History of Pop Hip Hop
Origins • Hip hop begins with the DJ. • Block parties became prominent in NYC in the 1970s, DJs would be hired to provide the music. • The records of the day were relatively short so DJs began to extend the records by cutting and chopping up the songs. • Rapping over the DJ’s beat does not develop until later. • The MC would come out to talk up the DJ and warm up the crowd. • The roots of rapping come from African culture (griots) and spoken word poetry. (Last Poets) • Rapping became more involved as competition rose. • Early hip hop artists include: • DJ KoolHerc, Melle Mel, Sugarhill Gang, AfrikaBambaataa, and Kurtis Blow
Hip Hop Spreads • The Sugarhill Gang is considered to have recorded the first hip hop song of all time, “Rapper’s Delight”. • During the early 1980s, hip hop grew in popularity and spread to cities across the United States. • Along with its spread it began to develop new sounds and styles. • Some important artists during this period include: • Gandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Cold Crush Brothers, Kurtis Blow, Newcleus, Whodini
The 1980s • Hip hop relied heavily upon drum machines and samples. • During this time rapping became more lyrical and involved. • The DJ became less important and the MC grew in popularity. • It is during this time that the music proved to the general public that it had staying power and that it was quickly becoming an art form. • Important artists: • LL Cool J • Run DMC • Beastie Boys • The Fat Boys
The Golden Age • The “golden age” of hip hop usually refers to a time period from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. • It is characterized by advancements in production and lyrical content. • Lyrics became focused on politics, poverty, and Afrocentrism • Music was meant to be listened to rather than danced to. • Artists of the Golden Age include: • Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, KRS-One, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, EPMD, & The Pharcyde
West Coast & Gangsta Rap • The genre was pioneered by Schoolly D and Ice-T in the mid-1980s. • Known for glorifying violence and thug life, it instantly became controversial. • N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Comptonwas released in 1988 and became a target of critics, especially for the song F*** the Police. • Later N.W.A. would be blamed for causing the L.A. riots partially because of this song. • N.W.A. defended their lyrics by stating that they are simply “reporters” of inner –city life. • Other artists important to the movement: • Bone-Thugs & Harmony, Snoop Doggy Dog, Too Short, Cypress Hill
Mainstream Success • 1990, is known as the year that hip hop “exploded”. • Aided by the success of Public Enemy, N.W.A. & Dr. Dre, Tone Loc, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Fresh Prince. • By 1999, Hip Hop had become the best selling music genre in the United States. • Hip Hop was no longer appealing to a Black and Latino audience; Whites now made up the vast majority of album sales.
Tupac Shakur • Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in 1971 in NYC. • His mother was a former Black Panther and his father was a hustler. • Tupac excelled in school, upon graduating he found a job as a back-up dancer in the Digital Underground. • In 1991, 2Pocalypse Now was released starting his solo career. • “Keep Ya Head Up” • In November 1993 Tupac spent some time in jail for a sexual assault charge. • While in jail he was bailed by Suge Knight in exchange for three albums under the Death Row label.
Notorious B.I.G. • Born Christopher Wallace in 1972 in Brooklyn, NY. • He was a promising an intelligent student, but he dropped out of high school to sell drugs. • Biggie was signed by Puffy in 1992, he started building up his cred through appearing on other artist’s songs. • “Juicy” • During this time he also marries R & B singer Faith Evans.
East vs. West • West coast hip hop dominated the charts in the early 1990s. • In 1992, Puff Daddy founded Bad Boy Records, the following year Biggie Smalls releases his debut album, Ready to Die. • Ready to Die helps revitalize East coast hip hop. • In 1995, Tupac was robbed outside of a recording studio where Biggie was recording. • Tupac blamed Biggie and Puffy for setting him up. • This would set off a feud that would culminate in the murder of both Pac and biggie just a few years later. • The feud helped sell millions of records and did push some artists to new creative heights. But at what cost?
East Coast Reigns • Inspired by the legacies of the “golden age” and gangster rap, artists on the East coast began to gain prominence in the mid 1990s. • The most notable of this movement was Wu-Tang Clan. • By 1999, they were the best selling artists in the United States. • In 1994, Illmatic, Nas’ debut album was released. • In 1996, Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt is released. • Major artists during the time include: Busta Rhymes, Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Pete Rock, Cam’ron, Gang Starr, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, & Lil’ Kim