Each of the four elements also have a language, dress, music ND way of thinking, but they are much closer to each other than to other cultures. Nowadays because break dancing and graffiti have gone mainly underground the words ‘rap’ and ‘hip hop’ have been used Interchangeably, but it should be noted that all four elements of hip hop culture still exists. They’ve just evolved onto new levels. The first known example of what is now known as hip hop dance was in 1969, when Don Campbell became a well-known street dancer in Los Angels and invented a dance called “Campbell”.
Shortly after that, In 1970, HIP Hop “Grandfather” Africa Bumboat started to D]. Modern day rap music finds Its Immediate roots In the “toasting” (where they would compete to see who’s system was the loudest) and dub talk (or free styling) over elements of reggae music. In the early sass’s, a Jamaican DC Clive Campbell known as Cool Here moved from Kingston to Nay’s West Bronx. Here, he attempted to Incorporate his Jamaican style of D]along which Involved reciting improvised rhymes over the dub versions of his reggae records.
Unfortunately, New Yorkers weren’t into reggae at the time. So, Cool Here adapted his style by chanting over the instrumental or percussion sections of the day’s popular ones. Here pioneered the break beat movement by mixing short percussion breaks in the music. Because these musical breaks were relatively short, he had to devise a way to extend them indefinitely. Cool Here did this by using an audio mixer and two Identical records in which he continuously replaced the desired segment. This Is what Is soul used today by Do’s to create break beats, club mixes, and other forms of music.
In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day to the instrumental breaks. For example, it was fashionable or DC to acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party. These early raps featured someone such as Here shouting over the instrumental break; ‘You this Is Cool Here in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Mark D is in the house’. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to call out their own names and slogans in hopes that Here would identify them on the mimic.
As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as Days In an effort to be unique, began to Incorporate little rhymes-CO zee Is In the house/An she’ll turn it out without a doubt: It wasn’t long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as ‘rap’ but called ’emceeing’. With regards to Cool Here, as he progressed in his Decaying skills, he eventually turned and Clark Kent (not Dana Danes DC) handle the emceeing duties.
This was rap music first emcee team. Cool Here was known as the man with the strongest and loudest system in the hip hop world. His amp was a Macintosh, the most powerful amp of that time. His speakers were so loud he called them Hercules. Therefore, they became known as Cool Here and the Hercules. Present day teams include famous names such as “Run DAM”, “Rockefeller”, “Murder Inc. ” and “Cash Money Millionaires” and not so famous names such as “Kinetic Force Crew’ and “Scads”. Rap became popular because it offered young urban New Yorkers a chance to freely express themselves.
This was basically the same reason why any of the aforementioned verbal/rhyme games manifested themselves in the past. More importantly, it was an art form accessible to anyone. You didn’t need a lot of money r expensive resources to rhyme. You didn’t have to invest in lessons, rapping was a verbal skill that could be practiced and honed to perfection at almost anytime, through written rhymes, and simply free styling. Rap also became popular because it offered unlimited challenges. There was always someone out there better than you, someone you had to strive to beat.
There were no real set rules, except to be original and to rhyme on the beat of the music. Anything was possible. One could make up a rap about street wars or how good his DC was. The ultimate goal was to be perceived as being ‘deaf (good) by one’s peers. The fact that the praises and positive affirmations a rapper received were on par with any other urban hero (sports star, tough guy, comedian, etc. ) was another drawing card. These rappers didn’t have to be “tugged out” or athletic, Anyone can do it. Finally, rap, because of its inclusive aspects, allowed one to accurately and efficiently inject their personality.
If you were laid back, you could rap at a slow pace. If you were hyperactive or a type-A, you could rap at a fast pace. No two people rapped the same, even when reciting the same rhyme. There were many people who would try and emulate someone’s style, but even that was indicative off particular personality. Rap continues to be popular among today’s urban youth for the same reasons it was a draw in the early days: it is still an accessible form of self expression capable of eliciting positive affirmation from one’s peers.
