What is Hip Hop Music All About?

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Hip hop music is a genre that has its roots in African American music. This type of music is typically characterized by its use of strong beats and rhyming lyrics.

Origins of Hip Hop

Hip Hop music first originated in the 1970s in New York City. African American and Latino youths created this new style of music by mixing together various genres such as funk, soul, and disco. This new style of music quickly gained popularity in the inner city neighborhoods.

1970s New York City

In the 1970s, hip hop music began to emerge from the underground music scene in New York City. Early hip hop artists such as DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash brought this new form of music to the masses. Hip hop is a style of music that is characterized by its use of rhyming lyrics, syncopated beats, and often contains samples from other songs.

Hip hop music first gained mainstream popularity in the United States in the 1980s. The most popular sub-genre of hip hop during this time was rap. Rap is a type of hip hop music that is typically characterized by its use of spoken word lyrics often times delivered in a rapid-fire style. Some of the most popular rap artists from the 1980s include Run DMC, Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy.

Today, hip hop music has become one of the most popular genres in the world. It continues to evolve and grow with new sub-genres emerging all the time. Some of the most popular current hip hop artists include Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J Cole.

DJ Kool Herc

Hip hop music, also known as rap music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. The term “hip hop” is often used to refer to both the musical genre and the subculture that emerged from it. The origins of hip hop are often traced back to African American communities in New York City, particularly the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican immigrant, is credited with throwing the first hip hop party in 1973. At these parties, which became known as “block parties,” Herc would play records and isolated the percussive “breaks,” which he then extended by adding a turntable to play back the break for longer periods of time. This technique, known as “break-beat deejaying,” or “rap,” quickly became popular among partygoers.

The Sugarhill Gang

The Sugarhill Gang is an American hip hop group, known mostly for their 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight”, the first rap single to become a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The song uses an interpolation of the Chic track “Good Times”. The members, all hailing from Englewood, New Jersey, consisted of Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. Released by Sugar Hill Records in September 1979, it is considered one of the earliest hip hop records. The song caused a sudden and massive upturn in mainstream attention to hip hop music and culture worldwide.

Elements of Hip Hop

Hip hop music is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is characterized by four key elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Hip hop music is often performed in a competitive manner, which is why it is often referred to as “battle rap.”


In hip hop music, MCing (also known as rapping[1][2]) is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay,[3] one of the elements of hip hop music culture. This oral delivery was strongly influenced by the African American style of “capping”, a performance where men tried to outdo each other in originality of their language and tried to gain the favor of the listeners.[4][5] MCing over instrumentals became more common with the development of hip hop in the 1970s.[6]

Rapping, also referred to as rhyming, spitting, or just flows, can be found in other forms of music like punk rock and gangsta rap. MCs use their lyrical flow in different ways. Some use it as a way to tell stories about their lives, while others use it for bragging rights or to Dirties point out rivals. Lyrical flow is also sometimes used for political purposes, particularly by rappers from Africa and Asia.

In hip hop music, MCing refers to rhyming over tracks or beats. It generally includes a strong delivery, sound effects, narration, early onomatopoeia (such as “scratching” records), and metaphors.


A hip hop DJ is responsible for playing recorded music in a live setting, typically at a nightclub, bar, rave, or party. They create seamless transitions between songs to keep the crowd engaged and often take requests from the audience. In addition to playing music, DJs may also create or perform their own tracks using turntables, mixers, samplers, and other electronics.

The role of the hip hop DJ has evolved significantly since the genre’s inception in the 1970s. Early DJs such as Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa would play extended breaks in between songs to give dancers a chance to show off their moves. In addition to playing records, they would often use turntables to manipulate the sound of the music by adding scratch effects or manipulating the pitch with a fader control. As hip hop evolved into a more complex form with multiple elements such as rapping, graffiti, and breakdancing, DJs began to play a more active role in creating songs by adding sound effects, remixing tracks, and incorporating samples from other songs.

Today, hip hop DJs are as varied as the genre itself. Some DJs focus on creating their own original tracks, while others prefer to play pre-recorded music. Some are turntablists who use their skills to create dynamic soundscapes, while others are content playing background music for parties or clubs. No matter their style, all hip hop DJs share a passion for music and an ability to get people moving.


