History of Hip-Hop So you think you know hip-hop? Have you even thought of where its roots stem? Or did you just think it was something cool to listen to? Think about what you know about this style of music……
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So you think you know hip-hop? Have you even thought of where its roots stem? Or did you just think it was something cool to listen to? Think about what you know about this style of music……
Hip-Hop can be traced back to the days of slavery, where slaves would create calls in the fields to pass the long work days. This call and response field calls soon grew into another style of music….this time, it was Jazz music. From jazz, it evolved into funk, disco, and soul music. Finally, during that funky decade of the 70’s, hip-hop emerged.
What actually began in Jamaica (remember toasting in reggae?!) soon found its way to block parties in New York City. In Jamaica it was called “dub” music, the practice of taking the percussion break and extending it using an audio mixer and two records. Soon, DJ’s started to include scratching and mixing and the remix was born! So where did rap come from? People began to simply speak along with the beat and soon added rhymes and intrinsic rhythms.
Grandmaster Flash: pioneer of Hip- Hop and creator of freestyle battles. The first Hip-Hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.
Run DMC: Credited with bringing Hip-Hop
into mainstream music by combining rap and
rock with Aerosmith’s “Walk this way” in the 1980’s.
Hip-Hop’s roots were in the east, but soon spread across America to the west coast and by the mid-1990’s, there was a confrontation between the two coasts. With the likes of Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur on the west side and Notorious B.I.G. and Nas in the east, gangsta rap and all its violence came to a head. In 1996, Tupac Shakur was murdered in L.A. A year later, Biggie (aka Chris Wallace) was also murdered. Both murders remain unsolved.
In 1997, Hip-Hop saw a drastic change as artists and labels alike strove to put a stop to the violence. What would come would be the party jams of the likes of Puff Daddy and Ja Rule. What would soon follow would be the emergence of The Slim Shady, Kanye West, Outkast, and many more popular acts.
Run DMC and Aerosmith
1.) Describe how the balance of rock and rap work in this song. How is this fusion possible?
2.) This song brought Hip-Hop into the mainstream. Why would it appeal to a wide variety of listeners?
Tupac vs. B.I.G: Changes and Only You
1.) Does one rapper stand out from the other? Why or why not?
2.) Both songs use samples and other artists in the song. Why is this an important aspect to Hip-Hop? Can you identify the samples?
Faith Evans and Twista: Hope
1.) What is the message in this song?
2.) Describe how the blend of Hip-Hop and Rhythm and Blues works in this song.
3.) Would you listen to this song? Why or why not?
How does Hip-Hop adapt to the changes in the music scene? What was once only spoken word with percussion has evolved by incorporating other musical styles. Currently, there is a tendency to include classical music and its melodies and harmonies with the beats of Hip-Hop.
Watch the dance sequence from
the film ‘Step Up’ and try to
describe how there is a merge of
classical and hip-hop musical styles.
As well, look at how the dance steps
have also been adapted to suit the music.
Samples from other songs are an intrinsic part of Hip-Hop. Artists take the heart of another piece and blend it into their own creation. Listen to the following examples and try to explain why the artist would choose to include the samples they chose.
Jay-z: Hard knock life
Kanye West: Golddigger
We’ve gone over where Hip-Hop came from, some of the main players in the game, and what layers make up the sound. Now, it’s time for you to create your own hip-hop song. Follow these steps in creating your song. Keep in mind, it’s a fairly open task and there are many options to consider, so make sure you have all the components!
1.) Backbeat – drums? Scatting? Vocal backbeat?
2.) Melody and harmony – chords and ostinato.
3.) Lyrics – what is your rap going to be about? Make sure the words fit in with the backbeat of the song!
4.) Samples – what songs will add to your piece? How can you alter the existing song to fit in with your piece?