Hip Hop

What is hip hop?

Music historians claim that hip hop music can be traced to speech and songs heard in America during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, or even earlier. It derives from “stylized talk between verses” that are “characteristic of blues and rhythm and blues,” and comes from black game chants and songs, sounds heard in fraternity and sorority step shows, pool halls, barber and beauty shop talk, and elsewhere. It is associated with the American dream—the dream of moving beyond one’s circumstances and becoming self-empowered. The art form is often used interchangeably with “rap.” As a cultural expression, hip hop became known in the 1970s, in the South Bronx, New York. Elements of hip hop include rapping, deejaying, and break dancing, all characterized by heavy back beats and repetitive rhythms.


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