Hip Hop

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Alex Williams
October 29, 2012
Professor Marini
Research Paper; 12pm
Hip Hop Phenomenon

Barack Obama once stated, “The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable (Morgan 927).” Hip Hop has evolved through the years by the people who participate in it. The message in the lyrics that hip hop artist speak are usually directed to the youth community. Hip Hop is spread throughout the world. Hip Hop was started by the youth and is continuing to strive off the youth. Hip Hop in today’s society has broadened worldwide due to its youthful audience and their involvement with its projects.

Hip Hop was created so people can be entertained and the artist can tell his or her story. In the article, “Introduction: Hip Hop in History: Past, Present, and Future,” Derrick Alridge explains how hip hop was originated from the streets of New York and was introduced to the world by the African American family (190). Hip Hop contains four basic elements which are: disc jockeying, break dancing, graffiti art, and rapping (Alridge 190). The two elements that have gained the most attention are disc jockeying and rapping (Alridge 191). Piero Scaruffi explains in his article, “A Brief History of Hip Hop” that hip hop was first introduced to New York by way of the Jamaican immigrants. (www.scaruffi.com). Graffiti Art was first used around the 1960s in the streets of Philadelphia. (www.scaruffi.com). DJ Kool Arc created the term D boy to refer to an acrobatic style of breakdancing. (www.scaruffi.com). There were many major icons to start this hip hop movement which included Biggie Smalls (Hess xxviii). Biggie Smalls was considered one of the greatest MC’s in the history of hip hop music (Hess xxviii). These icons are what made hip hop popular.

Christopher Wallace was a much known rapper to help hip hop become successful. Biggie Smalls was born in in Brooklyn, New York, on May 21st (Holly viii). Smalls first album was named “Ready to die” and sold many copies of it (Holly viii). Biggie Smalls created a “protection” group called Hawks for people he could call family (Holly 4). Biggie smalls rap name was the Notorious B.I.G. and he was a well-respected rapper by many important people in the Hip Hop world (Holly 39). In the book, “Is Hip Hop Dead: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Most Wanted Music, Mickey Hess explains how lyrics from Biggie present achieving a career in rap music as a story of hard work and ingenuity (14). Wallace wrote songs about his life and how he made it to success (Hess 14). This artist justifies his wealth, success, and celebrity by presenting his career as a rise from poverty (Hess 24). Biggie is not the only major icon of Hip Hop.

There are many people that have contributed to the success of hip hop. The first rap records were Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight (1979) and Kurtis “Blow” Walker’s Christmas Rapping and the Breaks. The function between hip hop and the rock world was first achieved by Run DMC (www.scaruffi.com). Hip hop moved, in short, from an event-driven activity to a product-driven one with the release and overwhelming commercial success of Run DMC (Dimitriadis 355). Usually young men participate in hip hop (Morgan 926). Hip hop allowed young men who could not get a job a way to gain income (Morgan 932). Queen Latifah was also a major contributor. Latifah brought a new sense of positivity to rap and became a role model almost instantly when she started (Hess 218). Commercially and culturally, Latifah helped begin a tradition that continues today in the rap world (Hess 226). Hip hop has its participators and audience to thank for its success.

Rap music has transformed from not just music but also to a culture. The hip hop beats created by DJ’s in the 70’s actually sparked what is known as “hip hop culture (Jackson 22).” In the article, “Hip Hop Culture around the Globe: Implications for...
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