From Jazz to Hip Hop

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From Jazz to Hip Hop

New genres of music often start off with an underground following. As the music evolves it eventually loses its subversive feel. It is no longer revolutionary nor a creative art form, thus it becomes a product of popular culture found amongst the demographics of MTV. One popular style of music that grew by countering American culture is jazz. Today jazz is often compared to hip-hop; both art forms have grown from an underground following to counter American culture. Furthermore, jazz has heavily influenced many of hip-hops' elements found within the music. The cultural similarities and musical elements influenced by jazz have had a strong impact on hip-hop.

Those who consider themselves true members of the hip hop community understand that there is an entire culture that embodies the music. This culture consists of language, art, fashion, dancing and various other urban rudiments. According to R.. Reese, "The raw beginnings of contemporary [hip hop] music can be traced to the Bronx in the mid 1970s". The urban black youth were using the art form to send messages of political disproval and tell stories of violence, and anything that had to do with daily life on the streets. Such motifs can relate back to many songs that incorporates vocals in a composition.

Jazz musicians would commonly incorporate stories of every day life growing up in Harlem. In a number done by Duke Ellington with singer Ella Fitzgerald called "Take The A Train," the lyrics give a candid story of life growing up in the streets. Specifically in this song they are talking about getting home to Sugar Hill in Harlem. Although the lyrics are not the song is very playful using a trumpet to mimic a train with Fitzgerald singing, "scat." She sings, "You must take the "A" train To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem If you miss the "A" train You'll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem." There is not too much weight in this song; however, it gives a glimpse into the life of someone growing up in Harlem.

These candid life stories of Harlem have been influential into many hip hoppers. The Sugar Hill Gang, an American hip hop group. in the late 70's reached the charts by giving America a glimpse at urban street life through the incorporation of somewhat obscene lyrics. The 14min 37s song includes the phrase, "he cant satisfy you with his little worm 
but I can bust you out with my super sperm," These were extremely indescent lyrics for the time that were not acceptable to American moralities. Today more modern hip hop artists express more intellectual issues. A popular underground artists known, as Saigon is an example of one artist who uses music as a platform to express emotions he encounters in everyday life living in America. In the song "Kiss the Babies," he raps, "why am I wrong if I kill a nigga that punch me, but it's right for you to blow up a whole country." These lyrics express anger he has towards the American establishment, but specifically towards President George Bush. Feelings expressed through rappers are thoughts that counter mainstream American moralities. While many stay patriotic at times of war Saigon rebels with obscene vernacular towards the American establishment. Hip-hop is a rebellious art form. Saigon is one example of the countless rappers who speak what is on their mind. Similar to hip hop jazz has shown countless moments of rebelliousness.

Nowadays jazz has assimilated into American culture; however, at a time it was thought of as a rebellious art form. One movement in the history of jazz that countered mainstream popularity was the bebop era. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, two major contributors to bebop, had developed the form in order to give birth to a new style of jazz. Rebellious in nature, Dizzy would often get up on stage and tell jokes; sometimes he would even begin to scat. Gillespie and Parker were always defending their new development since Louis Armstrong's "hot jazz"...
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