Hip hop culture

Hip hop culture

Hip hop is a subculture, which is said to have begun with the work of DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, and Afrika Bambaattaa. The four main aspects, or "elements", of hip hop culture are MCing (rapping), DJing, urban inspired art/tagging (graffiti), and b-boying (or breakdancing). Equally vital but not always recognizable is the fifth element, the element of "building" (raising consciousness). The most known "extended" elements are beatboxing, hip hop fashion, and hip hop slang.

Cultural pillars


While hip hop did not invent DJing, it has extended its boundaries and techniques. The first hip hop DJ was Kool DJ Herc, who created hip hop through the isolation of "breaks" (the parts of albums that focused solely on the beat). In addition to developing Herc's techniques, DJs Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Grandmaster Caz made further innovations with the introduction of scratching.

Traditionally, a DJ will use two turntables simultaneously. These are connected to a DJ mixer, an amplifier, speakers, and various other pieces of electronic music equipment. The DJ will then perform various tricks between the two albums currently in rotation using the above listed methods. The result is a unique sound created by the seemingly combined sound of two separate songs into one song. A DJ should not be confused with a producer of a music track (though there is considerable overlap between the two roles).

In the early years of hip hop, the DJs were the stars, but their limelight has been taken by MCs since 1978, thanks largely to Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash's crew, the Furious Five. However, a number of DJs have gained stardom nonetheless in recent years. Famous DJs include Grandmaster Flash, Mr. Magic, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Scratch from EPMD, DJ Premier from Gang Starr, DJ Scott La Rock from Boogie Down Productions, DJ Pete Rock of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC, Eric B., Funkmaster Flex, Tony Touch, DJ Clue, DJ Q-Bert. The underground movement of turntablism has also emerged to focus on the skills of the DJ.


Rapping, also known as Emceeing, MCing, Rhyme spitting, Spitting, or just Rhyming, is the rhythmic delivery of rhymes, one of the central elements of hip hop music and culture. Although the word "rap" has sometimes been claimed to be a backronym of the phrase "Rhythmic American Poetry", "Rhythm and Poetry", "Rhythmically Applied Poetry", or "Rhythmically Associated Poetry", use of the word to describe quick and slangy speech or repartee long predates the musical form. ["Oxford English Dictionary"] Rapping can be delivered over a beat or without accompaniment.



The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists practicing other aspects of hip hop, and its being practiced in areas where other elements of hip hop were evolving as art forms. Graffiti is recognized as a visual expression of rap music, just as breakdancing is viewed as a physical expression. The book "Subway Art" (New York: Henry Holt & Co, 1984) and the TV program "Style Wars" (first shown on the PBS channel in 1984) were among the first ways the mainstream public were introduced to hip hop graffiti.


B-boying, also known as breaking or B-girling (for women) by its practitioners and followers, is a dynamic style of dance. Breaking began to take form in the South Bronx alongside the other elements of hip hop. The "B" in B-boy stands for break, as in break-boy (or girl).The term "B-boy" originated from the dancers at DJ Kool Herc's parties, who saved their best dance moves for the break section of the song, getting in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. According to the documentary film The Freshest Kids, a history of the b-boy; DJ Kool Herc describes the b in b-boy as short for breaking which at the time was slang for "going off" also one of the original names for the dance. However, early on the dance was known as the "boiong" (the sound a spring makes). Breaking was briefly documented for release to a world wide audience for the first time in "Style Wars", and was later given a little more focus in the fictional film "Beat Street". The Zulu Kings are believed to be earliest B-Boy "crew."

BBoying is one of the major elements of hip hop culture, commonly associated with, but distinct from, "popping", "locking", "hitting", "ticking", "boogaloo", and other funk styles that evolved independently during the late 1960s in California. It was common during the 1980s to see a group of people with a radio on a playground, basketball court, or sidewalk performing a bboy show for a large audience.


Beatboxing, popularized by Doug E. Fresh, is the vocal percussion of hip hop culture. It is primarily concerned with the art of creating beats, rhythms, and melodies using the human mouth. The term "beatboxing" is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. As it is a way of creating hip-hop music, it can be categorized under the production element of hip-hop, though it does sometimes include a type of rapping intersected with the human-created beat.

