How Hip Hop Took Over Early Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How Hip Hop Took Over Early Music: A History Lesson

Who would have thought that the music of the early 21st century would be so heavily influenced by the music of the late 20th century? But that’s exactly what happened, and hip hop is now one of the most popular genres in the world.

Origins of Hip Hop

Hip hop music originated in the late 1960s in New York City, specifically in the Bronx borough. At first, it was simply a new form of expression, one that focused on the African American experience. But it quickly became much more than that, becoming a way of life, a culture, and a movement.

1970s New York City

In the 1970s, hip hop music originated in New York City with the block parties thrown by DJs Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. These DJs would play music with a backbeat, which was a new concept at the time, and people would dance to it. As the popularity of these parties grew, the music began to evolve, and new styles and genres developed.

One of the most important innovations of hip hop was break dancing. This new style of dance was created by young people who would go to the parties and show off their moves. Break dancing became an essential part of hip hop culture and has remained popular to this day.

Another important element of early hip hop was graffiti art. This art form emerged from the street gangs of New York City and quickly spread to other cities across America. Graffiti artists would use spray paint to create elaborate pieces of art on buildings, trains and other surfaces. This became a way for young people to express themselves and their creativity.

Hip hop music and culture continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s, spreading from New York City to other parts of America and eventually around the world. Today, hip hop is one of the most popular genres of music, with fans all over the globe.

DJ Kool Herc

DJ Kool Herc is considered one of the founding fathers of hip hop. His style of music relying on heavily percussive breaks, which he created by looping the breaks from records, helped to establish hip hop as a distinct genre. Herc’s use of two turntables to extend the break, a technique known as “overlapping,” is also a key element in the development of hip hop.

Elements of Hip Hop

There are four elements of hip hop: MCing, DJing, graffiti, and break dancing. MCing, or rapping, is the primary vocal component of hip hop. A good MC not only has lyrical skills but also the ability to freestyle, or improvise rhyming lyrics on the spot. DJs are the second vocal component of hip hop. They use turntables to play records and manipulate them to create new sounds.


Hip hop music is composed of four elements: MCing, DJing, b-boying/b-girling, and graffiti writing. MCing (also known as rapping) is the rhythmic delivery of rhymes over a backing beat. This was the first element of hip hop to develop, and it is still the most important element in the music today. DJs began using turntables to create new sounds by scratching and mixing records together. B-boying (or breakdancing) developed as a form of street dance that was popularized by African American and Latino dancers in the early 1970s. Graffiti writing also began in the early 1970s as a way for artists to express themselves on city walls and other public spaces.


DJs are the lifeblood of the hip hop party. Without them, there would be no music to dance to! DJs play a vital role in creating the perfect atmosphere for a hip hop party. They are responsible for keeping the crowd pumped up and energized throughout the night.

The most important element of a DJ’s job is to make sure that the music never stops. They do this by mixing different songs together, using special turntables that allow them to control the speed and sound of the music. DJs also use effects equipment to create unique sounds and add their own flavor to the mix.

DJs need to have a vast knowledge of different types of music, so that they can select the perfect tracks for their set. They must also be able to read a crowd and gauge what type of music will get them moving. Some DJs prefer to stick to one genre of music, while others like to mix it up and play a little bit of everything.

If you’re planning on throwing a hip hop party, then you need to make sure you have a great DJ lined up!


Graffiti is one of the four elements of hip hop. It is perhaps the most visually iconic element, with colorful murals and pieces often found in urban areas. Graffiti has been around since Ancient Greece, but it was the New York graffiti scene of the 1970s that really put it on the map. Graffiti artists like Taki183 and Futura2000 were painting subway cars and walls all over the city, and their work caught the attention of the wider world.

While some people consider graffiti to be vandalism, many see it as a form of self-expression and art. Over the years, graffiti has been adopted by brands and businesses as a way to reach a young, urban audience. It has also been used as a tool for social activism and protest.


Breakdancing, one of the four elements of hip hop culture, is a style of street dance that originated among African American and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance spread worldwide via popularity in music videos, movies, and television. Breakdancing is typically done to hip-hop, funk, Soul music or electro music.

Breakdancing consists of four main moves: toprock, downrock, power moves and freezes. Toprock is danced with the feet on the floor; downrock is danced with the hands and feet on the floor; power moves are acrobatic moves that require momentum and some element of risk; and freezes are sustained poses that emphasize style. Some breakdancers use props such as boomboxes while others dance on their own or in groups. Breakdancing takes place both indoors and outdoors.

The term “breakdance” was popularized by the media in the 1980s, but it was originally called “breaking” by dancers in the 1970s. Some people believe that breakdancing is a derivative of a similar form of dance called uprocking or lock dancing; however, there is no conclusive evidence to support this claim.

Spread of Hip Hop

In the 1970s, a new form of music arose in the African American community. This music was called Hip Hop. It quickly spread throughout the world, and today, it is one of the most popular music genres. Let’s take a look at how Hip Hop took over early music.

Bronx to the World

Long before Drake and Kendrick Lamar were racking up Grammys, Hip Hop was born in the South Bronx. The musical genre has come a long way since its humble beginnings, with artists now hailing from all over the world.

While Hip Hop is often associated with American culture, it has actually had a global impact. In fact, many of today’s biggest Hip Hop stars are from outside the United States. Countries like Canada, France, and the United Kingdom have all produced successful Hip Hop artists.

The influence of Hip Hop can be seen in other genres of music as well. Pop, R&B, and even country music have all been influenced by the sounds of Hip Hop. With its catchy beats and clever lyrics, it’s no wonder that Hip Hop has taken over the music world.

Hip Hop Today

Hip hop today is a constantly evolving genre, with new artists and subgenres continuously popping up. However, there are still some core elements that remain the same. These include rapping, djing, and graffiting. MCing, or rapping, is the primary vocal component of hip hop music. Rapping is often done over a beat produced by a DJ, which can include sampling, turntablism, and scratching. Graffiti is another essential element of hip hop culture, often used to communicate political or social messages.

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