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History And Evolution Of Hip Hop

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Music
Wordcount: 2132 words Published: 15th May 2017

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During the late 1970s an underground urban movement known as hip-hop began to develop in the South Bronx area of New York City. Encompassing graffiti art, break dancing, rap music, and fashion, hip-hop became the dominant cultural movement of the African American and Hispanic communities in the 1980s. Tagging, rapping, and break dancing were all artistic variations on the male competition and one-upmanship of street gangs. Sensing that gang members’ often violent urges could be turned into creative ones, Afrika Bambaataa founded the Zulu Nation, a loose confederation of street-dance crews, graffiti artists, and rap musicians. The popularity of hip-hop spread quickly to mainstream white consumers through movies, music videos, radio play, and media coverage. The resulting flood of attention from wealthy investors, art dealers, movie and video producers, and trend-conscious consumers made hip-hop a viable avenue to success for black and Hispanic ghetto youth. Rap music in particular found a huge interracial audience. After 1985, when the mania for graffiti art and break dancing began to wane, rap music continued to gain popularity, emerging as one of the most original music forms of the decade.

Mixing and Sampling

Beat Street featured several prominent urban-music trends of the 1980s, including mixing, sampling, and scratching. Mixing, popularized by club DJs such as Jellybean, required the skillful blending of different records that had similar beats into a single, seamless dance number. When DJs started recording and replaying their best mixes, the major record labels took notice, releasing extended-play dance mixes of big chart hits. By 1984 a third of the standard Top 20 pop singles were available as twelve-inch remixes. Jellybean did a remix for Michael Jackson, while Arthur Baker, the music coordinator for Beat Street, was hired to remix dance versions of songs for Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen. Mixing was taken a step further by DJs who employed scratching, which involved placing the needle in a record groove and manually turning the disc back and forth in rapid succession to achieve a staccato effect and thereby segue into another song. Sampling was akin to the appropriation used by many visual artists of the decade: samplers took snatches of existing records and wove them into new numbers, usually by scratching the records to cover the transition from one sample to another. In the song Strictly Business (1988) EPMD borrowed a familiar riff from Eric Clapton’s version of I Shot the Sheriff. Using two or more turntables to scratch and sample, DJs kept dance floors crowded with sound changes that appealed to MTV attention spans. Mixing, scratching, and sampling were all popular techniques with DJs.

Rap Music

Rap originated in the early 1970s in the South Bronx, where DJs played riffs from their favorite dance records at house parties, creating new sounds by scratching over them or adding drum synthesizers. A partner, the MC, would add a rhyming, spoken vocal (a rap) over the mix, often using clever plays on words. Most rap songs were braggadocio, the aural equivalent of street gangs’ strut and swagger. Boasting about their physical prowess and coolness, rappers used competitiveness with rival males as the motivation for creativity. Some early rap songs promoted global and interracial harmony, including The Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight (1980) and Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock (1982), which became a crossover hit on the dance charts and sold more than six hundred thousand copies. Other rappers expressed serious political and social messages, often addressing the effects of racism, poverty, and crime on the African American community. One such group was Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, formed in the Bronx in 1978 by Joseph Saddler. Flash first attracted attention with the song Freedom, released on the rap label Sugar Hill in 1980. Their 1981 album was among the first to feature sampling, and in 1982 their seven-minute recording The Message-about black ghetto life-became an underground hit. When Flash went solo, another Furious Five member stepped forward to lead the group as Grandmaster Melle Mel. The new group released the antidrug anthem White Lines (Don’t Do It) in 1983.


Rap remained primarily an underground urban style until the mid 1980s, when it exploded into the mainstream with the unexpected popularity of RunD.M.C. Formed in 1982 the trio released their first record the following year and watched it become the first rap-music gold album. Their 1985 LP King of Rock was an even bigger hit, reaching number fifty-three on the Billboard album chart and featuring two videos that achieved significant airplay on MTV. Run-D.M.C.’s heavy metal sampling increased its popularity with young white males, especially after the 1986 recording of Walk This Way, a remake of an Aero smith song with a video featuring Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. The song was the crossover breakthrough for rap music, while the album that featured it, Raising Hell, sold more than 3 million copies and became the first platinum rap album. Inspired by the success of Run-D.M.C, MTV launched a daily Yo! MTV Raps program. Female rap artists such as Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, and Queen Latifah began to make inroads in the late 1980s, and even white acts jumped on the bandwagon; in 1987 the Beastie Boys had a major hit with (You’ve Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party). By the end of the decade rappers such as L. L. Cool J (I’m Goin Back to Cali, 1988) and Tone Loc (Wild Thing, 1989) were regularly appearing in the Top 40, and in the 1990s the rap stars Ice-T, Fresh Prince, and Kid ‘N Play were elevated to movie and television stars.


