Rap music has derived from other music categories. "Rap is an integral part of this subculture that did not evolve or exist in isolation from its other major components" (qtd. in Rhodes). One of the first musical influences on rap music is hip hop. Hip hop is comprised of graffiti, break dancing, attitude and the dress of the people who listened to it. The start of hip hop, along with rap, can be located in the Bronx of New York. There were three major events that occurred in the Bronx that contributed to the hip hop subculture. The first event was the building of an expressway through the Bronx. This plan was carried out by the 1959 Parks Commissioner, Rober Moses. This expressway ran through the heart of the Bronx.
Italians, Germans, Irish and Jews disappeared from the Bronx. They were replaced by poor blacks and Hispanics. As a result, crime, drug addiction, and unemployment sky rocketed. Rober Moses continued to put out projects that slowly changed the Bronx as it was previously known. He built a 15,382 unit apartment complex in 1968. This event took away from the majority of the middle class that was left in the Bronx.
These apartment complexes brought high vacancies and landlords began selling out to professional slumlords. They were built on the north edge of the Bronx near the newly built expressway. Because of high vacancies in these new apartments, old, occupied buildings on the Bronx deteriorated. The last major event also brought the graffiti aspect of hip hop into light.
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A group of seven teenage boys terrorized Bronxdale Project in New York. "This may not seem important, but this group of teenagers laid the groundwork for a surge of street gang activity that would overwhelm the Bronx for the next six years" (qtd. in Rhodes). This group of boys was called the Savage Seven but later changed to the Black Spades. At night, street gangs were found on many street corners. Many rappers in the hip hop were gang members at some point. Afrika Bambaataa (whose real name is Kevin Donovan), became a member of the Black Spades. The name he gave himself meant "affectionate leader". He later became a musician but left his gang days behind him and built a positive youth group called the Zulu Nation, which is still in effect today.
Gangs in New York reached a peak in 1973. They declined because of drugs, other rival gangs or people just losing interest. Women involved in gangs left them to have kids and start families. Times were beginning to change. People became more involved in the dancing club scene. They wanted to dance and have fun. This interest of dancing and getting involved in music contributed to the hip hop culture. Another important aspect of hip hop is graffiti. Graffiti dated back to World War II. Someone wrote, ""Kilroy was here" during the war in many different places throughout the country (qtd. in Rhodes). In the 1950Тs, street gangs used graffiti for self promoting, territory boundaries and intimidation....