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What Is Hip Hop

Essay by review  •  January 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,453 Words (6 Pages)  •  584 Views

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Many individuals wonder about the term we know as Hip Hop. What is Hip Hop? The term "Hip Hop" was coined by a New York DJ by the name of DJ Kool Herc. He gave it this name because; “the beats (music) were hip hopping back and forth from one turntable to the other.” Hip Hop’s origins started with a type of music spawned from the creative minds of inner city youths in the late 1970’s. This music is called RAP. In today’s society, Hip Hop is not only defined by music, but it is now considered a culture. Hip Hop culture is a state of mind and a way of life. A generation’s thoughts, expressions and feelings are Hip Hop. Therefore, we are Hip Hop. Hip Hop consists of many elements, but in my opinion, Hip Hop has influenced music, fashion, and modern language across the world!

To begin with, the roots of Hip Hop culture descend decades deep into the soil of urban civilization. This urban phenomenon has spread across America and the world, mainly due to the increasing popularity of rap music. Rap emerged from the black and Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the Bronx (New York) in the mid-to-late seventies. The roots of rap are believed to have spawned from oral traditions of people of African decent in America. More importantly, the growth of rap music has been one of the most important components in making Hip Hop transform from a simple word to a culture. For example, break dancing, graffiti, baggy clothes are symbolic of rap music and its sub-culture. The mass appeal and media explosion of the music came after the advent of Hip Hop movies such as Wild Style and BeatStreet. It was then that Hip Hop music began its rise into mainstream society. I can remember as a little boy throwing a temper tantrum in the video store, because my mother would not rent the movie BeatStreet. I really wanted to see that movie, because I wanted to be just like my friends and they’d seen it already. It took me many years to fully understand and appreciate my own existence in this realm of Hip Hop culture. The same factor did not hold true for businesses in the 1980’s. The late 1980's ended the Golden Age of Hip Hop music. Through music videos and radio airplay Hip Hop became a nation-wide phenomenon. Big businesses were beginning to realize that Hip Hop music could be manipulated into a way to jostle ideas and promotions to the large market of urban and suburban teens. Successful in their plan, the concept of "rap music" spread nationwide and had virtually every teen idolizing these rap artists. Nearly every major commercial company had managed to successfully exploit Hip Hop through advertisement and promotion, such as soft drinks, clothing, and athletic shoes. The giant media expanse and the onslaught of catchy dance music jingles invaded the airwaves. Hip Hop was started as a form of artistic expression that was socially aware and culturally conscious music stemming from artists such as: Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, KRS-One, Public Enemy, GrandMaster Flash, and others. These men told stories with positive message or the raised you consciousness about the things happening around you. Positive though these albums may have been, they never flew off of record shelves like today’s music. Now in this present age some seem to think that Hip Hop music has evolved, but I think it has not it has only changed. Most people don’t enjoy hearing positive music; they wanted to hear violent "hood" tales about car chases and shootouts with cops. People like this music, because it heals their bruised egos and make them feel more important than they really are.

Secondly, fashion is a very important part of Hip Hop culture. Hip Hop enthusiasts across the nation and world set trends wherever they go. The use of bright colors, mainstream pieces, and designer labels makes Hip Hop fashion one of the most vibrant and sought out the world over. Hip Hop culture enthusiasts love color, and lots of it! They love the presence color makes when they walk into a room. Hip Hop enthusiasts also love to wear pieces that mainstream America has been wearing for years, but with a twist. Timberlands, for example, are fine leather hiking boots. Mainstream Americans wear them laced up tightly, yet Hip Hop enthusiasts will wear them unlaced, with the tongue folded down. Hip Hop enthusiasts will wear ski vests, although most of them have never seen mountains in their lives. African American designers who try to capture Hip Hop into clothes for an entire culture also represent hip Hop fashion. Designers such as Pelle Pelle, Phat Farm, Sean Jean, and dozens of others use the mainstays of fashion to create styles that are often imitated by bootleggers. World famous designers like the late Versace, Gucci, and LV have sold millions, perhaps billions in clothing to Hip Hop enthusiasts. Businesses have used Hip Hop culture to sell their athletic shoes (Nike, Reebok), their purses (Dooney and Bourke, Coach), and their cars (Lexus, Cadillac). Hip Hop fashion covers all of their aforementioned topics and more. Fashion is



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