5.19 Unit Test: Hip-Hop Music and Culture – Part 1

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


5.19 Unit Test: Hip-Hop Music and Culture – Part 1. In this unit test, you will be asked to answer questions about hip-hop music and culture. The questions will be based on the information you have learned in this unit.


The purpose of this unit test is to measure your knowledge of hip-hop music and culture. This unit test is comprised of two sections, Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 will consist of multiple choice and true or false questions and Part 2 will consist of short answer questions. You will have 45 minutes to complete this unit test.

What is Hip-Hop?

Hip-hop is a type of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is typically characterized by rhythmic and often rhyming speech that is chanted or rapped over a prerecorded instrumental track. Hip-hop music has become one of the most popular genres of music in the world, with fans all over the globe.

The Elements of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop music is made up of four basic elements: MCing, DJing, breaking, and graffiti.


MCing (rapping) is one of the four main elements of hip-hop music. Originally, MCs were responsible for introducing the DJ and hyping up the crowd at a party. With the development of rap records, MCs took on the role of performer, using their rhymes to tell stories and express themselves. Today, MCing is still an important part of hip-hop music and culture, with many artists using their lyrics to comment on social and political issues.


DJing is the act of playing pre-recorded music for a live audience. DJs use a variety of equipment to help them mix and scratch records, including turntables, mixers, and controllers. DJs typically develop a deep knowledge of music genres and how to transition between them seamlessly. In hip-hop, DJs are often responsible for providing the backbone of a track by mixing and scratching percussion tracks (known as breaks) together.


B-boying, also known as breakdancing, is a style of street dance that started in the Bronx in the 1970s. It is characterized by its quick and complex footwork, as well as moves like spins, freezes and handstands. B-boying quickly gained popularity in New York City, and soon spread to other major cities in the U.S. and around the world. Today, it is an integral part of hip-hop culture.

B-girling is the female version of b-boying. Like b-boys, b-girls utilize quick and complex footwork, as well as spins, freezes and handstands in their dances. B-girling emerged in the early 1980s, alongside b-boying, and has since become an important part of hip-hop culture.


Hip-hop graffiti is often seen as one of the four pillars of hip-hop culture, along with MCing/rapping, DJing, and breakdancing. Graffiti stands out from the other three elements because it is not primarily about music—although some graffiti artists do produce music, it is not the focus of their work. Instead, graffiti is all about art and self-expression.

Most graffiti is created illegally, either by spray painting on public property or by tagging (writing one’s name or initials) on private property without permission. This illegal activity often leads to conflict between graffiti artists and law enforcement. However, there are also many legal ways to create graffiti, such as mural painting or using chalk on sidewalks.

The earliest hip-hop graffiti was probably made in the late 1960s by New York City subway riders who used markers to write their names or initials on train cars (the first famous hip-hop graffitist was Taki 183). By the early 1970s, more elaborate street murals were being created in cities like Philadelphia and New York City. The first famous hip-hop graffitist was likely Jaz 21, who started painting in 1971 (he was also involved in other aspects of hip-hop culture, including DJing and breakdancing).

The late 1970s and early 1980s saw a major increase in the popularity of graffiti art, both within the hip-hop community and among mainstream audiences. This was in part due to the release of two popular Hollywood films about graffiti artists: “The Warriors” (1979) and “Flashdance” (1983). In addition, several well-known Graffiti artists emerged during this period, including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Today, graffiti is still an important part of hip-hop culture, although its popularity has declined somewhat since its peak in the 1980s. Many contemporary graffiti artists have moved away from traditional street art and into the world of fine art, where they create works that are sold in galleries and museums.

The History of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is a style of music that was created by African Americans and Latino Americans in the 1970s. It is a form of music that includes rap, DJing, and break dancing. Hip-hop is often considered to be a culture, as well as a style of music.

The history of hip-hop can be traced back to the Bronx, New York City in the 1970s. Afrika Bambaataa, a DJ who was part of the Black Spades street gang, is credited with first using the term “hip-hop” to describe the culture. He is also credited with helping to spread hip-hop culture throughout the city.

Hip-hop music became popular in the 1980s, thanks in part to the popularity of rap music. Rap is a type of hip-hop music that involves rhyming spoken words over a beat. Rap artists such as Run DMC and LL Cool J helped to make hip-hopmusic mainstream in the 1980s.

In addition to rap music, other aspects of hip-hop culture began to gain popularity in the 1980s. Break dancing, which had originated in New York City in the 1970s, became popular among inner-city youths across the United States. Graffiti art also became associated with hip-hop culture during this time period.

The Origins of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is a musical genre that developed in the United States in the 1970s. It is characterized by four key elements: DJing, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing.

