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HISTORY OF HIP HOP MUSIC
When hip hop music first developed in the late 1970s, not many people knew about it. It was created in the poorest districts of New York City by African American and Latino teenagers as part of a hip hop scene that also produced breakdancing and graffiti art. Many of these young people were unemployed, but some […] learned deejaying techniques like how to use two turntables and a DJ mixer to play records […]. Sometimes they'd also deejay at free block parties in their neighborhoods where they'd play funk and disco tracks non-stop and ask a friend to act as their MC. The MC would introduce the DJ and encourage everyone to dance and have a good time. Some MCs tried to be more entertaining by talking in time to the beat of the music and using rhymes, and by doing this they invented rapping.
Old School Hip Hop
As rapping became more popular, more DJ and MC duos formed. As the competition grew, DJs began improving their beats by using techniques like sampling short drum breaks and scratching. MCs also began improving their raps by using more complex rhymes and by developing flow, or the ability to rap with a good sense of rhythm and a natural flowing style. […] in 1979 a hip hop single called Rapper's Delight by The Sugarhill Gang was released, and to everyone's surprise it became a top-ten hit worldwide.
After the success of Rapper's Delight, many other hip hop records were released like Kurtis Blow's The Breaks and Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock. Most of these songs were about having fun, but in 1982 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released The Message, an early example of socially-conscious hip hop. It had a slow funk groove with melodic synthesizer riffs and the raps were about social issues like poverty, crime and the stress of living in a dangerous city.
Hip Hop's Golden Age
In the mid-80s, rappers like LL Cool J began creating hip hop singles with catchy melodic hooks. New York duo Run DMC […] added hard-rock guitar to create a popular style called rap rock, and their 1986 album Raising Hell became hip hop's first top-ten album. When punk rock group Beastie Boys began shouting raps instead of singing, their style also became very popular […].
[…]In the late 80s, a new style of political hip hop developed when groups like Public Enemy began demanding political change and an end to injustice and racism.
In the early 90s, producers began using audio editing software and digital effects to create new styles of alternative hip hop such as jazz rap […]. [G]roups like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest added jazz and R&B samples to their beats. The Fugees used elements of reggae and soul to create their own new style, and all-girl group Salt-N-Pepa created a fun new style of hip hop pop. Later in the 90s, rappers like Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli created a new style of socially-conscious hip hop when they began rapping about political and social issues over breakbeat grooves played by jazz and funk musicians. Common's album Like Water for Chocolate and Mos and Talib's album Black Star are fine examples of this style.
Hardcore, Gangsta and G-Funk
The most successful styles of the 90s were the hardcore rap of New York and the gangsta rap and G-Funk of Los Angeles. New York's Wu-Tang Clan created one of the first hardcore styles when they rapped about gangster life […].Other popular hardcore rappers include [Nas], Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and 50 Cent.
Los Angeles' gangsta rap developed from the rap music of artists like Ice-T and NWA. Ice-T began by sampling funk rhythms and rapping about the dangers of drugs, crime and dropping out of school in tracks like You Played Yourself (1990). The members of NWA were from Compton, one of LA's poorest and most violent districts, and they rapped about the injustice and police violence in their neighborhood. Their angry raps included a lot of explicit language, and the media attention this created helped their albums reach the top of the charts. Former NWA member Ice Cube released his classic gangsta album Death Certificate in 1991, and Tupac Shakur, or 2Pac, released his own classic album All Eyez on Me before being killed in 1996.
When Dr Dre, another former NWA member, released his album The Chronic in 1991, G-Funk was heard for the first time. G-Funk producers often sampled funk grooves […] and slowed them down to create relaxed beats with funky bass lines, electronic effects and female backing vocals. G-Funk rappers also rapped about gangsta-rap topics, but they focused on partying, drugs and sex more than violence, crime and guns. Classic G-Funk albums include DJ Quik's Quik Is the Name and Snoop Dog's Doggystyle. Hardcore, gangsta and G-Funk rappers often adopted gangster images and their explicit language and the way they rapped about women upset many people. […]
Hip Hop in the twenty-first Century
Hip hop became a major genre of popular music in the 21st century […]. Local hip hop scenes developed in many countries and produced successful artists like the UK's Dizzee Rascal and Canada's Drake. Many female rappers also became successful, including Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, Lauren Hill and Nicki Minaj. […]
In the 1990s, most major artists were from New York or Los Angeles, but artists from the South became popular after 2000. They included the duo Outkast who combined Southern-soul grooves and riffs with clever, entertaining raps. […]
Midwestern artists also became popular at this time. Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, was surrounded by hip hop culture in the poor Detroit neighborhood in which he grew up. As a teenager he won local rapping competitions, one of the first white rappers to do so. His natural flow and the honesty and humour of his raps won over the crowds, but because he wasn't a gangsta rapper he couldn't get a record contract. After struggling for many years, he finally got a record deal. Nearly all of his albums have topped the charts worldwide and he's now one of the best-selling artists of all-time.
Another major artist from the Midwest is Chicago's Kanye West. In 2004 he released The College Dropout, the first of a series of chart-topping alternative hip hop albums that helped change the direction of hip hop music. Kanye and Eminem proved that rappers didn't have to make gangsta rap records to succeed, and alternative hip hop soon replaced gangsta rap as the genre's most popular style. […]
Since 2010, new styles of alternative hip hop and underground rap have been created by independent artists who've begun their careers by releasing free mixtapes and relying on Twitter, Facebook and other social media to build followings. Some of the best albums and mixtapes by these artists include Earl Sweatshirt's Doris, Chance the Rapper's mixtape Acid Rap, YG's My Krazy Life, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's Piñata, Run the Jewels' Run the Jewels 2, Young Thug & Bloody Jay's mixtape Black Portland and Kendrick Lamar's highly-praised album To Pimp a Butterfly.