Published on May 4th, 2017 | by 00T456578754920
The origins of Hip-hop are still forgotten. The wild style of bumpin’ out basements, park parties and club venues. Straight out the streets of the Bronx, New York, Hip-hop has grown from a neighborhood dream to an international sensation. Every aspect of our society has assimilated to Rap culture. We all follow the most supported piece of Hip-hop rapping or emceeing. The remaining natural elements of Hip-hop culture have become almost mystic, or unknown, DJing, graffiti, and b-boying. The culture gets more and more saturated with personas, alternative ideas, and deviance, but let’s get back to basics. With this I hope I elevate your craft and appreciation for the truth of Hip-hop.
Emceeing is a craft that requires both talent and knowledge. As a microphone fiend you have to set it off with crisp bars. The abstract thought has allowed Hip-hop to break-through branching off into different sects or styles. Most notably the underground is where most build classic catalogues of verses. The God Emcee, Rakim (@EricBandRakim) used street knowledge and skills to dominate from the late 80’s to the early 90’s. Most notable Follow the Leader (1988), On “Lyrics of Fury” he states “Apocolypse Now, when I’m done, ya gone! Haven’t you ever heard of a MC-murderer? This is the death penalty,and I’m servin’; a death wish, so come on, step to this hysterical idea for a lyrical professionist! Friday the thirteenth, walking down Elm Street, you come in my realm ya get beat! This is off limits, so your visions are blurry, All ya see is the meters at a volume, pumping Lyrics of Fury!” At some point the beat dissipates and you solely hear a beat in your ear drum; just you and a microphone. Can you dominate the raw kick? Whether on the battleground or in the booth, emcees require a level of work ethic that allows you to evolve. From Nas, to Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, even Pimp C they all had to master their craft.
DJing might be the most crucial element of Hip-hop. Two turntables pumping bass filled heat. DJ’s innately dominate the crowd. As a precursor to production, the influence of the dj is immaculate. Two technics and a needle fueled the careers of greats Grandmaster Flash, Jam Master Jay, DJ Kool Herc. Also lesser known like battle DJ Roc Raida, and DJ Julio G who broke NWA into the mainstream. DJ Screw and DJ Premier coming out of Houston elevated the culture in the early 90’s from coast to coast. DJ Screw taking over the South while DJ Premier producing various East Coast heat. Urban dictionary defines the DJ as a Disc Jockey mixing music from two or more sources at the same time. We commonly find these talents displayed on radio or in a club environment. Today it’s a multi-faceted task to spin music. Although some feel it’s a dying art form in Hip-hop due to the current digital age. A DJ is the bread and butter of the Hip-hop scene. In its purest form it’s all beats n’ breaks to get you mad hype.
Graffiti is displayed on the walls of every community telling a story. I admit many artist start as taggers. Viewed as delinquent activity, graffiti is the spirit of Hip-hop. Graffiti has become one of the most positive elements of the culture. Artist transform simple walls into iconic masterpieces. These creative schemes have influenced artist on a larger scale like Basquiat or even the infamous tattoo artist, primarily “new school.” The basis of it is street art, the final result community outreach. In remembrance of rap artist, activists, as well as fallen soldiers. A popular global artist is Nik` Soupe (@soup133). Check out his work at “Art Slam” or other creative painting hot spots. The concepts are raw, keeping in consideration it took an active mind accompanied by a spray paint can; Graffiti is the visual birth of Hip-hop idealism.
B-boying is a lost art form. Pioneered by guys like Crazy Legs of Rock Steady Crew based in the Bronx, it’s steadily making a comeback, locally and mainstream. Classic movies such as Breakin’ (Both 1 and 2) leave you amazed at the talents of these dudes. Moves can be as complex as windmills, or as simple as pop and locking. B-boying is about the swag- the energy you can bring to a dance battle. The sway of the crowd mirrors the physicality of the dance moves. We see a resurgence in dance crews like Super Crew, Jabbawokez, Les Twins. Red Bull currently sponsors an international competition for “B-boy of the year”. As one of the most innovative aspects of Hip-hop b-boying can be as basic as dancing on cardboard with a fresh pair of Original Adidas shell toes in the park. Each b-boy brings their own personality and flair to the performance.
Obviously I cannot squeeze every example of talent into this article, but it’s a start. It’s a matter of appreciation. Despite the depreciation happening today. Everything is watered down. The styles, the music, the culture itself. Many of us find ourselves searching for ways to remain authentic. We need a little hint of the underground. We miss Hip-hop being a breath of fresh air. Vindicate your radio and hip hop publications by supporting the movement. Series like Netflix, The Get Down allow watchers to reminisce to the days of the renegades of funk. Hip-hop was birthed as an extension of the youth, the streets, the community. This joint is just that, support, for the originators, for the raw talent, the movement, the culture.
Represent to the fullest; respect the ill-est, and always believe The Hype.