Hip Hop culture started among the youth in the Bronx, New York in the 1970’s as a way to escape inner-city gang violence. They embodied Hip Hop in the way they dressed, talked, danced, and expressed themselves. Hip Hop was a way of life that revolved around creativity, identity, and respect.
KRS-One defines the etymology of “Hip Hop” in this lecture below.
Basically, “Hip” = present “Hop”= action.
It is a movement that represents the youth and the freedom to learn, grow, and evolve. But for you to be Hip Hop you must actively participate in the culture.
The four main elements of Hip Hop culture are Deejaying (music), emceeing (rapping), graffiti (writing / art), and breaking (dance).
Wanna know how Hip Hop Dance started… in two words?
Photo by The Guardian
DJ Kool Herc, AKA the “Father of Hip Hop,” would start block parties at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the West Bronx, AKA the “birthplace of Hip Hop.” Kool Herc would simply play music and invite the community to come out.
During these get-togethers, he noticed that people got the most hype during the breakbeat of a song. The breakbeat is the instrumental, percussive section in funk and R&B records.
To extend the breakbeat for a longer time, Kool Herc isolated the section and used two turntables to replay them continuously on a loop. (Price 165) Longer breakbeats = more time to go off!
Grandmaster Flash further innovated the art of DJing by using his headphones to pinpoint exactly where the beats started and ended. This allowed him to “precue” the beats and make seamless transitions between the breaks. (Price 156)
Afrika Bambaataa also expanded turntabling techniques. By the late 1970s, they and other DJs were regularly partying it up on the streets – spinning, scratching, cutting, mixing for the partiers.
Photo by Voices of East Anglia
Breaking, later known as breakdancing, was born through these parties.
“The intertwined nature of the DJs and MCs trying to keep the dancers moving on the dance floor with innovations in music as well as the efforts of the dancers to “one up’ each other contributed to flexible and organic creativity.” (Dimitriadis 181)
Herc called these dancers break boys (b-boys) and (to continue ready please visit Steezy here…)