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HIP HOP HISTORY


Jamaican born DJ Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell is credited as originating hip hop music, in the Bronx, New York, after moving to New York at the age of thirteen. Herc created the blueprint for hip hop music and culture by building upon the Jamaican tradition of toasting, or boasting impromptu poetry and sayings over music, which he witnessed as a child in Jamaica.

Herc and other DJs would tap into the power lines to connect their equipment and perform, at venues such as public basketball courts and the historic building "where hip hop was born," 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York. Their equipment was composed of huge stacks of speakers, turntables, and one or more microphones.Herc was also the developer of break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk songs—the part most suited to dance, usually percussion-based—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. This breakbeat DJing, using hard funk, rock, and records with Latin percussion, formed the basis of hip hop music. Campbell's announcements and exhortations to dancers would lead to the syncopated, rhymed spoken accompaniment we now know as rapping. He dubbed his dancers break-boys and break-girls, or simply b-boys and b-girls. According to Herc, "breaking" was also street slang for "getting excited" and "acting energetically".Herc's terms b-boy, b-girl and breaking became part of the lexicon of hip hop culture, before that culture itself had developed a name.

Later DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting and scratching.The approach used by Herc was soon widely copied, and by the late 1970s DJs were releasing 12" records where they would rap to the beat. Popular tunes included Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks (song)", and The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight."

Emceeing is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. Rapping is derived from the griots (folk poets) of West Africa, and Jamaican-style toasting. Rap developed both inside and outside of hip hop culture, and began with the street parties thrown in the Bronx neighborhood of New York in the 1970s by Kool Herc and others. It originated as MCs would talk over the music to promote their DJ, promote other dance parties, take light-hearted jabs at other lyricists, or talk about problems in their areas and issues facing the community as a whole.

Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five, is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an "MC".

Hip hop as a culture was further defined in 1983, when Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released a track called "Planet Rock." Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa created an innovative electronic sound, taking advantage of the rapidly improving drum machine and synthesizer technology. The appearance of music videos changed entertainment: they often glorified urban neighborhoods.The music video for Planet Rock showcased the subculture of hip hop musicians, graffiti artists and breakdancers. Many hip hop-related films were released between 1983 and 1985, among them Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, Breakin, and the documentary Style Wars.

These films expanded the appeal of hip hop beyond the boundaries of New York. By 1985, youth worldwide were laying down scrap linoleum or cardboard, setting down portable "boombox" stereos and spinning on their backs in Adidas tracksuits and sneakers to music by Run DMC, LL Cool J, the Fat Boys, Herbie Hancock, EPMD, Soulsonic Force, Jazzy Jay, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and Stetsasonic, just to name a few. The hip hop artwork and "slang" of US urban communities quickly found its way to Europe and Asia, as the culture's global appeal took root.

The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through hip hop. In 1982, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee recorded "The Message" (officially credited to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five), a song that foreshadowed the socially conscious statements of Run-DMC's "It's like That" and Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos."

During the 1980s, hip hop also embraced the creation of rhythm by using the human body, via the vocal percussion technique of beatboxing. Early pioneers such as Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, and Buffy from the Fat Boys made beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using their mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and other body parts. "Human Beatbox" artists would also sing or imitate turntablism scratching or other instrument sounds.
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