Hip Hop, or rap music began as a largely black, inner-city phenomenon of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Hip Hop was originally a strictly live idiom, performed at clubs and parties (often illegally thrown in NYC parks). The music grew out Jamaican DJ, or Toasting, music, disco and the burgeoning, (and intimately connected), electro-funk sound. Jamaican DJ music was the blueprint, with its reliance on a turntable and a DJ, or MC, who called out rhythmic phrases and chants over and between bass heavy dub records. Hip Hop used this same style but often rhymed over funk and disco beats and breaks, a technique developed by DJ Kool Herc in the mid ‘70s. Hip Hop also established the DJ innovations of cutting, back spinning and scratching, largely through the work of Grand Master Flash. The Sugarhill Gang recorded the first rap single in ’79 with the commercial cash in, Cold Crush Bros. Rip off “Rapper’s Delight.” Hip Hop established itself as commercially viable in the next few years with “Planet Rock” by Africa Bambataa and the Soul Sonic Force, and “The Message” by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. Hip Hop began to crossover into mainstream commercial success with the rock heavy rhymes of Run DMC and the novelty, party raps of The Fat Boys. A number of other artists found commercial success in this period including Whodini, Kurtis Blow, UTFO, LL Cool J and many others. After the mid ‘80s rap began to solidify itself as a genre and to branch out into a number of different styles and sub-genres. Today everything from the top of the pops derivative Puff Daddy, Swizz Beats stuff, the Sci-fi, stream-of-consciousness work of Kool Keith, the underground, black consciousness of Blackstar, the studied New York violence of Mobb Deep, to the Southern booty shake of Quad City DJs all fall under the hip hop umbrella.
Similar Styles: Independent Hip Hop, Old School Hip Hop, Pop Rap, Gangsta Rap, Turntablist, Southern Hip Hop, Dancehall, Bass