B-boying, also called breakdancing, is a style of street dance that started in the early 1970s. It is usually danced to hip hop, funk, and breakbeat music. B-boying consists of four elements: toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes.

Toprock is the first element of b-boying. It is danced standing up and is used to get into downrock. Downrock is danced with your hands and feet on the floor. Some power moves are done in downrock. Freezes are done in downrock when you stop moving and pose.


One of the key elements of hip hop is graffiti. Graffiti is a form of street art that uses spray paint or other materials to create a design or image on a wall or other surface. Graffiti has been around for centuries, but it became more associated with hip hop in the 1970s, when young people in New York City used it to express themselves.

Some people consider graffiti to be a form of vandalism, but others see it as a way to beautify their community or make a statement about social issues. Some graffiti artists have even gone on to become famous painters and muralists.

Hip Hop Culture

Music has always been a huge part of my life. It can transport me to another place and time, it can make me feel happy or sad, and it can even help me to better understand the world around me. Hip hop music is a genre that is particularly close to my heart. In this article, I want to explore what hip hop music is all about and how it has become such an important part of my life.


Fashion in hip hop culture, also known as big fashion, is a distinctive style of dress originating from urban African American, Latino, and Jamaican center-city neighborhoods. The four major elements of hip hop fashion are: oversized T-shirts, gold jewelry, baggy jeans or tracksuits, and sneakers. Hip hop fashion complements the expressions and attitudes of hip hop culture in general. Hip hop music has been diversified throughout the years and incorporates elements from a wide range of cultures including African American culture, Caribbean culture, Latin American culture, Asian American culture, as well as other global cultures. As a result, hip hop fashion has also been diversified to include a wide range of style influences including high fashion brands, streetwear brands, and vintage clothing.


Hip hop music is known for its use of slang and sometimes offensive language. While this can be seen as a negative by some, many hip hop fans see it as part of the music’s appeal. After all, hip hop is an art form that is meant to be expressive and edgy. It is also worth noting that not all hip hop songs contain explicit language. There are many artists who choose to rap about positive topics and avoid using profanity in their music.


Hip hop slang makes use of alternative pronunciations, mostly consisting of vowel changes, minor to major modifications of consonants, and the addition of new words to give additional meanings to a phrase. In addition, hip hop slang is used in lyrics as a way of showing social status within a group. Slang words are often altered when spoken in different geographical areas. For example, the word “crack” would be pronounced “crib” in New York City due to the drug’s availability in that area.

Common examples of hip hop slang include:
-Bling (jewelry)
-Fo’ shizzle (for sure)
-Gig’em (a fight chant used by fans of Texas A&M University)
-Peace out (goodbye)
-Y’all (you all)

Hip Hop Today

Hip Hop music is a style of music that originated in African American and Latino American communities in the 1970s. It is a style of music that is characterized by a strong rhythm, often accompanied by rap. Hip Hop music has become one of the most popular genres of music in the world today.

Mainstream Success

In the early 2000s, Hip Hop began to achieve a level of mainstream success unlike anything it had ever seen before. With the help of the Internet, new Hip Hop artists were able to reach a global audience and build a fan base unlike anything that had been possible in the past. Hip Hop was no longer just a musical genre – it was now a global cultural phenomenon.

This newfound mainstream success led to Hip Hop becoming more commercialized and celebrity-focused. As Hip Hop became more popular, it also became more diluted. Many of the values that originally defined Hip Hop – such as creativity, authenticity, and community – were lost in the mainstream focus on wealth and success.

Despite this, Hip Hop remains one of the most popular musical genres in the world, and its influence can be seen in all areas of popular culture.

Commercially Viable

Since the early 2000s, hip hop music has become a worldwide phenomenon. Due to its increased popularity, hip hop has become one of the most commercially viable genres of music. In terms of both sales and airplay, hip hop is now one of the most popular genres of music.

While hip hop once consisted primarily of artists from poor, urban neighborhoods, the genre has since been taken over by more mainstream, commercial artists. This change has led to some criticisms of hip hop, with some saying that it has lost its edge and no longer represents the voice of the people. However, others argue that hip hop is still a powerful force for social change and that it continues to represent the struggles of those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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