Digital Media Concepts/Evolution of Hip-Hop Music
Evolution of Hip-Hop Music
Introduction (Origins and Cultural Roots:)
The roots of the musical genre of Hip-Hop lie in three underground dance styles: Locking, Popping, and B-Boying. The first versions of what is now known as Hip-Hop came to fruition during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It started as a collaboration among various groups of Black, Latino, and Caribbean American youth at block parties in—community gatherings that had invited disk jockeys to play soul and funk music on the famous spinning disks. There were millions of children who were growing up poor, living in public housing projects in large American cities. These children often grew up with nothing. In the early 1970s, Hip-Hop music emerged in South Bronx, New York City as a reaction to gang culture, violence, poverty, racism, crime, exclusion, and neglect. Inner-city marginalized communities often resonated with an ethos of attempting to fight exclusion and discrimination. Other people love the lyrical flow and instrumental beats. Hip-Hop music has encouraged millions of people to fight for equity and justice. Poets and writers such as Iceberg Slim, Muhammad Ali, and Richard Pryor have had large impacts on Hip-Hop music. DJ Kool Herc is considered to be the "Father of Hip-Hop."
Musical Inspiration edit
Hip-Hop dance, which began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was inspired by movements of African dance traditions. This new style flourished while being performed on the streets for locals and tourists. Hip-Hop dance incorporates aspects of various forms of dance; some examples being tap, swing, and modern dance. The combination of great music and movement complexity made it extremely popular.
Why "Hip-Hop?" edit
The fairly new genre of music was called 'Hip-Hop' because of one story. Someone in a pioneering rap group called "Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five" was teasing one of his friends. This friend of his was enlisting in the army. Soon after the teasing, his friend was marching to a particular beat that was quite catchy. That famous marching beat was later incorporated into many songs.
The History edit
Hip-hop music has only been around for close to five decades. Despite its short existence, it has a history that is quite complex. Coke La Rock was the first rapper to 'spit rhymes'. He formed a partnership with LL Cool J in 1973. In 1979, a hip-hop trio called "Sugarhill Gang" released an album called 'Rapper's Delight'. This album is today widely considered to be the first-ever hip-hop record. It reached the top 40 on the United States Billboard Charts. This album put the new genre in the spotlight. Hip-Hop soon became a full-fledged genre. In the 1980s, the new genre went through a period of diversification. Tools such as 808 drum kits and complex sampling were used to make music sound different and unique. Musicians shifted their styles to more metaphorical rap lyrics. Hip-Hop musicians and rappers had broader collaborations with electronic musicians. Hip-Hop spread to an international audience. People in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan began listening to the music of this new. genre. One important album which was released during this time period was "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
New School Hip-Hop
In 1984, 'new school' Hip-Hop emerged and came onto the growing music scene. Artists such as Run DMC, Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J introduced a new style of music within the genre. They used drum machine beats, minimalism and social-political commentary. Their shorter songs were more radio-friendly.
The Golden Era
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many performers enjoyed massive mainstream success. Some of the greatest artists from this time period are Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., MC Hammer, and A Tribe Called Quest. This period saw the rise of 'gangsta rap,' which emphasized the lifestyles of young, inner-city folk. Schoolly D, Ice-T, and N.W.A. were the first famous 'gangsta rappers'.
By the late 1990s, the genre of hip-hop music was very popular. This popularity lead to successful careers for artists such as Lil Wayne, Timbaland, Nelly, Puff Daddy, Jay Z, Eminem and 50 Cent. In 1995, a trio called "Naughty By Nature" won the first "Best Rap Album" Grammy Award.
In the 2000s artists used influences from electronic music, jazz, punk rock and independent rock to create new musical styles. Outkast, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Juicy J, The Roots, Kid Cudi, Mos Def, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar all became mainstream musicians.
The rise of internet distribution and streaming services has helped the Hip-Hop music industry expand all over the world. New technology has created so much artist expansion. More and more musicians are making mixtapes and are experimenting with music than ever before. The most famous artists that are part of contemporary hip-hop are Cardi B, Future, Migos, Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion, 21 Savage, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Meccas of the Culture edit
Many of the early, prominent hip-hop musicians worked in New York City. As the largest city in the United States and the main media center on the East Coast, New York City was the first hub of all the hip-hop musicians, rappers, Broadway actors, dancers and music producers. Atlanta, Georgia is currently the hub of hip-hop. It has  "built an infrastructure where each generation helps the next crop of artists 'get on.' While New York hip-hop has no such farm system due to years of infighting(Gee). One of example of the industry being communal is when Young Thug told another rapper and friend of his, Lil Baby, to try to stay out of the streets and focus on his craft. Young Thug would encourage him to spend more time in the recording studio producing music. “Young Thug, he gave me all the jewels…He said ‘Bruh you can rap, you got it. You could be next.'” Lil Baby is now one of the most popular artists in Atlanta. People working in the production houses in Atlanta now the costs of musicians feuding with each other. They understand that they are stronger when they unite and work together. 2 Chainz once noted on Everyday Struggle, "the city is small, and everybody got a Draco.” By 'Draco,' he meant a mini AK-47 assault rifle, a gun.