The art form enjoyed a strong presence in the '80s with artists like the Darren "Buffy, the Human Beat Box" Robinson of the
Fat Boys and Biz Markie showing their beatboxing skills. Beatboxing declined in popularity along with break dancing in the late '80s, and almost slipped even deeper than the underground. Beatboxing has been enjoying a resurgence since the late '90s, marked by the release of "Make the Music 2000." by Rahzel of The Roots (known for even singing while beatboxing).

As it grew and developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, the scope of hip hop culture grew beyond the boundaries of its traditional four elements.Fact|date=July 2007 KRS-ONE, a rapper from the golden age of hip hop, names nine elements of hip hop culture: the traditional four and beatboxing, plus hip hop fashion, hip hop slang, street knowledge, and street entrepreneurship. He also suggests that hip hop is a cultural movement and that the word itself had to reflect this.Fact|date=July 2007 He spells it Hiphop (one word, capital "h") and this is reflected in his Temple of Hiphop.

ocial impact


People live in an age where the media, particularly from the United States, greatly impacts and influences people's thoughts around the world. People's ideas are heavily inspired by movies, books, articles, but one form of mass communication that deeply influences people around the world in particular is hip hop music. One person that helps describe the phenomenon of how hip hop spread rapidly around the world and diffusion of Global Culture is Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor at Harvard University. Professor Patterson argues that mass communication is controlled by the wealthy, government, and businesses in Third World nations and countries around the world.Patterson, Orlando. "Global Culture and the American Cosmos." The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Paper Number 21994 01Feb2008 .] Professor Patterson believes that mass communication created a global cultural hip hop scene. As a result, the youth absorb and are influenced by the American hip hop scene and start their own form of hip hop. Professor Patterson believes that revitalization of hip hop music will occur around the world as traditional values are mixed with American hip hop musical forms, and ultimately a global exchange process will develop that brings youth around the world to listen to a common musical form known as hip hop.


Hip hop has a creative and distinctive slang. 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.

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 and E-40, who add "-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 1980 single "Double Dutch Bus", has spread to even non-hip hop fans, who may be unaware of its derivation. As a genre of music popular all over the world, World hip hop, in which African-American English is not the dialect used, is as prevalent as ever.


Hip hop has probably encountered more problems with censorship than any other form of popular music in recent years, due to the frequency of expletives used in lyrics.Fact|date=April 2008 It also receives flak for being anti-establishment, and many of its songs depict wars and coup d'états that in the end overthrow the government. For example, Public Enemy's "Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need" was edited without their permission, removing the words "free Mumia". [cite news|author=Evan Serpick |date=July 9, 2006 |url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/commentary/0,6115,386104_3%7C16756%7C%7C0_0_,00.html |title=MTV: Play It Again |publisher=Entertainment Weekly]

After the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Oakland, California group The Coup was under fire for the cover art on their "Party Music", which featured the group's two members holding a detonator as the Twin Towers exploded behind them. Ironically, this art was created months before the actual event. The group, having politically radical and Marxist lyrical content, said the cover meant to symbolize the destruction of capitalism. Their record label pulled the album until a new cover could be designed.

The use of profanity as well as graphic depictions of violence and sex creates 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 "bleeped" or blanked out of the soundtrack (though usually leaving the backing music intact), or even replaced with "clean" lyrics. The result – which sometimes renders the remaining lyrics unintelligible or contradictory to the original recording – 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 Mike Myers' character Dr. Evil – performing in a parody of a hip hop music video ("Hard Knock Life" by Jay-Z) – performs an entire verse that is blanked out. In 1995 Roger Ebert wrote: [cite web|author=Roger Ebert |date=August 11, 1995 |title=Reviews: Dangerous Minds |publisher=Chicago Sun-Times |url=http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950811/REVIEWS/508110301/1023]

In a way to circumvent broadcasting regulations BET has created a late-night segment called "Uncut" to air uncensored videos. Not only has this translated into greater sales for mainstream artists, it has also provided an outlet for undiscovered artists to grab the spotlight with graphic but low production quality videos, often made cheaply by non-professionals. Perhaps the most notorious video aired, which for many came to exemplify BET's program Uncut, was "Tip Drill" by Nelly. While no more explicit than other videos, its exploitative depiction of women, particularly of a man swiping a credit card between a stripper's buttocks, was seized upon by many social activists for condemnation. The segment was discontinued in mid 2006.

