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Hip-hop music is a genre of music that comprises of schematic rhythmic music and generally involves rapping, and is characterized by four fundamental stylistic elements; breakdancing, DJing, MCing, and graffiti. Besides these four primary elements, other elements such as sampling and beatboxing are also used in hip-hop music. Hip-Hop music evolved as a component of the hip-hop culture during the 1970s. The history of the evolution and reinvention of hip-hop music is interesting.
Hip-hop music traces its roots to African-American music, and finally to African music. The griots belonging to West Africa are a faction people that specialize as storytellers, musicians, poets, praise singers, or a combination of the former, who follow the oral tradition. Their singing style closely resembles that of rappers. Hip-hop surfaced in the 1970s when the block parties were gaining popularity in New York, especially in Bronx, which had a collective African-American and Puerto Rican influence. Separation of percussive breaks from famous songs was the usual style of Jamaican music, which was presented to New York audiences by immigrated Jamaican DJs. One such DJ was Kool Herc who is regarded as the pioneer of hip-hop.
Hip-hop derived influence from disco music, which was losing popularity in the later part of the 1970s. During these times, hip-hop music was based on disco tracks; this gave rise to a new genre called “disco-rap”. In 1979, DJ Disco Wiz developed a mixed dub sound recording by mixing special effects, sound, and paused beats. Major hip-hop records released thereafter included The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and Fatback Band’s "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" Band amongst others.
The 1980s saw the diversification of hip-hop as it became multi-faceted. Hip-hop was combined with electro, dub music as well as rock music. Advancements were noticed in the lyrical content of hip-hop as well. Hip-hop flourished with record labels like Prism Records, Tommy Boy, and Profile Records fervently releasing records. Artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Cybotron, and Hashim largely influenced hip-hop movement in the 1980s. New age hip-hop originated and flourished during this period. This music was characterized by drum-machine minimalism and rock music.
The period between the mid-1980s and early 1990s is termed as the golden era of hip-hop music as many ground-breaking, diverse, and innovative albums were released during this era. Popular hip-hop artists of this era include Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane and Gang Starr amongst others. In the 1990s, hip-hop was the bestselling genre in music having sold around 81 million CDs. Diddy, the Fugees, and Wu-Tang Clan were notable artists during the 90s. The 2000s and subsequent years saw hip-hop retain their popularity. Eminem, Jay-Z, Nelly and Lil John were some of the artists who reigned during this era. This era also saw the rise of alternative hip-hop, which consists of styles that are not mainstream styles of hip-hop.
Hip-hop contributed widely to the world of music with its international acceptance in various forms. Artists belonging to Denmark and Sweden gained international acclaim owing to their contribution to hip-hop music. Hip-hop also spread across Canada, China, Korea, India, Vietnam as well as Japan. East-Asian variations which combined hip-hop with local beats include C-pop, J-pop, and K-pop.
Hip-hop gained popularity in the form of gangsta pop in France and Germany where hard-hitting lyrics were favored by the youngsters. While in France, Kery James lent a revolutionary and anti-despotic color to his songs through his work in Idéal J. In Israel, Subliminal produced lyrics with religious and political ideas that influenced youngsters. UK witnessed the rise of Grime, a by-product of hip-hop, with the success of Dizzee Rascal.
Hip-hop has etched out a global position in the world of music owing to its ability to be effortlessly fused with regional music and culture. Various perceptions of hip-hop has inspired music in different parts of the world, each time becoming successful. Hip-hop has largely emerged as people’s music giving form and voice to their feelings and ideas. Through its universal appeal, it has transcended boundaries; nevertheless, it has carved a unique presence in every region that it traversed maintaining strong ties to the local culture.
Reese, Renford. "Dr. Renford R. Reese's Homepage." Dr. Renford R. Reese's Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <http://www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/HIPHOP.HTML>.
Scaruffi, Piero. "A History of Hip-hop and Rap Music." A History of Hip-hop and Rap Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <http://www.scaruffi.com/history/hiphop.html>.