Because rap has evolved to become such a big business centered around the ‘cash, money, cars, an who’s’ , it has given many the false illusion of being a quick escape from the harshness of inner city life. There are many kids out there under the belief that all they need to do is write a few ‘fresh’ (good) rhymes and they’re on their way to the good life. Throughout history, music originating from America’s Black communities has always had an accompanying subculture reflective of the political, social and economic conditions of the time and the people in the respective culture.
Some examples of this are Jazz, Reggae, and R&B. Rap is no different. Hip hop is the culture from which rap emerged. Hip hop continues to be a direct response to an older generation’s rejection of the values and needs of young people. Initially all of hip hop’s major facets were forms of self expression. The driving force behind all these activities was people’s desire to be seen and their choices heard. Hip hop came about because of some major format changes that took place within Black radio during the early ass’s.
Prior to hip hop, black radio stations (story teller). It reflected the customs and values of the day in particular communities. It set the tone and created the climate for which people governed their lives as this was a primary source of information and enjoyment. This was particularly true for young people. Interestingly enough, the importance of Black radio and the role Des played within the African American community has been the topic of numerous speeches from some very prominent individuals.
For example in August of ’67, Martin Luther King Jar. Addressed the Association of Television and Radio Broadcasters. Here he delivered an eloquent speech in which he let it be known that Black radio Des played an intricate part in helping keep the Civil Rights Movement alive. He noted that while television and newspapers were popular and often times more effective mediums, they rarely conveyed themselves so that Black people could relate to them. He basically said Black people were checking for the radio as their primary source of information.
In August of 1980 Minister Forsaken echoed those thoughts when he dressed a body of Black radio Des and programmers at the Jack The Rapper Convention. He warned them to be careful about what they let on the airwaves because of its impact. He spoke about the radio stations being instruments of mind control and how big companies were going out of their way to hire ‘undignified’ ‘foul’ and ‘dirty’ Des who were no longer conveying good information to the community. To paraphrase him, Forsaken noted that there was a fear of a dignified Des coming on the airwaves and spreading that dignity to the people he reached.
Hence the role radio was playing was beginning to shift Black radio Des were moving away from Ewing the grits; Black radio was no longer speaking the language of both a young and older generation so they could define and hear themselves reflected in this medium. In the early days rappers flowed on the mimic continuously for hours at a time non stop. Most of the rhymes were pre-written but it was a cardinal sin to recite Off piece of paper at a Jam. The early rappers started off Just giving shout outs and chants and later incorporated small limericks.
Later the rhymes became more elaborate, with choruses like ‘Yes Yes Hall, Or ‘One Two Hall To The Beat Hall being seed whenever an emcee needed to gather his wind or think of new rhymes. Most emcees rhymed on a four count as opposed to some of the complex patterns one hears today. However, early rappers took great pains to accomplish the art of showmanship. There was no grabbing of the crotch and prancing around the stage. Pioneering rapper Melee-Mel in an interview pointed out how he and other acts spent long hours rehearsing both their rhymes and routines.
The name of the game was to get props for rocking’ the house. That meant being entertaining. Back in the late ass early ass, artists weren’t doing one or two songs and leaving, they were on the mimic all eight long with folks Just standing around watching. Folks had to come with it or be forever disused. Before the first rap records were put out (Fat Back Band’s King Tem Ill’ and Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘Rapper Delight’), hip hop culture had gone through several stages. By the late ass’s it seemed like many facets of hip hop would play themselves out. Rap for so many people had lost its novelty.
For those who were considered the best of the bunch; Africa Bumboat, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Four (yes initially there were only 4), Grand Wizard Theodore ad the Fantastic Romantic Five, Funky Four Plus One More, Crash Crew, Master Don plateau. Many of these groups had moved from the ‘two turntables and a microphone stage’ of their career to what many would today consider hype routines. For example all the aforementioned groups had routines where they harmonize. At first folks would do rhymes to the tune of some popular song. The tune to ‘Sailing’s Island’ was often used.
Or as was the case with he Cold Crush Brothers, the ‘Cats In the Cradle’ was used in one of their more popular routines. As this ‘flavor of the month’ caught hold, the groups began to develop more elaborate routines. Most notable was GM Flash’s’ Flash Is to The Beat Box’. All this proceeded ‘harmonize/hip hop acts like Bell Bib Devotee by at least 10 years. The introduction of rap records in the early ass’s brought a new meaning on hip hop and took it to a whole new level. Emcees could make money, other than small amounts at local gigs, by free styling and rapping in general.