Product placement in hip hop

Critics such as Businessweek's David Kiley argue that the discussion of many products within hip hop music and culture may actually be the result of undisclosed product placement deals. Such critics allege that shilling or product placement takes place in commercial rap music, and that lyrical references to products are actually paid endorsements, often with only a small portion, if any amount, of the proceeds going to the actual artists.Kiley, David. [http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2005/04/hip_hop_twostep.html Hip Hop Two-Step Over Product Placement] BusinessWeek Online, April 6, 2005, accessed January 5, 2007] In 2005, a proposed plan by McDonalds, which would have paid rappers to advertise McDonalds food in their music, was leaked to the press. After Russell Simmons made a deal with Courvoisier to promote the brand among hip hop fans, Busta Rhymes recorded the song "Pass The Courvoisier". Simmons insists that no money changed hands in the deal.

The symbiotic relationship has also stretched to include car manufacturers, clothing designers and sneaker companies, and many other companies have used the hip-hop community to make their name or to give the credibility. One such beneficiary was Jacob the Jeweler, a diamond merchant from New York, Jacob Arabo's clientèle included Sean Combs, Lil Kim and Nas. He created jewelry pieces from precious metals that were heavily loaded with diamond and gemstones. As his name was mentioned in the song lyrics of his hip hop customers, his profile quickly rose. Arabo expanded his brand to include gem-encrusted watches that retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, gaining so much attention that Cartier filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against him for putting diamonds on the faces of their watches and reselling them without permission. [cite news |first=Corey |last= Williams|title= 'Jacob the Jeweler' pleads guilty |url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071101/ap_en_ot/people_jacob_jeweler |publisher=Associated Press |date=2006-11-01 |accessdate=2007-11-01 ] Arabo's profile increased steadily until his June, 2006 arrest by the FBI on money laundering charges. [cite news |first=Nancy Jo |last= Sales|title= Is Hip-Hop's Jeweler on the Rocks? |url=http://www.vanityfair.com/fame/features/2006/11/jacob200611?currentPage=1 |publisher=Vanity Fair |date=2007-10-31 |accessdate=2008-04-14 ]

While some brands welcome the support of the hip-hop community, one brand that did not was Cristal champagne maker Louis Roederer. A 2006 article from The Economist magazine featured remarks from managing director Frederic Rouzaud about whether the brand's identification with rap stars could affect their company negatively. His answer was dismissive in tone: "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business." In retaliation, many hip hop icons such as Jay-Z and Sean Combs who previous included references to "Cris", ceased all mentions and purchases of the champagne.


Hip-hop culture is intrinsically related to television; there have been a number of television shows devoted to or about hip-hop. 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 added a significant amount of hip hop to their play list. With the emergence of the Internet a number of online sites have also begun to offer Hip Hop related video content.

Hip hop films have been related since hip-hop's conception and have become even more related in the 21st century. During the early 1990s, African-Americans experienced a film renassiance, sparked by the popularity of hood films, in-depth looks at urban life, focusing on violence, family, friends and hip-hop. There have also been a number of hip hop films, movies which focused on hip-hop as a subject.

Hip hop magazines have a large place in hip hop culture, including "Hip Hop Connection", " XXL", "Scratch", "The Source" and "Vibe". 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. The 21st century also ushered in the rise of online media, and hip hop fan sites now offer comprehensive hip hop coverage on a daily basis.


Hip hop has spawned dozens of sub-genres which incorporate a style of production or rapping which dominates their music. Though it began a stereotypically African American music, it has since spread to all people of the world.

Hip-hop influences people in many different ways, such as the vocabulary people use (Slang words), the way people dress, and the way they carry themselves, at times people are influenced so much that they will do a lot of things their favorite rappers are doing, sort of idolizing them, there are cases where fans get tattoos that their favorite rappers have. Hip-Hop has now expanded and gone on a global scale, millions of rap albums are sold in foreign countries, some are not English speaking countries, yet people go out of their way and purchase these albums even thought they don’t understand the message the song carries, and manage to memorize the lyrics and sing along not knowing what they are saying. In foreign countries Hip-Hop has influenced natives to pursue rap careers and do what is being done in the United States such as following the trends, in their country. This is a product of globalization and it explains how popular culture can be interwoven with the everyday life of individuals that follow it, and how it can affect them in many ways.Like jazz, hip-hop is one of the few musical genres seen as thoroughly, entirely American. With its popularization all over the world, however, it is now an international, rather than American, genre of music. Here, it is important to note the varying social influences that affect hip-hop's message in different nations. Frequently a musical response to political and/or social injustices, the face of hip-hop varies greatly from nation to nation.


