Hip Hop Music Inspired Tattoo Designs

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some inspiration for your next tattoo? Check out our gallery of hip hop music inspired tattoo designs!

The Origins of Hip Hop

Hip hop music has been a huge part of American culture since the 1970s. The music has been inspire many fashion trends, including the iconic streetwear look. It has also been a major source of inspiration for tattoo designs. In this article, we will explore the origins of hip hop music and how it has inspired tattoo designs.

New York City in the 1970s

The origins of hip hop are often disputed. Hip hop music first emerged in the South Bronx, New York City, in the 1970s. The name is derived from the hip hop culture of black youths who were first attracted to the rap music being played at block parties thrown by disc jockeys (DJs) such as Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc. This new style of music combined elements of older African American musical genres such as gospel and rhythm and blues (R&B), with Jamaican toasting, a style of speaking or chanting over music, which developed in the Jamaican ghettos in the late 1960s.

The Birth of Hip Hop

Hip hop music first gained mainstream popularity in the United States in the 1980s. At that time, the music style was mostly associated with African American and Latino American people in New York City. DJing and rap, two important components of hip hop music, both had origins in African American communities in New York.

DJing emerged in the Bronx in the 1970s. Bronx DJ Afrika Bambaataa is credited with helping to spread hip hop culture throughout the world. He is known for his work with the Universal Zulu Nation, an international organization that promotes peace and unity through hip hop music and culture.

Rap also originated in African American communities in New York City in the 1970s. The term “rap” comes from the African American Vernacular English word “rapping,” which means “to speak or to talk.” Rap music is typically created by performing spoken word rhymes over a beat. The first rap song on record is widely considered to be “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, which was released in 1982.

The Elements of Hip Hop

Tattoos have been inspired by all types of music genres over the years. But there’s something about hip hop music that makes it particularly tattoo-worthy. Maybe it’s the boldness of the lyrics, or the way the music makes you feel. Whatever the reason, hip hop tattoos are definitely having a moment. Here are some of our favorite hip hop tattoo designs.


Master of Ceremonies, or MCing, is considered by many to be the first element of hip hop. This is because an MC is responsible for introducing the other elements of hip hop and keeping the crowd entertained between songs. MCing involves using rhyming lyrics over an instrumental track to hype up the crowd and get them involved in the music. Some famous MCs include Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Nas.


DJing is one of the four pillars of hip hop music. It generally refers to the art of making music using two or more turntables and a mixer. DJs use turntables to play, scratch, and manipulate vinyl records. This can create interesting sounds and rhythms that add to the overall texture of a song. DJs also use mixers to control the transitions between songs, which can add another layer of creativity to their performances.

While anyone can technically be a DJ, it takes skill and practice to master the craft. DJs must have a good ear for music and know how to read a crowd in order to keep them engaged. They must also be able to mesmerize their audience with their transitions and mixing skills. Good DJs are able to create a unique experience that takes their listeners on a journey.

There are many different styles of DJing, but some of the most popular ones include:

-Scratching: This is when a DJ manipulates the record with their hands to create different sounds. Scratching is one of the most iconic DJing techniques and is often used to add an element of suspense or excitement to a song.
-Beatmatching: This is when a DJ matches the tempo of one song with another so that they can be mixed together seamlessly. Beatmatching requires a good ear for music and knowledge of how songs are structured. It’s an important skill for all DJs to learn.
-Turntablism: This is when a DJ uses turntables as musical instruments to create new sounds. Turntablism is often used in hip hop music and can be used to create beats, melodies, and even sound effects.
-Digital DJing: This is when a DJ uses digital software instead of turntables and vinyl records. Digital DJing has become increasingly popular in recent years as it’s more affordable and easier to access than traditional methods.


Graffiti is often considered one of the four key elements of hip hop, along with MCing, DJing, and breakdancing. All four elements are interrelated and are often baked into one another in the hip hop community. It’s not uncommon to see a graffiti artist who is also a breakdancer, or an MC who is also a DJ.

Graffiti is the act of making unauthorized public markings, usually with spray paint or markers. This can be done on buildings, signs, walls, sidewalks, or pretty much any other public surface. Graffiti is often seen as a form of street art, and some graffiti artists consider themselves to be true artists, using their work to make social or political statements.

While graffiti has been around for centuries, it became associated with hip hop in the 1970s when New York City youth began using it as a way to mark their territory and communicate with each other. Hip hop graffiti often features colorful stylized writing and images, and can be either static (non-moving) or dynamic (moving).


Breakdancing is a style of street dancing that originated among African American and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance is characterized by moments of solitude in which the dancer stands unmoving, and acrobatic movements executed with intricate footwork.

The earliest breakdancing crews were formed in the Bronx in the 1970s, and consisted of African American and Puerto Rican youths who were inspired by graffiti artists, DJing, and other elements of hip hop culture. These crews would often challenge each other to dance battles, which served as a way to show off their skills and gain respect within their community.

Breakdancing became mainstream in the 1980s, thanks in part to its inclusion in movies like Flashdance (1983) and Wild Style (1983). The popular television show Soul Train also played a role in spreading the breakdancing craze, as it featured dancers on its weekly program.