It provided participants a new level to reach. Rap records inspired hip hoppers to take it to another level because they now had the opportunity to let the whole world hear their tales not Just their block. It also offered a possible escape from the ghetto. Kids who never had a chance to get out of the projects, were given the opportunity to get out of the ghetto Just by writing rhymes. In the early days of hip hop, there were break dance crews who went around challenging each other. Many of these participants were former gang members who found a new decidedly less violent activity.
Bombast’s Universal Zulu Nation was one such group. As the scene grew, block parties became popular. It is interesting to note that the music being played during these gigs was stuff not being played on radio. Here James Brown, Sly & Family Stone, Gill Scott Heron and even the Last Poets found a home. Hence a younger generation began building Off musical tradition abandoned by its elders. Break beats picked up in popularity as emcees sought to rap longer at these parties. It wasn’t long before rappers became the ONLY vocal feature at these parties.
A microphone and two turntables was all one used in the beginning. With the exception of some break dancers the overwhelming majority of attendees stood around the roped off area and listened carefully to the emcee. A rapper sought to express himself while executing keen lyrical agility. This was defined by one’s rhyme style, one’s ability to rhyme on beat and the use of clever rod play and metaphors. The words ‘Break Boy and Break Girl’ originated from the Bronx of New York. Down at the Rosy, DC Cool Here would play the ‘breaks’ of songs.
Meaning, he would only play parts of the songs where it was beat only, no lyrics. This would excite the people to dance. So in turn girls and guys who danced to these ‘breaks’ were called ‘Break Boy and Break Girl’ or ‘B-Boy; B-Girl’ in short. Break dancing started with the James Brown’s 1969 “Get on the Good Foot”. When on stage James Brown would dance around with such energy and almost acrobatic moves, any people began mimicking his moves, so they called it the “Good Foot”. The ‘Good Foot’ was mainly dancing around that involved drops or spins on the floor. Thus, the beginning evolution of break dancing.
During the sass’s martial arts were also very popular, so B-Boys (for the most part) incorporated martial art stunts to ‘wow’ the crowds. This is how ‘Top Rocking’, ‘Up Rocking’ and battling started. Groups of teenagers would gather together and form ‘crews’ or groups of b-girls and b-boys that were affiliated with one another, similar to a gang; some of the most famous, Zulu Nation. To settle disputes crews would meet up and ‘Battle’. Usually a lot of Up Rocking and ‘Floor Works’ also known as ‘down rock or foot work. But most of the time these battles would cause more problems rather then solve them. Ground Work’ or ‘Floor Work’ was mainly the dancer shuffling around on the floor. These were the main aspects of Break Dancing until the Rock Steady Crew (RISC) came around. This crew along with Zulu nation were the ones to take Break Dancing to a new level. They introduced new moves such as the ‘Windmill’, ‘Flares’, and ‘sass’. These moves were taken from any number of places, from martial arts to floor gymnastics to African dance. Most of these moves came from Cafeteria, a Brazilian form of fighting which looks similar to Jumping high off of the ground an kicking/spinning, as well as gymnastics.
As of recently I have seen many fellow B-Girls bring ballet and modern dance to the floor. Break dancing is an art form, each b-girl and b-boy have their own unique style and way of approaching the dance. Breaking takes great dedication and energy as well as stamina. To be considered “fresh” or good one must combine “power” moves such as flares, windmills, and air tracks, with “style” moves such as razzes, foot work, and ass’s, perfectly while hitting the beats, and being aesthetically pleasing to watch. Some of the breakers that have managed to reach this level are, Crazy Legs, Asia One, and Loki.
There are also entire crews that have reached this level, and are respected world wide for their expertise in the field of breaking such as Circle of Fire and Rock Steady Crew. You may be wondering how these crews and individuals become world renowned for their breaking skills. Well, the answer is very simple. Large scale breaking competitions such as Battle of the Year. These are huge tattles held in enormous arenas where either by invite or by paying, crews from all over the world come to battle it out to see who is the best in the world.