The answer to the question “What is Hip-Hop?” isn’t easily answered. Hip-Hop is a culture, a style, music, dance, and a visual artform all combined. But even those terms are restrictive for something as monumental and impactful as Hip-Hop. What we can say is that Hip-Hop started in the 1970s and hasn’t stopped since. Hip-Hop has undoubtedly changed the world since its birth in the Boogiedown Bronx. Hip-Hop was a response to the problems minorities faced in society when it was created. A form of expression to rival any before. An art form that was decidedly and purposely made for the minority but catchy enough to be irresistible, even to the powers that be, it disputed. Hip-Hop is an art form that thrives on change. It has stayed on the cutting edge of the media remaining a hotly debated topic even in modern times.
Hip-Hop at its basis was a cultural movement founded around 1978 by Grandmaster Flash, a DJ. His unique sound system and style of mixing the “breaks” of songs together was something entirely new. At the time, disco was the scene sweeping New York by storm, but the sparkly outfits and ephemeral lifestyle associated with the style seemed unattractive and unattainable for the impoverished youth of the city. This new style of music, however, was infectious, accessible, and relatable. DJs would often use the most popular parts of songs that people already knew which appealed to people because it was easily recognizable but at the same time very different from any style before it.
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Creative Expression: Graffiti
For my Creative Expression assignment, I chose Graffiti as my Hip-Hop element of choice. I created this piece with EVOLVE as my one-word message because one of the most noticeable facts about Hip-Hop is how rapidly it evolved and changed over time. Stylistically I opted for large block letters with a wildstyle edge. The use of bold primary colors helps add to the youthful nature of the piece in order to represent the youth of the generation that created Hip-Hop. The changing colors on the front of the letters are there to represent how Hip-Hop continued to change throughout its evolution. The arrows are symbolic of the different sub-genres of Hip-Hop that evolved in different directions despite their common thread. My hope was to create a piece that was symbolic of Hip-Hops evolution while sticking to the guidelines of the assignment.
Welcome to my Introduction to Hip-Hop website. This will be the home for a few posts related to my First-Year Seminar. Thanks for visiting!
This first post will include a video, a link, and a picture.
Hip-Hop is the name of a track by Dead Prez, a rap duo from New York City. The two members, M-1 and stic.man began the group in 1996. They are now for their radical and pro-black lyrics. The song Hip-Hop talks about Dead Prez’s problem with record labels and corporate media.