Officially, on Nov. 12, 1974, a phenomenon entered the music wave in the Bronx, N.Y., created by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. In the early years of the culture, the movement was untitled until Afrika Bambaataa started calling it “hip-hop,” a term originated by Lovebug Starski, which he used in his rhymes.
Critics believed a bunch of guys break dancing, spinning turntables and expressing themselves on a microphone was just a fad and would quickly disperse.
Now, in 2001, rap is the second most popular form of music behind rock and roll.
What was once just a form of music for New Yorkers and African-Americans has turned into a billion-dollar industry and garnered universal appeal.
Hip-hop takes on many forms: cutting and scratching a record, break
dancing, graffiti art and double dutch dancing are some major forms of the culture.
The reason why hip-hop is popular today is because it offers artists a chance to freely express how they feel. There are very limited rules in hip-hop; just be original. You can rap about anything. How you feel, how your life is and what you think is right or wrong with the world are just some of the topics of discussion.
During the late 1990’s hip-hop took on a new level, expanding beyond music. It went mainstream in terms of fashion and film. Many hip-hop artists including Sean “Puffy” Combs (Sean John), Jay-Z (RocaWear) and Busta Rhymes (Bushi) now own clothing lines, and their respective lines have been shown on many international fashion shows, thus bringing hip-hop into a new level.
During this same period many publications on the hip-hop life have been added. The Source, XXL, Rap Pages, Rap Sheet, etc; all have covered the political, economical and social dynamics of hip-hop. Even award shows (The Source Awards) have gained national television exposure honoring artists who have achieved success in the business.
Political figures such as C. Deloris Tucker and the Reverend Calvin Butts made rampant attempts to ban hip-hop and/or censor it, claiming rap was the sole reason for violence amongst youth, but to no avail rap music survived and expanded.
Yes, the rap world has it’s up and downs. Some of hip-hop’s biggest names (i.e. Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, Big Pun and Big L) have passed due to random acts of violence, and you do hear about artists who have run-ins with the law, but before rap was even created, there was violence. All artists are doing today is making listeners aware of what is going on in society, which may not be heard in other media. Hip-hop is also another alternative where many people can gain successful lives and take care of their families through the same process.
Hip-hop is a lifestyle in which many people like because it is original and an outlet for free expression. Hip-hop started in the urban community, but can now be found in almost every city, town and village in the United States and across the globe. What started out as kids having fun is now an international statement and will only get larger as the years pass along.