has produced a number of native-born stars, such as IAM and the Breton crew Manau, though the most famous French rapper is probably the Senegalese-born MC Solaar. Swedish hip hop emerged in the mid 1980s and by the early 1990s a lot of 'ethnic Swedish acts' like Looptroop, 'immigrant acts' like The Latin Kings and mixed acts like Infinite Mass switched from English to rapping in "Rinkeby Swedish", a pidgin language of sorts, when they were making records for the domestic market. The Netherlands' most famous rappers are The Osdorp Posse, an all-white crew from Amsterdam, and The Postmen, from Cape Verde and Suriname. Italy found its own rappers, including Jovanotti and Articolo 31, grow nationally renowned, while the Polish scene began in earnest early in the decade with the rise of PM Cool Lee. In Romania, B.U.G. Mafia came out of Bucharest's Pantelimon neighborhood, and their brand of gangsta rap underlines the parallels between life in Romania's Communist-era apartment blocks and in the housing projects of America's ghettos. Israel's hip hop grew greatly in popularity at the end of the decade, with several stars emerging from both sides of the Palestinian (Tamer Nafer) and Jewish (Subliminal) divide; though some, like Mook E., preached peace and tolerance, others expressed nationalist and violent sentiments.

North of the U.S. border, in Canada, hip hop became popular thanks to home-grown rap artist Maestro Fresh Wes in the late 1980s. His single, "Let Your Backbone Slide", dominated the charts for over a year. In the early 90s, more artists such as Michee Mee and The Rascalz established themselves in the growing Canadian urban music scene, primarily located in the diverse backdrop of Toronto and Vancouver. More recently, rappers such as Choclair, Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall and K-OS have become household names in the Canadian urban music scene, although they have failed to earn mainstream recognition south of the border in the U.S. market.

In Asia, mainstream stars rose to prominence in the Philippines, led by Michael V., Rap Asia, MC Lara and Lady Diane, and in Japan, where underground rappers had previously found a limited audience, and popular teen idols brought a style called J-rap to the top of the charts in the middle of the 90s.

Latinos had played an integral role in the early development of hip hop, and the style had spread to parts of Latin America, such as Cuba, early in its history. In Mexico, popular hip hop began with the success of Calo in the early 90s. Later in the decade, with Latin rap groups like Cypress Hill on the American charts, Mexican rap rock groups, such as Control Machete, rose to prominence in their native land. An annual Cuban hip hop concert held at Alamar in Havana helped to popularize Cuban hip hop, beginning in 1995. Hip hop grew steadily more popular in Cuba, due to official governmental support for musicians.


Beginning in 1997 with Bad Boy Records, hip hop (more commonly known as "rap") began to merge with teen pop, and by the turn of the millennium Eminem, Jay-Z, and Nelly were very popular. By about 2001 the techno and New Jack Swing production of 1990s pop songs were eclipsed by hip hop production, as shown with the albums of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and the like. In 2002 50 Cent, a protege of Eminem, scored with the massive hit In Da Club, becoming the most popular rapper and continuing to be as of 2005. Eminem himself, however, gradually faded from the industry beginning in about 2003.

While gangsta rap is still the dominant form of hip hop in the mainstream setting, alternative hip hop has had a second boom, and while almost invisible to mainstream markets (besides legends like the Beastie Boys and the Roots), it has made use of the internet in spreading its popularity. Groups such as Atmosphere, Blackalicious, Jurassic 5 and rappers such as Aesop Rock and Sage Francis have found audiences in urban and suburban settings alike, and have become surprisingly popular with indie rock audiences. Instrumental hip hop has gained success through the same means, with veteran artists like DJ Shadow and DJ Spooky spurring newcomers like RJD2 and Kid Koala. These artists connect more with electronic music communities than modern hip hop listeners, usually attributed to the relative absense of vocals, and the influence of these instrumental hip hop artists is becoming apparent across the electronic music scene, with artists such as The Books drawing heavily from hip hop sounds and techniques.

Hip hop shows no sign of losing popularity and may continue to be popular well into the 21st Century.

Social impact

Hip hop music is a part of hip hop, a cultural movement that includes the activities of breakdancing and graffiti art, as well as associated slang, fashion and other elements. The popularity of music has helped to popularize hip hop culture, both in the United States and, to a lesser degree, abroad.

Senegalese rap crew Daara J in Germany, 2005.
Senegalese rap crew Daara J in Germany, 2005.

Contemporary hip hop fashion includes the wearing of baggy jeans slung low around the waist, gold or platinum chains and boots or a fresh pair of kicks, and bandanas or doo rags tied around the head often worn with a baseball cap on top) ; these elements are more typical of men than women. In addition, there are and have been more transitory fads associated with hip hop, such as rolling up one leg of one's pants, jogging suits and sweatshirts. Other hip hop fashions that have long since died out include the late-1980s trend for African-influenced clothing styles in accordance with the Afrocentric stylings of much hip hop music of the time (from bands such as X-Clan), and the "high top fade" hairstyle popularized by Will Smith (The Fresh Prince) and Christopher "Kid" Reid of Kid 'n Play, among others. Though hip hop fashion was associated almost exclusively with African Americans in urban areas in the 1970s and 80s, it has since spread to mainstream listeners throughout the world.

