Roots of hip hop  

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"Count Machuki, King Stitt and Sir Lord Comic's style of speaking over records may have had a great impact on a young Jamaican DJ named DJ Kool Herc, who had emigrated to New York City in the late 1960s where he began holding parties in the Bronx. It was Kool Herc's parties and the scene that sprung up around them that is generally credited as birth of hip hop and rap. Mixing techniques developed later in dub music have also influenced hip hop."--Sholem Stein

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Hip hop music originated in 1970s block parties in New York City, specifically The Bronx. Hip hop culture, including rapping, scratching, graffiti, and breakdancing. In the 1930s more than a sixth of Harlem residents were from the West Indies, and the block parties of the '80s were closely similar to sound systems in Jamaica . These were large parties, originally outdoors, thrown by owners of loud and expensive stereo equipment, which they could share with the community or use to compete among themselves, who began speaking lyrics or toasting.

Rap music emerged from block parties after ultra-competitive DJs isolated percussion breaks, those being the favorites among dancers, and MCs began speaking over the beats ; in Jamaica, a similar musical style called dub developed from the same isolated and elongated percussion breaks. However, "most rappers will tell you that they either disliked reggae or were only vaguely aware of it in the early and middle '70s." (Toop)

Lastly, most existing hip hop acts were shocked when King Tim III's throwback [1] to radio DJs rhyming jive and the Sugarhill Gang's appropriation of rap on their remake, not sample, of Chic's "Good Times" were released, as most DJs and MCs knew each other and many had been attempting to record. Early rap records are a mix bag of quality material by party veterans and poorer material quickly produced for a profit.

Lil Rodney Cee, of Funky Four Plus One More and Double Trouble, cites Cowboy, of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, as, "the first MC that I know of...He was the first MC to talk about the DJ."


The historical conditions contributing to the origin of hip hop

The reasons for the rise of hip hop are complex. Perhaps most important was the need for Black Americans to express themselves and describe the world that they were trapped in. Also, the low cost involved in getting started: the equipment was relatively inexpensive, and virtually anyone could MC along with the popular beats of the day. MCs could be creative, pairing nonsense rhymes and teasing friends and enemies alike in the style of Jamaican toasting at blues parties or playing the dozens in an exchange of wit. MCs would play at block parties, with no expectation of recording, thus making hip hop a form of folk music. The skills necessary to create hip hop music were passed informally from musician to musician, rather than being taught in expensive music lessons.

In Washington, D.C., go-go also emerged as a reaction against disco, and eventually mixed with hip hop during the early 1980s, while electronic music did the same, developing as house music in Chicago and techno music in Detroit.

In addition to this origin of modern Hip Hop, a primitive form of Hip Hop was first shaped by slaves that came to America in the 18th Century from West Africa. The scenic background is that slaves who were often tired and bored with hard work, started speaking out complaints or sang phrases that would cheer them up. These words were accompanied with claps or beats made by hitting a spot on their bodies. This shaped the very primitive form of Hip Hop.


Hip-hop was both rooted in disco, and a backlash against it. According to Kurtis Blow, the early days of hip-hop were characterized by divisions between fans and detractors of disco music. Either way, it is indisputable that disco had an effect on hip-hop music and culture, due to the fact that the first commercial rap hit "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang in 1979, was flush with tenets of disco, from the funk-laden beat to the televised exploitation involving the clothes, dancing, and corny special effects, all associated with disco.


Minimalism --and more significantly Electronic Minimalism-- resorted to calmly, methodically --and sometimes even organically-- remove the extensive mess of ornamentation existent in both Popular and Classical Music; cleaning the palate and paving the Autobahn for the discovery of new rhythms.

From 1977 to 1982 on WGPR, followed by three years at WJLB, Detroit FM DJ named Charles Johnson better known by his on-air name, the Electrifying Mojo, presided over the Midnight Funk Association, broadcasting a diverse anti-format with special attention given to the German minimalist electronic group Kraftwerk. Having fished the Autobahn album out of the "discarded" bin at a previous station, and soon after having acquired a copy of Trans Europe Express, when the 1981 album Computer World came out, Mojo played the entire albums virtually every night, making a lasting impact on listeners.

Ghetto DJs

Librarians of lunacy and analog alchemy, Ghetto DJs found solace in experimentation. A generation that refused to be silenced by urban poverty, teenagers with little cash but plenty of imagination began to forge new styles from spare parts.

In an interview for David Toop's book 'Rap Attack 3', Afrika Bambaataa said that

"The Bronx wasn't really into radio music no more. It was an anti-disco movement. Like you had a lot of new wavers and other people coming out and saying, 'Disco Sucks'. Well, the same thing with hip hop, 'cause they was against the disco that was being played on the radio."

and in a reference plastered countless time on the internet, known as "The History Of Rap" by Kurtis Blow, he writes

"You have to understand that disco music was the hottest thing out -- it was a craze that infiltrated all of American society. We were the rebels who couldn't relate. We weren't going for it. The B-Boys were from the ghetto, while disco was for the middle class and the rich. But there was hip-hop in both worlds. It was the hip-hop tug-o'-war -- disco rappers versus the B-Boys."

Doug Wimbish (bass), who together with Keith LeBlanc (drums) and Skip McDonald (guitar) took over the Sugarhill Records production and arrangement responsibilities from Positive Force and label arranger Jiggs Chase, says

"Jiggs had done an arrangement that was pretty slick but it wasn't the raw stuff they wanted. One of them was almost in tears, 'cause they though they were going to have to do it. And then Rodney [Cee] was just, 'Man, this sounds like it's for an older crowd. What is this shit?' So then we cut 'That's the Joint' and they liked that much better. You couldn't do those boring disco tracks -- everything was four-on-the-floor all the way through. The rappers, they wouldn't have that shit."

Urban socioeconomics

Along with the low expense and the demise of other forms of popular music, social and political events further accelerated the rise of hip hop. In 1959, the Cross-Bronx Expressway was built through the heart of the Bronx, displacing many of the middle-class white communities and causing widespread unemployment among the remaining blacks as stores and factories fled the area. By the 1970s, poverty was rampant. When a 15,000+ apartment Co-op City was built at the northern edge of the Bronx in 1968, the last of the middle-class fled the area and the area's black and Latino gangs began to grow in power.


Deriving genres

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