While some rap songs were lighthearted and fun-for example, Run-D.M.C.’s My Adidas celebrated hip footwear-rap music became increasingly political as the decade progressed. Sensing nothing but indifference from the Reagan administration and white America to the escalating problems of crime, poverty, drugs, and unemployment in their communities, many rappers openly raged against the police, the government, big corporations, and other bastions of white male power. In response some critics attacked rap music in the late 1980s for the often overt violence, racism, sexual explicitness, and misogyny of its lyrics. In 1986 Tipper Gore of the Parents’ Music Resource Center blamed the music of Run-D.M.C. for the eruption of violence at several stops on their summer tour. Others took issue with the militant, seemingly antiwhite stance of rap group Public Enemy, especially on their million-selling 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and in the song Fight the Power, featured in Spike Lee’s controversial 1989 movie Do the Right Thing. Though candid about the evils of bigotry, group members Flavor Flav and Chuck D responded to such criticism by insisting that they advocated improving black life through empowerment. During a concert at Riker’s Island Prison in New York, Chuck D announced, Our goal is to get ourselves out of this mess and be responsible to our sons and daughters so they can lead a better life. My job is to build 5,000 potential black leaders through my means of communication. Also in 1988 the recording Move Somethin’ by 2 Live Crew ignited controversy when an Alabama store owner was arrested and charged with selling an obscene work. In 1990, 2 Live Crew was again in court, successfully defending their music against obscenity charges.


Run-D.M.C. sought to be role models for black youth through their involvement in social causes. In addition to decrying the gang fighting at their live shows, they took part in the Live Aid and Artists United Against Apartheid projects, appeared in a promo video for the Martin Luther King national holiday campaign and at an anticrack awareness day, and came out with a strong antidrug message in the song It’s Tricky. Rappers Queen Latifah and N.W.A also spoke out against drugs. Ice-T used his chilling gangland rap Colors, in the 1988 movie of the same name, as a commentary on the harsh realities of black life in the inner cities. In 1989 leading rappers joined together in the Stop the Violence (STV) movement. Denouncing gang warfare, Chuck D and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy joined KRS-One, Heavy D, MC Lyte, and others to record the single Self-Destruction, which sold half a million copies. STV donated $500,000 in royalties to the National Urban League to combat illiteracy. We wanted to reach the kids most affected by black-on-black crime, said Ann Carli, the Jive Records executive who helped organize STV. Rap records can be a tool that can be used in education today. Black pride was also the message of rappers Sir Mix-a-Lot (National Anthem), Big Daddy Kane (Young, Gifted and Black), and Queen Latifah, who dressed in African-inspired garb. Style is Afrocentric, she said, and my style and music are one.

A lot of ideas are lost in there execution


In addition to gangsta rap, hip hop has splintered into many other sub genres. Crunk is a southern style of hip-hop, with lyrics that are primarily concerned with partying and having a good time. Crunk rappers often shout their lyrics over a somewhat slower beat. There are also Christian hip hop groups, grime groups that primarily can be found in the UK, and rap-rockers like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine.

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Hip hop music or also known as rap, is a kind of music genres which consists of rap backing beats. The rise of hip hop is because of the change in united states urban culture especially in 1970s. Most important is the low cost involved in getting started, living cost was quite cheap, and the chances for anyone to MC with popular hip hoper.

There is a difference between Rap and MC, Rap means talk to girl or speak to someone, it was used by Rappers Delight, Sugar Hill Gang, and become the title for hip hop recording, while MC, is a word to describe a hip hoper hosting a jam and rhyming on the mic or master of ceremony.

There are important volunteers of hip hop :

1. James Brown, his dancing, musical feel and his break beats, influenced the born of hip hop genres.

2. Capoeira, see how the dances, its the root of hip hop dances. As we know capoeira is from angola, it is a kind of african dance, capoeira movement and style influenced hip hop dances.

3. Salsa, latin communities who lives in New York have special dance called salsa or bombi plena, this kind of dance also give important influence on hip hop culture.

Hip hop name is comes from rapper, named Keith Cowboy, through Dj Hollywood, but the first one who create hip hop terms is from Black Spades which is a member of Afrika Bambaataa gang.

In 70s, a lot of hip hop clubs appears, there are Hevalo Club, Twilight Zone, Executive Play House, The Fever, Savoy Manor, Boys Club, Over The Dover, Bronx River Center, Penny Lounge,Celebrity Club, Black Door, Sparkle, Skate Key. The pioneers of hip hop Dj are, Charlie Chase, Whiz Kid, Grand Wizard Theodore, Kool Herc, Bug Starski, Johny Thunderbird, Eddie Cheeba, and Tony Tone.

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Now, Hip-hop has globalized into a lot of cultures in the world. We can find hip-hop in every corner of the globe, especially at the South Bronx. Hip hop has emerged globally as an movement of art with the uses of technology, speech and body. Music will always continue to embrace, hip-hop’s inspiration differs depend on each culture. Although hip-hop is sometimes taken for permitted by Americans, it is not so elsewhere, especially in the developing countries where it has come to reflect the empowerment of the disenfranchised. Hip-hop music has reached the cultural corridors of the globe and has been absorbed and reinvented worldwide


Break Dancing the Night Away, Newsweek 102 (21 March 1983): 72-73;

Breaking Out: America Goes Dancing, Newsweek, 104 (2 July 1984): 46-52;

Chilling Out on Rap Flash, Time, 121 (21 March 1983): 72-73;

Peter Frank and Michael McKenzie, New, Used & Improved: Art for the 80s (New York: Abbeville Press, 1987);

Graffiti on Canvas, Newsweek, 102 (18 April 1983): 94;

Some Bad Raps for Good Rap, Newsweek 108 (1 September 1986): 85;

David P. Szatmary, Rockiri in Time: A Social History of Rock and Roll (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1987).



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