In France, hip hop music and culture has been appropriated by African and Arab teens to describe their political and economic disenfranchisement, the racism they face and the housing projects many live in outside the city of Paris.Fact|date=July 2007


Cuba's hip hop movement is used to express political discontent and to decry the poverty found in that island nation under Fidel Castro's leadership.Fact|date=July 2007

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's styles of hip hop differ strongly from its American roots due to the nation's colonial history in the Caribbean and India. An influx of immigrants from these regions, particularly from the 1960s and '70s has led to a hip hop generation that has been born of immigrant parents and greatly influenced by their heritage, but who are firmly rooted in the Anglo culture. Interestingly, more female rappers have achieved mainstream success in the U.K. than in America.Fact|date=July 2007 Among the more well-known are Ms. Dynamite and Lady Sovereign who toured the U.S. in 2007 with Gwen Stefani and Akon.

outhern Africa

In South Africa the largest form of hip hop is called Kwaito, which has had a growth similar to American hip hop. Kwaito is a direct reflection of a post apartheid South Africa and is a voice for the voiceless; a term that U.S. hip hop is often referred to. Kwaito has become much more than just music, it has evolved into a lifestyle, encompassing all aspects of life including language and fashion. [ [http://www.time.com/time/europe/html/040419/kwaito.html TIMEeurope Magazine | Viewpoint ] ] The music of Kwaito is both politically and party driven. The politically fuelled music gives a voice to oppressed people that have no other way to voice their concerns and find music to be very accessible, not only to themselves but also to the audiences they are trying to reach. On the other hand the club driven music can also be seen as political in the sense that the artists couldn't care less about the post apartheid life they live and are more concerned about having a good time and not how their access to this life came about. Kwaito is a music that came from a once hated and oppressed people, but it is now sweeping the nation. The main consumers of Kwaito are adolescents and half of the South African population is under 21. Some of the large Kwaito artists have sold over 100,000 albums, and in an industry where 25,000 albums sold is considered a gold record, those are impressive numbers. [ [http://www.southafrica.info/what_happening/news/features/kwaitomental.htm Kwaito: much more than music - SouthAfrica.info ] ] In the end Kwaito gives aspirations to the oppressed people of a post apartheid South Africa, where they now have a control over a very influence source of media, music. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2822/is_3_28/ai_n15648564 South African music after Apartheid: kwaito, the "party politic," and the appropriation of gold as a sign of success | Popular Music and Society | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]


In Jamaica the sounds of hip hop are derived from American and Jamaican influences. Jamaican hip hop is defined both through dancehall and Reggae music. Jamaican Kool Herc brought the sound systems, technology, and techniques of Reggae music to New York during the 1970’s. Jamaican hip hop artists often rap in both Brooklyn and Jamaican accents. Jamaican hip hop subject matter is often influenced by outside and internal forces. Outside forces such as the bling-bling era of today's modern hip hop and internal influences coming from the use of anti colonialism and marijuana or "Ganja" references which Rastafarians believe bring them closer to God. [Bling-bling for Rastafari: How Jamaicans deal with hip-hop by Wayne Marshall] [http://https://moodle.brandeis.edu/file.php/3404/pdfs/marshall-bling-bling.pdf/]

[ [http://worldmusic.about.com/od/genres/p/Reggae.htm Reggae Music 101 - Learn More About Reggae Music - History of Reggae ] ]

Author Wayne Marshall argues that "Hip hop, as with any number of African-American cultural forms before it, offers a range of compelling and contradictory significations to Jamaican artist and audiences. From "modern blackness" to foreign mind," transnational cosmopolitanism to militant pan-Africanism, radical remixology to outright mimicry, hip-hop in Jamaica embodies the myriad ways that Jamaicans embrace, reject, and incorporate foreign yet familiar forms." [Marshall, Wayne "Bling-Bling ForRastafari: How Jamaicans Deal With Hip-Hop"Social and Economic Studies 55:1&2 (2006):49-74]

