The Four Elements
The Central Elements
What do they rap about?
Eastcoast and Westcoast
The Hip Hop Lifestyle
Music is a big part of people’s day. Music can make you happy, sad, and will always make you dance or just bounce to the beat. There are a lot of music types, and Hip Hop is one of them. Hip Hop is not just a music genre, but also a cultural movement. It started in the mid 70s, but didn’t become so popular until the 1980s. Keith Cowboy, Grandmaster Flash & The furious five are known as the creators of Hip Hop. Some say that Keith Cowboy started it all when he was teasing a friend who had just joined the army. He had scat sung the words Hip & Hop, so he made it sound like marching soldiers. Later he developed this into a part of his stage performance, and other artists copied this into their songs.
At the start Hip Hop couldn’t be found nowhere else than New York, but today it’s all over the world, just like the other music types. Many teenagers, not just it America also in countries like Japan and Germany, have changed their life stile to hip hop style. They listen to hip hop, wear baggie clothes and new era caps and also talk like the afro American rappers. The hip hop world especially in America is divided into two geographical parts, The Westcoast and The Eastcoast. The picture at the front shows us two famous westcoast rappers, Dr. Dre and the former G-unit member, The Game. Dr. Dre is one of the best living hip hop rapper/producer in the world. He was a member of NWA (niggers with attitude) a legendary old school hip hop group which is now disbanded.
ProblemsIn this project I want to find information about:
- The Four parts of Hip Hop
- What they rap about.
- The difference between Eastcoast- and Westcoast rap.
- The Hip Hop lifestyle
Many people think that Hip Hop is just rapping, but that’s wrong. It’s more than rapping. Hip Hop is based on four main elements; rapping (of course), graffiti, break-dance, and turntablism. A model called battling is common for these four elements. It means that two or more (it could also be gangs) compete with each other and try to win. The winner gets respect and money. In rap battles they try to “diss” each other by calling each other names and rapping sentences that insult their background, family etc. These battles don’t affect the media, the battles are just held underground. The meaning of battling is to make the unknown (f.eks.) rappers famous and make them celebs. All famous rappers like Eminem, 50 cent, Jay-z were all underground rappers, before they become stars.
Later these years it has showed up some new types of elements, hip hop slang (i.e. “aiight” which stands for all right, “innit” for isn’t it, “fosho” which is of course for sure), hip hop fashion and double dutching which is a type of rope skipping, but just a urban version. Hip hop slang and fashion are more related to the life style, it’s more a habit than a hobby. The four main Elements together with the last “mini” elements make the famous hip hop culture.
Graffiti has existed for years as a street art, but the modern graffiti which is more related to hip hop started in the late 60s. People believe that graffiti is a visual expression of rap. The graffiti was made by political activists, they made statements to the government by wall painting. During the history there have been many professional graffiti writers like, Cool Earl, Trace 168 and Barry McGee. Later the same century the “gang graffiti” started. It was a way of battling in the streets between gangs. This was mainly in New York, where gangs made graffiti paintings in their territory to mark that it was their territory. In some situation gangs started to the fight with each other to seize the territory.
Break-dance also known as B-boying, started basically around the 70s, but the modern breakdance started when the hip hop music became more slower and aggressive. In the 70s break dancers danced to old school and funk, now they show their skill moves for the slow music. The new school (modern breakdance) got some amazing freestyles, f.eks. top rock, down rock, power moves, freeze and suicide. Some say that Dj Cool Herk was the founder of the beat to the break-dance. Break-dance is now known all over the world, and there are a lot of young b-boyers on earth, in Norway too. Every year it is held competitions and championships for breakdancing, most of them finds place in America.
The Central Elements
Rapping is one of the two central elements, and together with turntablism they are the central elements. The hip hop music is composed by the rapper and the turntabler/Dj. The turntabler makes a beat and background music, and the rapper rap rhythmically with rhymes to the beat. Rapping and Dj'ing started like the other elements around the 70s. I the late 60s Djs started to use the percussion break from other music types basically funk and soul to make a new type of beat.
