Hip-hop is a global movement that was started in the Bronx – back in the gang-riddled 70s. Instead of fighting, kids were able to channel their frustrations through b-boying (breakdancing), graffiti, and music. Pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa and Cool DJ Herc also opened the floodgates for rap music and mixing (Djing) to flourish as its own art form. While hip-hop had its roots in rock and roll, soul, reggae, and other forms of music – it seemed to grow out of the ashes of disco. The latter, of course, was the main sound on the dance floors back in the late 70s and early 80s. The commercialization of disco, however, would leave to its eventual demise. Sadly, it looks like modern rap is also facing a similar dilemma.
The Old Hip-Hop
Graffiti was and still is the oldest element of hip-hop. While many crews still love to break-dance, others have transformed DJ’ing into its own art form called turntablism. The only real element of hip-hop, however, that has taken a life of its own is rap. Over the years, rap has been the voice of the voiceless – especially across the poverty-ridden slums and ghettos of America. From politics and racism to drugs and abuse – rap has also been a vehicle to expose the ills that plague society from coast to coast – and around the world. There have also been several movements within rap, including but not limited to:
- Original East-Coast Rap – Cold Crush Brothers, Kool-Moe Dee, Fantastic Freaks, Grandmaster Flash, Melle-Mel, Furious Five, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Eric B. and Rakim, etc.
- Political Rap – KRS-1, Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur, Stetsasonic, etc.
- Gangsta Rap – Schooly D., NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Compton’s Most Wanted, DJ Quick, Too-Short, E-40, Chino XL, Geto Boys, etc.
- Bounce – Crucial Conflict, Daddy O., Master P., Lil John, etc.
The New Hip-Hop
New hip-hop seems to be the rule now, as opposed to the exception. This new form of commercial rap is spearheaded by acts like Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea. The problem, however, is that most traditional hip-hop fans cannot relate or connect to this new style. It is too modern, trendy and fashionable – while lacking the gritty, raw, from the streets essence that made hip-hop what it was. It seems anyone can rap today – and they are – which has also led to a severe watering-down of hip-hop. With the exception of Jay-Z and Eminem, there are no real connections to the past- and hardly any real rap artists left.