Healing Powers edit
A New York City police commissioner named William Bratton once blamed the rise of hip-hop music (as well as rap music and the culture around it) for a fatal backstage shooting at one of T.I.'s concerts. Bratton said that what had occurred was an effect of "the crazy world of the so-called rap artists that basically celebrates violence." He believed that rap lyrics were a criminal threat to societies. He equated them with violence, crime, profanity and substance abuse as well as discrimination against women.
Values of Hip-Hop Culture edit
The culture at its core is built on values such as social justice, peace, respect, self-worth, community and having fun. The hip-hop genre of music is often used as a healing method for younger people. The culture also embodies resilience and understanding. The four basic elements of Hip-Hop are:
- B-Boys and B-Girls dance
- DJ's Scratch and Mix
- Graffiti artists who draw and write
- Emceeing, or rapping
In the culture, there is emphasis placed on having a knowledge of one's self. The drive for self-awareness and social-consciousness is considered to be extremely important.
Why is Hip-Hop so Popular? edit
Today almost every country in the world has some sort of hip-hop scene. This has come into effect because of commercialization of the Hip-Hop culture as a commodity. The Hip-Hop music industry is now one of the most influential industries in the world. Another reason why the genre of music is so popular is because it remains accessible at the grassroots level. Children can beat box or play beats on a school desk. There is cost-friendly, music creating software (and hardware) that puts more involved participation within reach. This allows flexibility in being creative as well as pathways to entrepreneurship.
Technology Usage edit
Several technologies have become symbolic of producing hip hop's famous sound. These inventions include the turntable, synthesizer, drum machine, and sampler. These four pieces of equipment were created thanks to advancements made on the 1877 invention of the first sound recording and playback device, the phonograph. The phonograph is now known as a turntable. It is simply a record player. Throughout the 1980s, this device was used to play vinyl records. The concept of using a magnetic method to pass and transmit electromagnetic heads was first discovered in the 1880s. By the 1960s, many American music producers had begun using multitrack recording. Soon after that, almost all popular music was recorded through some sort of machine.
The synthesizer was invented in 1970, which changed music forever. It is a portable keyboard device that can simulate sounds of various instruments. There is a collection of switches and buttons. By pressing those buttons and turning those switches, someone can credit original, organic, and rich music. The synthesizer came with memory units. This meant that a piece of music could easily be recorded for later use.
The analog drum machine developed after the synthesizer. Yamaha introduced the DX7, its first commercial and digital synthesizer in 1983. The digital synthesizer led musicians to have increased audio quality, better imitations of real instruments, and produced an almost unmatched level of sound variety. Starting in the early 1990s, music producers began using audio editing software as well as digital effects to create new musical styles. Jazz Rap was created through the work of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Audio editing software has changed the way music is produced for the better. Chris Land, author of "Importance of Sound Editing – Avoid Creating Bad Experiences!" once stated that  Sound editing is important because it "
- improves the quality of your show
- Your show looks more professional
- It creates a more positive first impression
- It also creates a better experience for your listeners in the long-term
- Your content is viewed more positively by partners, sponsors and advertisers "
The last notable technology that was key to the advancement of hip-hop music was the sampler. The sampler allows one to record, edit, and insert audio recordings into their music as they wish. A sample can be anything that was taken from another track. It can be a rhythm, a melody, a beat, vocals or speech, which someone can then manipulate, edit, chop up or loop to fit creatively into a new song. Some of the pioneers of music sampling are J Dilla, Q Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Premier from Gang Starr and the Beastie Boys. Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys used to rap as well as generate most of the beats using the EMU Sp1200.
In the first days of sampling technology, artists would just search for inspiration and use someone else's work that they could find. There were no legal benchmarks regarding sampling, simply because the technology had not taken off yet. In the 1980s, there were many albums that would not be released and sold today because of copyright issues. An album such as ‘Pauls Boutique’ by the Beastie Boys from 1989 would be a good example. Early Hip-Hop records could feature samples from The Beatles or Michael Jackson's original music. There was really nothing in the way of the sampling artists. One British musician and music producer named Jason O'Bryan stated "I think that the golden era of sampling has left a massive legacy for today’s producers, primarily its 'do it yourself' ethic, which is a punk rock attitude of anything is possible. It has a rebellious and illegal nature as well as a willingness to explore, appreciate and reimagine obscure artists. It demands you mix and match genres and enables you to be independent and liberated musically. As a producer, it also exposes you to recreating recording techniques to emulate old recordings and encourages you to add dirt, vibe and feel to your music, something that can be lacking in music today! In my opinion, the flaws and limitations of early sampling technology are exactly the reason why the music of that period continues to inspire and resonate today."
Hip-Hop music has such a massive impact on the lives of people, especially younger people, all over the world. From the ghettoes of New York City to upscale recording studios in Los Angeles, artists and music producers have created music that continue to inspire people to create a better, brighter future. The first rappers would 'spit rhymes,' and their legacies can be seen in music today. Hip-Hop has helped struggling communities find outlets for their problems. It has led people to be creative and innovative. The combination of lyrical flow, electronically generated beats and sampling have made hip-hop music extremely enjoyable for younger listeners especially. Hip-Hop went through various stages and each stage brought something new into this now vast genre of music. The Hip-Hop culture has been so influential, that it has even impacted sports and politics.
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