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HIP HOP ETYMOLOGY


The word "hip" was used as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) as early as 1904. The colloquial language meant "informed" or "current," and was likely derived from the earlier form hep.

Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins, a rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five has been credited with the coining of the term hip hop in 1978 while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" cadence into a part of his stage performance. The group frequently performed with disco artists who would refer to this new type of MC / DJ produced music by calling them "those hip-hoppers". The name was originally meant as sign of disrespect, but was soon came to identify this new music and culture. Other artists quickly copied the Furious Five and began using the term in their music; for example the opening of the song "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang in addition the verse found on Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's own "Supperrappin", both released in 1979. Lovebug Starski, and DJ Hollywood then began using the term when referring to this new disco rap music. Hip hop pioneer and South Bronx community leader Afrika Bambaataa also credits Lovebug Starski, a Bronx DJ who put out a single called "The Positive Life" in 1981, as the first to use of the term "Hip Hop," as it relates to the culture. Bambaataa, a former Black Spades gang member also did much to further popularize the term.

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