History Of Hip Hop
The history of hip hop is the story of one of the most vital movements in all of popular music. Hip hop is as much a culture as it is a musical style. It has everything to do with African American artistic culture, whereas rap is the musical style expressed through the hip hop culture. Over time, hip hop has simply become an essential element of the world's culture.
Before there was rap as we know it, there were musical poets, such as The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. These artists were not rappers, but they paved the trail for rappers that would come along later.
In the 1970s, lyricists began to speak, or rap, over popular funk and soul songs. These early rappers were clearly influenced by similar Jamaican immigrant artists that brought over dub music and toasting, which is a kind of call and response tradition of chanting basic choruses over music. Although it's difficult to pinpoint the exact beginning of hip hop, Afrikaa Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation was one of the early pioneers, and Melle Mel, who performed with The Furious Five, is believed to be the first man to refer to himself as an MC. These early rappers primarily performed at local block parties before they ever recorded music in studios. These performers created their raps so dancers could dance with a style known as break dancing. This music and dance is well documented in popular movies of the time, such as "Wild Style" and "Beat Street." One of the first popular hip hop recordings was "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang in 1979.
Many refer to the 1980s as the golden age of hip hop. This is because it gave birth to some of the pioneering rappers. These influential artists included Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, A Tribe Called Quest and Eric B. & Rakin.
Toward the end of the '80s, a subgenre called gangsta rap became popular. Much of this music was inspired by the African American gang culture. Artists like N.W.A. and Ice T were popular representatives of this subgenre. In the '90s, a rivalry began between East Coast Rap, from folks like The Notorious B.I.G., and West Coast rap from artists such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Today, hip hop culture has filtered into the mainstream. A good example of that is how rapper Snoop Dogg was a big part of white pop singer Katy Perry's "California Gurls" hit pop song. Also, hip hop has welcomed in authentic white rappers, like Eminem. Hip Hop still remains as an African American culture, but the rap music it gave birth to is nearly everywhere, including international rap music.