Since the late nineties and especially since the turn of the century, many hip hop songs - and indeed probably the majority of mainstream hip hop songs - have focused on the "bling bling" lifestyle, which is a focus on expensive jewelry, cars and clothing that symbolize wealth and status. "Bling bling" has its roots in the enormously commercially successful late nineties work (specifically, music videos) of Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records as well as Master P's No Limit Records. However, the term was coined in 1999 (see 1999 in music) by Cash Money Records artist B.G. on his single Bling Bling, and the Cash Money roster were perhaps the epitome of the "bling bling" lifestyle and attitude. Though many rappers, mostly gangsta rappers, unapologetically pursue and celebrate bling bling, others, mostly artists outside of the hip hop mainstream, have expressly criticized the idealized pursuit of bling bling as being materialistic.

The widespread success of hip hop - specifically gangsta and pop rap - has also had a significant social impact on the demeanor of modern youth. The sometimes egotistic and degenerate attitudes often portrayed in the lyrics and videos of certain hip hop artists have shown negative effects on some of their idolizing fans, especially by making drugs seem more cool. While the attitudes of specific artists certainly do not represent the rest of the hip hop community, and the effects of lyrical content on youths are debatable, very often are youths adopting the much glamorized "gangsta" persona while not being members of any gang. Often these personas incite anti-social behavior such as peer harassment, neglect towards education, rejection of authority, and petty crimes such as vandalism. While the majority of listeners are able to distinguish entertainment from lessons in social conduct, an evident pseudo-gangsta sub-culture has risen amongst North American youth.

Because hip hop music almost always puts an emphasis on hyper-masculinity, its lyrics often reflect a homophobic mindset. There has been little to no room in hip hop music for openly gay or lesbian artists. It is often suspected that there are a great number of gay or lesbian hip hop musicians who do not come out of the closet for fear of the decline of their career. Rumors of such have involved hip hop artists such as Queen Latifah, Da Brat, and several others. In 2003 the first openly gay hip hop and rap artist, Caushun, was signed to a major label; his record and career were not successful.

As with most insular musical-cultural movements such as jazz and the hippie counterculture of the 60s, hip hop has a distinctive slang, that includes words like yo, flow and phat. Due to hip hop's extraordinary commercial success in the late nineties and early 21st century, many of these words have been assimilated into many different dialects across America and the world and even to non-hip hop fans (the word dis for example is remarkably prolific). There are also words like homie which predate hip hop but are often associated with it because of the close connection between recorded hip hop and the dialect used by many performers, African American Vernacular English. Sometimes, terms like what the dilly, yo are popularized by a single song (in this case, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" by Busta Rhymes) and are only used briefly. Of special importance is the rule-based slang of Snoop Dogg, who adds -izz to the middle of words so that shit becomes shizznit (the addition of the n occurs occasionally as well). This practice, with origins in Frankie Smith's nonsensical language from his 1982 single "Double Dutch Bus," has spread to even non-hip hop fans, who may be unaware of its derivation.

Musical impact

Aside from hip hop's great popularity, the genre has had an impact on most varieties of popular music. There are performers that combine either hip hop beats or rapping with rock and roll, heavy metal, punk rock, merengue, salsa, cumbia, funk, jazz, house, taarab, reggae, highlife, mbalax and soul. Teen pop singers and boy bands like the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears utilize hip hop beats in many of their most popular singles, especially in their 2000s works.

Hip hop has had an especially close relationship with soul music since the early 1990s. Indeed, today there is little recorded soul that does not feature some element of hip hop. This fusion, called nu soul, can be traced back to the late 1980s New Jack Swing groups, though it did not reach its modern form until the rise of performers like Mary J. Blige. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the hip hop influence grew more prominent in singers like D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott and Alicia Keys.

During the 80's, popular acts like Run-D.M.C. used both hard rock and hip hop, especially in their genre-crossing, unprecedented smash hit "Walk This Way", performed with Aerosmith. Other performers, like Ice-T and his band Body Count used hip hop, punk rock and metal, though the first bands to combine metal with rap vocal techniques are said to be Anthrax and Pantera (others early adopters include Faith No More, Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers). By the end of the 90s, rap-metal grew both more popular and more derided by fans of both genres, with the rise of bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and KoЯn, who were called nu metal.

In Latin America, rapping was already known in the 1980s, in the form of toasting, a part of Jamaican ragga music. Rapped lyrics were already a part of soca music, for example. The growth of hip hop in the area, however, led to more pronounced fusions like reggaeton and timba. Similarly, in Africa, rapping-like vocals (such as Senegalese tassou) were already a part of popular music, and hip hop was easily adapted to popular styles like taarab and mbalax.

Also, one cannot underestimate the influence the genre had over the numerous styles of Electronic Music, mostly in the UK. Hip-Hop's influence is well noticed in genres such as Jungle, UK Garage, Grime and more.

Censorship issues

Hip hop has probably encountered more problems with censorship than any other form of popular music in recent years, due to the use of sexually and violently explicit lyrics. The pervasive use of curse words in many songs has created challenges in the broadcast of such material both on television stations such as MTV, in music video form, and on radio. As a result, many hip hop recordings are broadcast in censored form, with offending language blanked out of the soundtrack (though usually leaving the backing music intact). The result – which quite often renders the remaining lyrics unintelligible – has become almost as widely identified with the genre as any other aspect of the music, and has been parodied in films such as Austin Powers in Goldmember, in which a character – performing in a parody of a hip-hop music video – performs an entire verse that is blanked out.


Main article: Music media

Hip hop has some major American magazines devoted to it, most famously including The Source, XXL and Vibe. For a long time, BET was the only television channel likely to play much hip hop, but in recent years, the mainstream channels VH1 and MTV have played hip hop more than any other style. Many individual cities have produced their own local hip hop newsletters, while hip hop magazines with national distribution are found in a few other countries.



Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

External links

Personal tools