Hip Hip Essay

This essay has a total of 1863 words and 11 pages.

Hip Hip

The Introduction

Hip hop as a ding an sich is marked by some confusion. Consider the name; is it "hip hop,"
"hip-hop" or "hiphop"? You will see all three used in titles in this bibliography. Hip hop
is, at the same time, a cultural phenomenon that developed in the late 70's in the
projects in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and a musical style from that phenomenon.
Nevertheless, hip hop has become a pervasive element of popular culture, as witnessed by
this bibliography. There are hip hop exercise videos, children's books as well as books,
magazines, magazine articles and theses about it.


Before we get to the bibliography, a brief hip hop history is in order. Hip hop began in
the mid- to late 70's, but its roots are much older (indeed, hip hop's use of music from
other genres is reflected in Renaissance parody masses). According to one source, the
roots of this phenomenon are in Jamaica in the 40's. By the 60's, it was common to find
"sounds", or a truck fitted with sound equipment parked at a street corner, playing
American rhythm & blues records for the people in the neighborhood. Some of these DJs
included Coxson Dodd, Prince Buster, and Duke Reid. By the 1970's this phenomenon was to
be found in the US, particularly in the Farragut Projects in Brooklyn, NY. Some of these
early DJs were Maboya, Plummer and Kool DJ D, who played mostly disco music. Another of
these early figures, Kool Herc, emigrated to the States from Jamaica and settled in the
Bronx with his sound system he called "the Herculords." In contrast to some of the other
figures, Kool Herc focused on rhythm & blues and funk records. Another of Kool Herc's
innovations was to play only the "break," or the musical material between the verses of a
song, repeating that break again and again. He did this using two turntables mounted with
the same record. This came to be called "break-beat deejaying." People began to perform
"strange, acrobatic twisting dance routines" to these episodes that came to be called
"break dances."2


Kool Herc eventually hired someone to "MC" these parties. This person would talk to the
crowd between the songs to keep the party going. This was the beginning of "rapping." DJ
Hollywood, one of the early MC's at Kool Herc's parties would use rhyming verses in his
rap. One of these included the words "hip hop" "which much later were used interchangeably
to define the music of rap and the culture of those who attended Kool Herc's parties."3


Afrika Bambaata was another early figure in the rap/hip hop world. He participated in many
early "battles," or competitions between DJs and MCs. In addition to rapping, these
battles were decided on who had the more interesting collection of breaks to play. Afrika
Bambatta's breaks were drawn from many genres, including rock, rhythm & blues, mambo,
German disco and calypso.4 This aspect in hip hop, incorporating "found sounds" (which can
include recorded samples of music by other groups in addition to voices or ambient sounds)
has led to lawsuits when the groups involved failed to credit their sources.5


Another early hip hop innovator was DJ Grandmaster Flash. He extended Kool Herc's break
beat deejaying by pre-cueing records to match the songs. This meant there was a much
smoother transition between songs. matching songs. Indeed many of the recordings in the
discography identify the number of beats per minute for each song, enabling a DJ to match
songs on this basis.


Scratching, an important part of hip hop music was developed by Grand Wizard Theodore.
This technique involves moving a record back and forth underneath the needle, creating a
scratching, percussive sound. This technique has led some to claim that hip hop has led to
the emergence of the DJ as musician, calling the turntable used in this way a percussion
instrument.6


Hip hop has also had an impact on the continuing production of recordings in the LP
format. Without this format, hip hop DJs would be unable to do scratching, such an
important aspect of the music.


For better or for worse, hip hop has invaded popular culture. It also reflects that
culture for good or ill. Some hip hop is racist, some is sexist. But there are also many
hip hop musicians who focus on such issues as social inequity and the danger of heroin
use. From its early days in the US, being played in projects and some underground clubs,
it has gained a profile that has led even to its inclusion in the 1992 presidential
debates over Sister Soljah. In the 20th Century Fox movie, Bulworth,7 Warren Beatty plays
a Senator who berates his opponents using rap. Hip hop, it would seem, is here to stay.


Bibliography:

Coupe, Stuart and Glenn E. Baker. The New Rock 'N' Roll: The A-Z of Rock in the 80's. New
York: St. Martin's Press, 1983.


Hardy, Phil and Dave Laing. Encyclopedia of Rock. New York: Schirmer Books, 1988.

Clifford, Mike, consulting editor. The Harmony Illustrated History Encyclopedia of Rock. New York: Harmony Books, 1992.

Heatley, Michael. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock: The World's Most Comprehensive
Illustrated Rock Reference. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.


Romanowsky, Patricia and Holly George-Warren, eds. The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of
Rock & Roll. New York: Fireside, 1995.


Small, Michael. Break it down: The Inside Story from the New Leaders of Rap. New York: Carol Publishing Group: 1992.

Stancell, Steven. Rap Whoz who: The World of Rap Music. New York: Schirmer Music, 1996.

Hip-hop webliography
The Bibliography

Aerobics sound recordings

Hip hop world. Baltimore, MD: Dynamix Music Service, 1994.

Top
Books

Alim, Hesham. "Exploring the Transglobal Hip Hop Ummah." In Muslim Networks: From Hajj to
Hip Hop, Miriam Cooke and Bruce Lawrence (eds.) Chapel Hill, NC: University of North
Carolina Press, 2004.
Continues for 6 more pages >>




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