Developing world

In the developing world hip hop has made a considerable impact in the social context. Despite the lack of resources, hip hop has made considerable inroads. [Schwartz, Mark. "Planet Rock: Hip Hop Supa National." In The Vibe History of Hip-hop, ed. Alan Light, 361-72. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999. ] Because funds are limited, hip hop artists are forced to use very basic tools, and even graffiti, an important aspect of the hip hop culture, is constrained because it is not available to the average person. However, the vibrant culture is what fuels the spread of hip hop in developing nations and the general political instability that comes along with a developing nation. Many hip hop artists that make it out of the developing world come to places like the United States in search of an identity and place that fits them specifically. Maya Arulpragasm is a Sri Lankan born hip hop artist in this situation. She claims, "I'm just trying to build some sort of bridge, I'm trying to create a third place, somewhere in between the developed world and the developing world." [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/arts/music/19sisa.html?_r=2&ref=music&oref=slogin&oref=slogin An Itinerant Refugee in a Hip-Hop World - New York Times ] ]

Hip hop and religions

Religion and spirituality is found in the music of many successful mainstream and underground artists, even as many artists focus on issues outwardly non-religious. Kanye West made this distinction in his song "Jesus Walks" where he repeatedly declares his devotion to Jesus while noting that "They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus/That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes/But if I talk about God my record won't get played Huh?". Rapper DMX is also known to include prayers on his albums, and claimed interest in producing a gospel album.Fact|date=June 2008 Mase, a rapper best known for his association with Bad Boy Records, retired from the rap industry to become an ordained minister.


Islam has been a spiritual and political force within African-American communities in the United States since at least the 1960s, when the Nation of Islam gained national attention under the dynamic spokesmanship of Malcolm X (who subsequently left and disavowed his support of the group while remaining a Muslim).Fact|date=July 2007 Many conscious hip hop artists, who see their music as a tool for political and social change, have embraced Islam. A short list of Muslim rappers: Busta Rhymes, Freeway, Mos Def, Ice Cube, Paris, Q-Tip, Brother Ali, Ghostface Killah, Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Jus Allah, Vinnie Paz, Beanie Sigel, Native Deen, and Jurassic 5.

The Nation of Gods and Earths gained a significant presence in hip hop with the emergence of the Wu-Tang Clan. All nine members, with the exception of Ghostface Killah, a Sunni Muslim, and several affiliates, are affiliated with the nation, as are other artists such as Eric B. and Rakim, Jadakiss, Nas, and Big Daddy Kane. The Wu-Tang often drop references to the nation's teachings in their lyrics. RZA even published a book "The Wu-Tang Manual" which in part, explained these references. The entire Brand Nubian group lineup are members of The Nation; also, Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian, released an album in 2006 entitled "The 5% Album". Tupac Shakur was a member of the Nation, but he had never described himself as either a muslim or a christian. There is even a whole subgenre in rap music called muslim rap,but Islam has affected the evolution of hip hop because of the number of rappers who have been Muslim. Some Muslim rappers wear the kufi cap.

Internationally, Islam figures prominently in French hip hop, where the majority of artists are Muslims of primarily Algerian descent, in Arabic hip hop, and in Iranian hip hop.


Christian hip-hop is by far the most common form of overtly religious hip hop and many of the artists in this sub-genre are actually ordained ministers. Artists of note include Cross Movement,Pigeon John,Braille,Red Cloud, Mars ILL, L.A Symphony, Da' T.R.U.T.H., KJ52, Flame, Lecrae, John Reuben, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Sho Baraka, T-Bone, Fresh IE, Mr. Del (formerly of Three Six Mafia), Righteous B, Toby Mac, Guvna B, Corey Red, Json, 116 Clique, Simply Andy,Brothatone, Andale, Heatflow, Oldhead, G-Force, Cho'zyn, Mynista, Karl Nova, BIBLIKAL and many others.


The only Jewish artists to have gained large-scale success in hip hop are the Beastie Boys, although Hassidic Jew Matisyahu has recently gained considerable attention. One of the most respected Jewish Hip Hop artists is MC Serch one half of the New York based Rap duo 3rd Bass. MC Serch is known for his intelligent and socially conscious rhymes and recently created the VH-1 special "The White Rapper Show" which was a talent search for the next great white Rapper. Ill Bill, who is a prominent underground rapper and affiliate of MC Serch had a brief appearance on The White Rapper Show with his group La Coka Nostra, is also Jewish. Rapper Necro, who, coincidentally is Ill Bill's younger brother, is Jewish as well. There is also the lesser know group Blood of Abraham which was comprised of Mazik and Ben-Yad. They were signed by the late Eazy-E and Ruthless records and addressed such themes as anti-semitism and racism in their lyrics. They have toured with the Black Eyed Peas for years. Remedy is a Jewish affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan. Former The Roots member and producer Scott Storch is also Jewish. Less well known is Princess Superstar.Popular Jewish-Israeli rappers include Subliminal and The Shadow.


