The Origins of Hip Hop

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The Evolution of Hip-Hop and Transformation of Rap Music
Hip-hop, not to be confused with the musical genre, is a form of musical demonstration and artistic culture that has remained popular since its emergence in the 1970s. It can be categorized as a cultural movement that includes four primary elements: Disk jockeying (DJing), rapping (emceeing), break dancing, and graffiti art. It gave birth to a new musical genre known as “rap,” a rhythmic style in which lyrics are spoken or chanted. Over the last three decades, rap music has stirred up more vehement public debate than any other genre due to its influence on the youth. In the beginning, rappers used their music as commentary on social, cultural, and political issues in American contemporary society, but today, the genre has evolved into a form of music that primarily focuses on masculinity, crime, and violence. This paper explores the development of hip-hop culture and primarily focuses on the transformation of rap music from social commentary to the exploitation of the negative aspects of inner-city life and its influence on our culture and youth today. Identifying the origins of hip-hop culture is essential in understanding the progression of the movement and the impact it has had on the world and its youth over the past three decades. Hip-hop began in communities within the Bronx that consisted of African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Caribbean Americans, and it included specific styles of visual art, dance, dress, music, and speech. The culture focused on areas that were most economically distressed due to federal budget cuts that caused a decrease in low-income housing and public services for inner-city residents (Starr and Waterman 382). Three major conditions and events are said to have stimulated the development of hip-hop culture and its generation. First, the construction of a new highway through the heart of the Bronx caused the middle class to relocate, leading to an influx of poor black and...
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