Hip hop is one of the most popular genres of today’s Billboard charts
- it is a major part of the cultural world we live in. Although
today’s youth are often attracted by the braggadocio and “bling” of
top rap hits, there is a rich history behind the music.

Hip hop’s roots originated in the poverty and crime stricken South
Bronx, NYC in the 1970. The founders of the movement consider hip hop
to be defined as a broad term that describes a culture, which includes
dance (breakdancing), music (DJing/beatboxing), words (rapping), art
(graffiti), as well as specific fashion trends and slang. Originally
strictly party music, rap began as nothing more than short, simple
rhymes shouted out by the host of a party as the DJ rocked the house
with funk, soul, Motown, reggae, and R&B records. Once the star of the
party, eventually the DJ took second stage to these rappers who
developed longer and more complex rhymes. Dancers got in on the
creative spirit as well, and they would often compete for crowd
approval during extended “breaks” of songs. DJs eventually finessed
their skills into the art form of turntablism, perfecting scratches
and blending multiple records at the same time to impress the party

Hip hop today at its best has evolved into a complex culture. The
lyrics of modern hip hop often carry double meanings / messages in the
same tradition as spirituals; challenge yourself to look beyond the
surface and to dig deeply into this amazingly creative music and come
to appreciate it as an art form. Some talented rappers can sustain
double and triple entendres, extended metaphors, and purposeful
mispronounciation of words to blur meaning – all in a freestyle improv
reminiscent of the greatest jazz players.  Talented DJs and producers
embark on a quest for beats without genre discrimination, seeking
fresh music from unusual sources – Broadway musicals, commercial and
television themes, obscure blues records, heavy metal, and Bollywood
tunes. Listen to the radio – hip hop is full of samples of all styles.
It is not always easy to open our ears but we MUST, and perhaps come
to appreciate the history of one of today’s most popular genres.

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