Though not as prominent as other religions in hip hop, pagan rappers include Emcee Lynx, a conscious hip hop artist from Oakland, California who self-identifies as a Druid, and The Heretics. There are many other less well-known artists as well.


Sikhism has gained prominence in the hip hop scene not only in India, but also in other parts of the world where there are large Sikh populations - and in the UK, particularly west London, and the Silicon Valley / South Bay region of California in particular. In India, hip hop music is often mixed with Bhangra and Electronica to produce a high-energy fusion incorporating traditional Punjabi musical traditions and high-speed raps. Most of the artists of indian Hip Hop are based in foreign countires (United Kingdom [UK] , Canada, USA etc) where they self-identify themselves as Desi hip hoppers (Desi which means - Of the Homeland). Very few artists like the United Desis [http://www.uniteddesis.com] originate and represent hip hop from India (Mumbai) [http://www.americanbhangra.com/americanbhangrahistory.php]

Other religions

Given the importance of religion in general as a key facet of most rappers' self-expression, the environment in the culture is generally hospitable to a diverse range of religious expressions. Among the minority religions represented in the hip-hop community are Sikhism, The Bahá’í Faith and Buddhism. Sikh rappers are concentrated mostly in the UK, India and Australia, although the most famous is likely the Canadian rapper Sikh Knowledge. Bahá’í rappers include members of Blue Scholars and Common Market, as well as Gabriel Teodoros, New York's Fort Tabarsi and others in the United States and Canada, including one in Toronto who also affiliates with Universal Sufism. Chinese hip hop is home to several Buddhist rappers, although their numbers in the United States are few. Stoupe and Toki Wright are both Buddhists, but presently there is no organized community of Buddhist rappers in the United States.


Having its roots from reggae , disco , funk, hip hop has since exponentially expanded into a widely accepted form of representation world wide. It expansion includes events like Afrika Bambaataa releasing "Planet Rock" in 1982 which tried to establish a more global harmony in hip hop. In the 1990s MC Solaar became an international hit that was not from America, the first of his kind. From the 80's onward, television became the major source of widespread outsourcing of hip hop to the global world. From YO! MTV Raps, a television show that was shown in many countries to Public enemies world tour, Hip Hop spread further to Latin America and became highly mainstream. Ranging from countries like France, Spain, England, the US and many many other countries world wide, voices want to be heard, and hip hop allows them to do so. As such, hip hop has been cut mixed and changed to the areas that adapt to it. [ Chang, Jeff. “It’s a Hip-hop World.” Foreign Policy 163, Nov/Dec 2007, 58-65. ] [ [http://www.afropop.org/explore/album_review/ID/2450/Global+Hip+Hop:+Beats+and+Rhymes-The+Nu+World+Cult Global Hip Hop: Beats and Rhymes-The Nu World Cult ] ]

Early hip hop has often been credited with helping to reduce inner-city gang violence by replacing physical violence with hip hop battles of dance and artwork. However, with the emergence of commercial and crime-related rap during the early 1990s, an emphasis on violence was incorporated, with many rappers boasting about drugs, weapons, misogyny, and violence. While hip hop music now appeals to a broader demographic, media critics argue that socially and politically conscious hip hop has long been disregarded by mainstream America in favor of its media-baiting sibling, gangsta rap. [http://www.cas.muohio.edu/eng421/cases/butler1.html template ] ]

Many artists are now considered to be alternative/underground hip hop when they attempt to reflect what they believe to be the original elements of the culture. Artists/groups such as Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dilated Peoples, dead prez, Blackalicious, and Jurassic 5 may emphasize messages of verbal skill, unity, or activism instead of messages of violence, material wealth, and misogyny.

