Hip Hop

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Hip hop was first used by Africa Bambatta (Godfather of Hip-Hop culture, Father of the Electro Funk sound, founder of the Universal Zulu Nation, visionary, historian, and the Master of Records) back in the early 80’s to describe the culture which incorporates: Break dancing, Djing (cuttin' and scratching) , Emceeing (rapping), and Graffing. Before that the word hip hop referred to a phrase that MC’s said on the mic. Hip hop is a lifestyle with its own language, dress, music and way of thinking that is continuously shifting. Each of the four elements also have a language, dress, music and way of thinking, but they are much closer to each other than to other cultures. Nowadays because break dancing and graffiti have gone mainly underground the words 'rap' and 'hip hop' have been used interchangeably, but it should be noted that all four elements of hip hop culture still exists. They've just evolved onto new levels. The first known example of what is now known as hip hop dance was in 1969, when Don Campbell became a well-known street dancer in Los Angeles and invented a dance called "Campbellock". Shortly after that, in 1970, Hip Hop "Grandfather" Afrika Bambaataa started to DJ. Modern day rap music finds its immediate roots in the “toasting" (where they would compete to see who's system was the loudest) and dub talk (or free styling) over elements of reggae music. In the early 1970's, a Jamaican DJ Clive Campbell known as Kool Herc moved from Kingston to NY's West Bronx. Here, he attempted to incorporate his Jamaican style of Djaying which involved reciting improvised rhymes over the dub versions of his reggae records. Unfortunately, New Yorkers weren't into reggae at the time. So, Kool Herc adapted his style by chanting over the instrumental or percussion sections of the day's popular songs. Herc pioneered the break beat movement by mixing short percussion breaks in the music. Because these musical breaks were relatively short, he had to devise a way to extend them indefinitely. Kool Herc did this by using an audio mixer and two identical records in which he continuously replaced the desired segment. This is what is still used today by DJ’s to create break beats, club mixes, and other forms of music. In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day to the instrumental breaks. For example, it was fashionable for DJ to acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party. These early raps featured someone such as Herc shouting over the instrumental break; 'Yo this is Kool Herc in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Marky D is in the house'. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to call out their own names and slogans in hopes that Herc would identify them on the mic. As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as Djays in an effort to be unique, began to incorporate little rhymes-‘DJ Zee is in the house/An she'll turn it out without a doubt.' It wasn't long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as 'rap' but called 'emceeing'.

With regards to Kool Herc, as he progressed in his Djaying skills, he eventually turned his attention solely to the complexities of djaying and let two friends Coke La Rock and Clark Kent (not Dana Dane's DJ) handle the emceeing duties. This was rap music first emcee team. Kool Herc was known as the man with the strongest and loudest system in the hip hop world. His amp was a Macintosh, the most powerful amp of that time. His speakers were so loud he called them Herculoids. Therefore, they became known as Kool Herc and the Herculoids. Present day teams include famous names such as “Run DMC“, “Rocafella”, ”Murder Inc.” and “Cash Money Millionaires” and not so famous names such as “Kenetic Force Krew” and “SDMCs”.

Rap became...
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