DJing is the process of playing pre-recorded music on a turntable. MCing, or rapping, is the act of rhyming spoken words over a beat. Breakdancing is a type of dancing that includes moves such as headspins and windmills. Graffiti writing is the art of painting or drawing pictures and words on public surfaces such as walls and subway trains.

Hip-hop originated in the Bronx, New York City, in the 1970s. It was created by African American and Puerto Rican youths who were looking for a way to express themselves. At first, hip-hop was only a local phenomenon, but it soon spread to other parts of the United States and then to the rest of the world.

Today, hip-hop is one of the most popular genres of music. It has influenced other genres such as pop, rock, and R&B. Hip-hop culture has also had an impact on fashion, language, and television.

The Golden Age of Hip-Hop

In the mid-1980s, a new style of music emerged from the housing projects of New York City. This new style would come to be known as hip-hop, and it would change the course of popular music forever.

Hip-hop was born out of a mix of African-American musical traditions, including R&B, jazz, and funk. But it was also influenced by the Puerto Rican tradition of toasting, or rap-like rhyming. Hip-hop DJs would often use two turntables to play the same record at the same time, repeating a particular section (or “break”) over and over again. This allowed MCs (rappers) to rhyme over the beat for extended periods of time.

In the early days of hip-hop, parties were often thrown in basements or small apartments. As word about these parties spread, they began to attract larger and more diverse crowds. By the late 1970s, hip-hop was starting to gain mainstream popularity.

The 1980s would come to be known as the “Golden Age” of hip-hop. This was a time when many of the biggest names in hip-hop first emerged, including Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and NWA. It was also a time when hip-hop began to cross over into other genres of music, including pop and rock. Hip-hop would go on to become one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

The Decline of Hip-Hop

In the early 2000s, Hip-Hop began to change. The deaths of important rappers, such as Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., marked a change in the culture. There was also an increase in violence and drug use in rap music. This led to a decline in popularity of Hip-Hop among mainstream audiences.

The Culture of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is more than just music. It’s a culture that includes MCing or rapping, DJing, break dancing, and graffiti art. Hip-hop began in the 1970s in New York City’s South Bronx. It was created by African American and Latino youths who were looking for a way to express themselves.

One of the most important elements of hip-hop is MCing or rapping. This is when someone speaks rhythmically over a beat. DJs often use their turntables to create the beats that rappers flow over. Break dancing is another important element of hip-hop. This is when people dance to the music in an acrobatic style. Graffiti art is also part of hip-hop culture. This is when people use spray paint to create murals or tags (a person’s name or symbol).

Hip-hop has had a major impact on pop culture. It has influenced fashion, language, and even films. Many people believe that hip-hop is a positive force because it gives young people a way to express themselves creatively.

Hip-Hop Fashion

Fashion in hip hop culture, or more commonly known as “streetwear”, has been around since the early 1970s. Streetwear was originally associated with the inner city youth of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Detroit, and later Atlanta. It has since evolved into a global phenomenon with elements of hip hop fashion taking root in cities all over the world.

One of the most notable things about hip hop fashion is that it is constantly changing and evolving to stay fresh and relevant. This is due largely in part to the influence of fashion-forward celebrities and style icons who are always looking to push boundaries and set new trends. Some of the most iconic and timeless pieces of hip hop fashion include tracksuits, windbreakers, gold chains, snapback hats, and oversized t-shirts.

Hip-Hop Language

Hip-hop slang is the use of informal words and phrases by people who are involved in the hip-hop culture. It is often used in place of standard English words and structures, and because it is constantly evolving, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest terms.

Here are some common hip-hop slang terms:

Wassup – What’s going on?
What’s good – What’s going on?/How are you?
What’s crackin’ – What’s going on?
What are you doin’? – What are you up to?/What are you doing?
Keep it real – Be honest/true to yourself
Stay true – Be honest/true to yourself
That’s dope – That’s cool/awesome
For real – Seriously
You feel me? – Do you understand what I’m saying?

Hip-Hop Slang

Hip-hop slang is a key element of the hip-hop culture. It is used to communicate with others within the culture and to reinforce cultural identity. Slang allows members of the hip-hop community to express themselves in their own unique way.

Common hip-hop slang words include:

-Bling: jewelry, expensive clothes or cars
-Cool: good, great
-G: gangster, gangsta
-Haters: people who don’t like or support you
-MC: rapper, Master of Ceremonies
-Pimp: a person who controls or exploited others, usually for financial gain
-Player: a man who is successful with women
-Ride: car
– ill: good, great


In conclusion, hip-hop music and culture has had a profound impact on the world. It has influenced fashion, art, language, and politics. It is a truly global phenomenon. While some elements of hip-hop culture are controversial, there is no denying its power and influence.

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