Authenticity is often a serious debate within hip hop culture. Dating back to its origins in the 1970’s in the Bronx, hip hop revolved around a culture of protest and freedom of expression in the wake of oppression. As hip hop has become less of an underground culture, it is subject to debate whether or not the spirit of hip hop is embodied in protest, or whether it can evolve to exist in a marketable integrated version. In “Authenticity Within Hip-Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation,” Commentator Kembrew McLeod argues that hip hop culture is actually threatened with assimilation by a larger, mainstream culture. [McLeod, Kembrew. “Authenticity Within Hip-Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation.” "Journal of Communication". 1999. 49:134.] In accordance with McLeod's position, Greg Tate an editor of the Village Voice also voices that hip hop is slowly losing its edge due to the genre's involvement in the mainstream, hyper-capitalist world. Believing that hip hop should be utilized as a voice for social justice, Tate points out that in the marketable version of hip hop, there isn't a role for this evolved genre in context of the original theme hip hop originated from (freedom from oppression). The problem with Black progressive political organizing isn't that hip hop, but that the No. 1 issue on the table needs to be poverty, and nobody knows how to make poverty sexy. [ Tate, Greg. “Hip-hop Turns 30: Whatcha Celebratin’ For?” Village Voice. 4 January 2005. ] Tate discusses how the dynamic of progressive Black politics cannot apply to the genre of hip hop in the current state today due to the genre's heavy involvement in the market. In his article he discusses Hip Hop's 30th birthday and it's evolution has been a devolution due to its capitalistic endeavors. Both Tate and McLeod argue that hip hop has lost its authenticity due to its losing sight of the revolutionary theme and humble "folksy" beginnings the music originated from.“This is the first time artists from around the world will be performing in an international context. The ones that are coming are considered to be the key members of the contemporary underground hip-hop movement." This is how the music landscape has broadened around the world over the last ten years. The maturation of Hip Hop has gotten older with the genres age, but the initial reasoning of why Hip Hop has started will always be intact. Expression and oppression will always be at the root of any Hip Hop movement.

Though born in the United States, the reach of hip hop is global. Youth culture and opinion is meted out in both Israeli hip hop and Palestinian hip hop, while France, Germany, the U.K., Africa and the Caribbean have long-established hip hop followings. According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is "now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world," that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines. [http://usinfo.state.gov/scv/Archive/2006/May/12-522164.html Hip-Hop Culture Crosses Social Barriers - US Department of State ] ] National Geographic recognizes hip hop as "the world's favorite youth culture" in which "just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene." [http://worldmusic.nationalgeographic.com/worldmusic/view/page.basic/genre/content.genre/hip_hop_730 Hip Hop: National Geographic World Music ] ]

Notes and references

* Chang, Jeff. "Can't Stop, Won't Stop".
* Rose, Tricia (1994). "Black Noise". Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6275-0
* Light, Alan (ed). (1999). "The VIBE History of Hip-Hop". New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80503-7
* George, Nelson (2000, rev. 2005). "Hip-Hop America". St. Louis: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028022-7
* Toop, David (1984, rev. 1991). "Rap Attack II: African Rap To Global Hip Hop". New York. New York: Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1-85242-243-2 .
* Fricke, Jim and Ahearn, Charlie (eds). (2002). "Yes Yes Y'All: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip Hop's First Decade". New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81184-7
* Corvino, Daniel and Livernoche, Shawn (2000). "A Brief History of Rhyme and Bass: Growing Up With Hip Hop". Tinicum, PA: Xlibris Corporation/The Lightning Source, Inc. ISBN 1-4010-2851-9
* Kitwana, Bakar (2004). The State of Hip-Hop Generation: how hip-hop's culture movement is evolving into political power. Retrieved December 4, 2006. From Ohio Link Database
*(1999) Light, Alan, ed. "The VIBE History of Hip-Hop". New York: Three Rivers Press.
*Ro, Ronin. Bad Boy: The Influence of Sean “Puffy” Combs on the Music Industry. New York: Pocket Books, 2001.
*Gueraseva, Stacy. Def Jam Inc. New York: Random House, 2005
*Brown, Jake. Suge Knight: The Rise, fall, and Rise of Death Row Records. Phoenix: Colossus Books, 2002.
* Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, [http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/ogbhip.html"Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap"] Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

External links

* [http://www.b-boys.com/hiphoptimeline.html Hip Hop History Timeline]
* [http://city-journal.org/html/17_3_black_america.html "In the Heart of Freedom, In Chains": 2007 "City Journal" article on Hip Hop and Black America]
* [http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0501,tate,59766,2.html/full Village voice article on hip hop]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/25/arts/music/25hiph.html NYtimes article on hip hop]
* [http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/archives/20/public_enemy.html McLeod, Kembrew. Interview with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee. 2002. "Stay Free Magazine", issue 20]

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