Hip Hop: Origins

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

Music genres. Hip-hop. Photo from the site http://kamey-tlt.ru

The most attentive DJs of those years understood that many visitors to clubs begin to move more expressively not only to certain music, but also to certain parts of it. Further, and in accordance with the number one DJ law - in every possible way to support such bursts of energy - they only repeated these individual pieces over and over again. This is how a completely new style of "live" music was born. Despite the fact that hip-hop as a style, in the arrangement of compositions, collected from excerpts from other styles of music (now it is a technology for sampling individual sounds and loops), qualitatively influenced the idea of ​​modern music and its creativity, it also significantly changed the technology of sound recording and copyright regulations. It is known that sampling, copying and recording of cover versions were born long before hip-hop, but the world of the music business has not yet met the large-scale and frank arrogance of hip-hop DJs, mixing everything and reading recitative over their mix. Digital sampling, introduced in the eighties, made this process a breeze. Today, three great figures are generally recognized as the founders of hip-hop: Clive Campbell (aka Cool Hurk), who invented breakbeats (repetitive breaks), Grandmaster Flash, the great master of club madness, and Africa Bambaataa, a musical polyglot and sound magician.

Hip-hop: subculture


Simplified - recitative superimposed on a beat. In the homeland of hip-hop it is called "rapping", in Russia - "reading". It was hip-hop that made the reading energetic, engaging and massive.

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


The first source of breakdancing is a simple husk dance borrowed from disco dancers. The second source is the manifestation of masculine prowess in the convulsive, robotic movements of the funk dancers and the dance-like convulsions of 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 time to touch the crossfader with lightning speed, the shoulders barely noticeable, without interfering with the clarity of actions, rise and fall in time with the rhythm, the movements of the fingers are verified with millimeter precision, every flick, slide or slave is measured“ as in drugstore ”, and from the speakers rushes a powerful beat, strewn with scribbles and scratches; the naked skeleton of the song is repeated over and over again, and suddenly explodes with the culmination of a new track "- this is how they wrote about the most difficult and most revered art of a DJ to create miracles with sound and vinyl at the same time. This made a strong impression. But in the beginning there was scratching. Having mastered it, the DJ could shred records so finely that he was able to create compositions by manipulating sounds (individual notes, beats or noises), like any other musician! In the development of this form of DJing, whole ensembles appeared, playing on several turntables, where each of the DJs - musicians was responsible for his own layer of the song - a bass line, a rhythm part or a melody. Soon, even a whole system of musical notation for tourntablists was developed. Finally, there was a method in which the basic scratch could be layered by tricky manipulation of the mixer crossfader. He was given the name "transforming". The method made scratching absolutely flexible and more effective, allowing the DJ to precisely control the sound. Today, a simple scratch is a rarity. A real tourntablist can explain to you the difference between chirp, tweak, scribble, tair, steb transform, seaplane, flair, orbit, tweedle and crab.


Verbal sparring, intricate poetic boasting about yourself, your beloved and your "awesome" DJ, and, on the contrary, humiliation and muddying your opponent. Battles are another part of the hip-hop subculture. They were held often, and are popular in our time, but they were not built on any rules, but simply on agreements on when, who and how long should perform. The battles were not held because of something more serious than the desire of rappers to surpass each other. The winner of the battle just increased his authority and gained 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 suggest taking a look at the round-the-clock video channel of the radio station “lofi hip hop radio 24/7” of the “Chillhop Music” YouTube account

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



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