Since its inception, breakdancing has evolved to include a wide range of styles and influences. Today, breakdancers can be found all over the world, performing in crews or as solo dancers.

The Influence of Hip Hop

Since its inception in the 1970s, hip hop music has come to be not only a style of music, but a lifestyle. It’s a way of life that is often expressed through fashion and, most notably, through tattoo art. Tattoos are permanent expressions of one’s identity, and for many people, their tattoos reflect their love of hip hop.

Hip Hop Culture

Hip Hop is a music genre that emerged in the 1970s in the United States. It is a mix of African-American music styles such as Soul, Funk, and R&B, with elements of DJing and Rap. Hip Hop culture includes the four elements of MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing,and graffiti writing.

Hip Hop Music

Hip hop music, also called rap music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is characterized by rhyming lyrics spoken or chanted over a backbeat or musical accompaniment. The lyrics often focus on themes of poverty, violence, and racism.

Hip hop music developed out of the hip hop culture, which began to emerge in New York City in the 1960s. DJ Kool Herc, one of the earliest hip hop DJs, is credited with helping to develop the genre. His style of playing two copies of the same record on different turntables and manipulating them to create new rhythms helped lay the foundation for hip hop music.

Other important early figures in hip hop included Afrika Bambaataa, who founded the Zulu Nation; Grandmaster Flash, who helped develop scratching as a DJing technique; and Fab Five Freddy, who was an early host of the television show Yo! MTV Raps. These pioneers were followed by subsequent generations of artists who have continued to evolve hip hop music and culture.

Hip Hop Fashion

The influence of hip hop music can be seen in many different areas of popular culture, but perhaps one of the most visible is in fashion. Hip hop fashion has gone through many different phases and changes over the years, from the early days of baggy jeans and tracksuits to the more recent trends of fitted clothing and designer labels.

One of the most iconic pieces of hip hop fashion is the tracksuit, which was popularized in the early days of rap music. Tracksuits became a symbol of status and success, as they were often seen worn by successful athletes and celebrities. In more recent years, however, they have fallen out of favor with many in the hip hop community, who see them as too flashy or garish.

Designer labels have also become a big part of hip hop fashion, with many rappers and producers sporting designer clothes and accessories. This trend began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when rappers like Jay-Z and Puff Daddy began wearing designer labels like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. In more recent years, however, there has been a move away from designer labels amongst many in the hip hop community, who see them as a symbol of materialism and excess.

Hip hop fashion is always changing and evolving, and it is one of the most exciting aspects of the culture. It is a reflection of the music that inspires it, as well as the social and economic conditions that those in the hip hop community find themselves in. It is a way for people to express their individuality and show their loyalty to a culture that has given them so much.

Hip Hop Tattoo Designs

Inspired by the music and culture, hip hop tattoos are becoming increasingly popular. These tattoos can be anything from lyrics to portraits of famous rappers. If you’re a fan of hip hop, then you might want to consider getting a hip hop tattoo. Let’s take a look at some designs.

Music Note Tattoos

Music note tattoos are a popular choice for those who love music and want to show their passion for it in a unique way. These tattoos can be simple or complex, small or large, and they can be placed anywhere on the body.

There are many different ways to design a music note tattoo, and the options are almost endless. You can choose to have a single note tattooed, or a series of notes that create a melody. You can also add other elements to your tattoo such as stars, hearts, or birds.

Music note tattoos can be inked in any color you choose, but black is the most popular choice. If you want your tattoo to really stand out, you can opt for a multicolored design.

No matter what design you choose, a music note tattoo is sure to be an eye-catching addition to your body art collection.

Microphone Tattoos

Microphone tattoos are a popular choice for hip hop fans, and they can be designed in a variety of different ways. You might choose to get a tattoo of a microphone stand alone, or with other elements like musical notes or stars. You could also incorporate your favorite lyrics into the design. Whatever you choose, a microphone tattoo is sure to show off your love of hip hop music.

Graffiti Tattoos

Hip hop culture has its own unique style, and graffiti is a big part of that. Graffiti tattoos are a way to show your love of hip hop, and they can be designed in many different ways.

Graffiti tattoos can be designed with any type of lettering, and they can be created with any color or combination of colors. They can be small and simple, or large and elaborate. Graffiti tattoos can also be designed with other elements such as skulls, crossbones, roses, or any other type of image that you feel represents hip hop culture.

If you’re looking for a tattoo that is truly unique and caters to your individual style, then a graffiti tattoo may be the perfect choice for you.

Breakdance Tattoos

Most people think of tattoo designs as either cool or trashy, but there are actually many different types of tattoo designs out there. Some people get tattoos to show their love of a particular music genre, and hip hop is a popular choice.

Hip hop tattoos often feature breakdancers or graffiti-style artwork. They can be large and elaborate, or small and simple. Some people get hip hop tattoos to show their love of the music, while others get them because they think the designs are cool.

If you’re considering a hip hop tattoo, make sure you choose a design that you’ll be happy with for years to come. Tattoos are permanent, so you want to make sure you pick something you won’t regret later on.

Similar Posts