At the start rappers didn’t rap, they were just keeping the audience excited by telling them jokes and sketches between the beats which was made by the turntablers. Later this type of stage performance evolved into rapping and hip hop went in a new era which is called the old school era and it lasted to 1985.
In 1985 the golden era started, the era which showed hip hop to the world. Without Groups and rappers like Run Dmc, Ll Cool J, the Fat Boys and Jazzy Jay and Djs like Grandmaster flash, Dj Cool Herk and Africa Bambataa the hip hop wouldn’t be this popular. Hip Hop became more and more popular, and by the time the rapping was also changing.
In 1993 another new era started, the Hardcore Hip Hop and 5 years later the “ring-bling” era came. These two last eras are known as the new school. Above you can see a picture of the famous west coast rap group G-unit (Tony Yayo was in the jail when this photo was taken), this group is definitely from the “ring-bling” era.
What do they rap about?
Every single rapper got their own way of rapping, their own voice. But what do they really rap about, does it have any meaning?
Yes, it surely has a meaning. Through the history especially Afro-Americans, have rapped about their problems like the Jamaicans did, but they sang in a type of music which is called reggae. Anyways you could say that rappers in the old school era were riots, like the hippies. They rapped about their problems, how the society treated them. The legendary rap group NWA (niggers with attitude) was known for this, express yourself and fuck the police are two famous songs. These two songs showed the bad things about how the blacks were treated in the society. The songs met a lot of respect. Chamillionaire a ring-bling rapper made a similar Fuck the police song, but he called it Ridin’ Dirty and it became very famous.
Eastcoast and Westcoast
Today there is a big difference between the westcoast and eastcoast hip hop. It’s not just the hip hop, but how rich they are. West coast rappers like Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, The Game and the pure west coast rapper Dr. Dre are all rich, of course the rappers from eastcoast are rich too, but they don’t show it to the media. That means that westcoast rappers are more in the media than the eastcoast rappers. Eastcoast rappers still rap about the society, their problems, natural disasters etc. but the westcoast rappers especially the group g-unit with 50 cent as a leader, rap about cars, girls, guns and drugs. You could basically say that the westcoast rappers rap about themselves, but the eastcoast rappers rap about other’s problems. There is only one reason for this, the westcoast rappers became famous at the start like Dr. Dre and Xzibit, now they just show off their “things” while underground rappers usually from eastcoast fight every day to get famous or just earn a little bit. Nas (the picture) was an underground rapper until 1994, but he didn’t get famous at the start after 1994 even though he had a lot of hot raps. After he signed with the def jam records (one of the most famous records in America, where Jay Z is the president) last year he experienced a total makeover, the first album he dropped for the def jam was hilarious. He called the album Hip Hop is dead (I agree with him, the real hip hop is gone). In this album he rapped about the “normal” things, but it was well done.
The Hip Hop Lifestyle
Everybody knows that Hip Hop has grown a lot these last years, and so has the culture. There are more graffiti writers, turntablers/Djs, break dancer and rappers than ever before. Nearly all of them have their own common way of living. You could say that every Hip Hop fan follow the baggie dress code. As I’ve written, they use the baggie style with a new-era cap or just a truck cap, some of them, especially rappers wear a lot of blings. It could be an earring, a watch, a finger ring, chain or a wristband. And the fans got their own way of talking. They use the Hip Hop slang, which is more used in the media (movies, posters etc.) But it doesn’t stop there, did you know that the old cars like Chevy impala 64’ have been famous rap cars, nearly all the rappers got one. Hummers, Ferraris and Bentleys have been nowadays’ hip hop cars. The Hip Hop lifestyle have changed, and in some years it will change again, it just a question of when.
I believe this project was a successful project for me. I did find information about all the things I questioned my self and wrote it down. It was really interesting operating with this subject even though I did know a bit about the subject from the start, I learned more than I expected. I wish we could have more projects like this, because I enjoyed working with this “fosho”.