Hip-hop: origins

Many famous rappers say that hip-hop is the answer to the dominance of the monotonous disco music in America of the seventies. In fact, hip-hop has direct and significant origins in this particular dance style. For more than a decade, up to the advent of their own compositions, hip-hop DJs played disco. Hip-hop is primarily DJ music, as it was originally created with the help of two turntables and a microphone. It appeared as a synthesis of disco and a whole range of original Technics 1200 vinyl turntables from young Bronx DJs (New York area), who independently learned the phenomenal proficiency in layers.

Music genres. Hip-hop. Photos from http://kamey-tlt.ru

The most attentive DJs of those years understood that many visitors to clubs began to move more expressively, not only with certain music, but also with certain parts of it. Further, and in accordance with DJ law number one - to support such bursts of energy in every possible way - they only repeated these individual pieces over and over again. Thus was born a completely new style of "live" music. Despite the fact that hip-hop as a style in the arrangement of compositions, assembled from fragments of other music trends (now it is a technology for sampling individual sounds and loops), influenced ideas about modern music and its creativity in a qualitative way, it also noticeably changed the recording technology and copyright law. It is known that sampling, copying and recording of cover versions were born long before hip-hop, but the large-scale and frank arrogance of hip-hop DJs mixing everything and reading over their mix recitative has not yet been met by the world of music business. The digital sampling that appeared in the eighties made this process elementary. The founders of hip-hop today are generally recognized by three great figures: Clive Campbell (aka Kul Herk), who invented a breakbeat (repeated breaks), Grandmaster Flash, a great master of club madness and Africa Bambaataa - a musical polyglot and magician of sound.

Hip-hop: subculture


Simplified - recitative imposed on the bit. At home, hip-hop is called “rapping”, in Russia - “reading”. It was hip-hop that made the reading energetic, attractive and popular.

Kul Hirk, listening to dub toasting, made his MCs the “pathogens” of the crowd, he opened a new era for MC. Hip-hop borrowed a well-known form of recitative, but developed it anew. Thanks to the combination of the winding rhythm and the expressive work of the MC, this form quickly gained popularity. The first known MCs (translated as “microfon controller - head of the microphone”) were Covboy (partner of Grandmaster Flash), Melle Mel, Africa Bambaataa, and later - rapper LL Cool.


The first source of breakdancing is a simple Hascle dance borrowed from disco dancers. The second source is the manifestation of the male male distance in the convulsive, robot-like movements of the funk dancers and the dance-like convulsions of the funk star James Brown.

Breakdance was also influenced by such styles as tap and lindy, as well as some sports movements from kung fu. “Break” in the name of the dance is a jazz term for a segment of a composition with a drummer’s solo play. In the early seventies of the last century, breakdance included only “up-rocking” (fast circular steps and other leg movements preceding acrobatic elements). Later, "power movements" (for example, rotation on the head or back), and a number of other specific elements of the dance appeared. Dancing break began to be called b-boys (b-boys). The letter “b” meant “break”, but it can also be understood as “Bronx”. The harsh “b-boy stand” (arms folded on the chest, head tilted down), beloved by rappers today, was not only a demonstration of readiness for aggression, but also a characteristic pose of a dancer preparing for a break.


“Hands fly from one plate to another, having managed to touch the crossfader with lightning speed, the shoulders barely noticeable without interfering with the clarity of actions, rise and fall to the beat of the rhythm, finger movements are adjusted to the millimeter, each flick, slide or slave is measured” the pharmacy ”, and a powerful beat rushing from the columns, peppered with scribbles and scratches; The bare skeleton of the song repeats itself again and again, and suddenly the climax of the new track explodes, ”they wrote about the most difficult and most respected art of DJ to work wonders with sound and vinyl at the same time. It made the strongest impression. But first was scratching. Having mastered it, the DJ could shred records so finely that he could create compositions by manipulating sounds (individual notes, beats or noises), like any other musician does! In the development of this form of DJ, entire ensembles appeared, playing on several turntables, where each of the DJs — musicians — was responsible for their own song layer — the bass line, rhythm part, or melody. Soon even a whole system of note writing was developed for turntables. Finally, a method has emerged in which the base scratch can be delaminated by tricky manipulations of the mixer crossfader. He was given the name "transforming." The method made the scratch completely flexible and more spectacular, allowing the DJ to precisely control the sound. Today, a simple scratch - a rarity. This turntable is able to explain to you the difference between such techniques as chirp, tweak, scribble, teir, stab transform, hydroplane, flair, orbit, tweedle and crab.


Verbal sparring, intricate poetic boasting about one's beloved and his “awesome” DJ, and, on the contrary, humiliating and muddling the enemy. Battles are another component of the hip-hop subculture. They were frequent, popular in our time, but they were not based on any rules, but simply on agreements about when, who and how long should speak. The battles were not conducted because of something more serious, except for the desire of rappers to outdo each other. The winner of the battle only increased his credibility and acquired new fans of his next show.

Hip hop genre today

The eighties and early nineties hip hop fully exploited its past. Numerous rappers sought to appear poorer, meaner, and even "blacker" than others, forgetting undeniable historical facts. The discoverers of the Hirk or Flash, although revered as respected ancestors, were already of little interest to them, unlike the new-fashioned MTV-ishnyh heroes. For similar reasons, the history of the musical origins of the genre, the role of disco, DJs and the musical context of the era began to correspond. So, in those years when the main theme was life in the ghetto, and rappers gossiped about crime and politics, musical culture lost its entertainment and sense of celebration, but gave birth to true heroes, but there are not many of them in hip-hop: Three 6 Mafia, Run -DMC, NWA, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan and others. The commercialization of the subculture that followed in the nineties virtually destroyed the true essence of hip-hop and made it look like pop music. This was manifested in the arrangements that became electronic and intricate in sound, and in the refrains of rapping, which became more restrained and simplified, and in the disappearance of most of the essential elements of the culture of the harsh guys. The epochs of pop culture, such as Eminem, Travis Scott, as well as Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, led the era of hip hop profanation.

As an illustration, we offer a glimpse of the 24-hour video channel of the radio station “lofi hip hop radio 24 / 7” of the account “Chillhop Music” on YouTube

Photos in the top: https://www.ruspeach.com