Hip Hop Research


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Hip Hop Research

  1. 1. Hip-Hop Research <br />By Daniel Mija, Anita, Ravi and Megan <br />
  2. 2. What Hip Hop Music Is <br /> Rap, hip hop – two names for the same genre. No matter what name is used for this music genre, the style is what is important. Hip Hop music is generally focused around one or more rappers who are telling their story. Storytelling is the foundation of hip hop music. To tell the story in an entertaining way, rappers use the same techniques as successful poets, utilizing alliteration, assonance, and rhyme to carry the message to the audience. In addition, rappers also use accompanying instrumentals, which is referred to as the “beat”. The beat is a key part of hip hop music – many failed hip hop artists are usually remembered for not having the right “beat” to go with their story. The beat is generally consistent, and lasts the entire song. Of course, many rappers have deviated from this formula, choosing to switch up beats to add even more variety. The beat truly is important – many newcomers to the hip hop music scene will get attached to songs they hear based on the “beat” the rapper has decided to use in a song. Even those that have been listening to rap music for a long time will still weight the beat of a song very heavy in determining the worth of a song. That means that for some people, the beat that a rapper chooses to use when making a new hip hop song determines whether or not it&apos;s a good song. A beat can make or break a song in other ways – if a rapper uses too many “old school” beats, they are bound to get criticized for it, and told to be more original. The key to making hip hop music work is to find a beat that truly makes the story both entertaining and original.<br />
  3. 3. What Hip Hop Music Isn&apos;t<br /> Hip hop music is often confused with R&B, and soul. While these external genres have influenced and inspired hip hop, there is more to rap than this. In fact, to truly understand what isn&apos;t hip hop music, more explanation on the unique characteristics of hip hop music must be explained. Hip hop music is comprised of rapping, which is a quick delivery of clever, rhythmic vocals, and DJing, which is the musical composition. Rappers create varied instrumentals by sampling music, using turntables (to create a “scratch” effect), beatboxing, or using live instruments. Beatboxing is the art of creating beats, rhythms, and even melodies using just the mouth. Beatboxing can be pretty complex, ranging into singing, vocal scratching, and the simulation of horns, strings, and many other musical instruments. Rappers get creative in order to replicate so many different sound effects. The beat behind the rapper is done almost always in 4/4 time. However, it is not done in a straightforward manner; instead, the beat flows in a laid back way. The technique is also found in soul, disco, and funk music. The beat is generally kept relatively consistent throughout the entire song. <br />
  4. 4. Origins of Hip Hop Music <br /> Hip hop music originated in the mid 70&apos;s. It became a part of modern pop culture in the late &apos;80s. Its stylistic and cultural origins are rooted in Jamaica, where it was apart of dancehall toasting alongside R&B, disco, and funk. Hip hop music then wasn&apos;t standalone, but blended into the dance scene with everything else. Culturally speaking, hip hop music started in the late 60s and early 70s in Kingston, Jamaica. In the early 70s, rap came to the United States, mainly in the South Bronx of New York City. At that time, rap music was primarily part of African American and Latino culture only. Hip hop culture is divided into segments – rapping, dancing, DJing, and art. Hip hop culture started as an inner-city youth cultural movement, and it still has those roots today. The artists credited with bringing rap music to the masses are KoolHerc, DJ Hollywood, and AfrikaBambaataa. These were artists who were either first or second generation Caribbean-Americans. This reflects where rap music comes from – Jamaica. KoolHerc and DJ Hollywood are credited with introducing the unique Jamaican feel of rap music into the musical culture of the South Bronx. KoolHerc turned the turntable into a musical instrument, cutting and mixing songs with skill. KoolHerc threw parties so people that couldn&apos;t make rap music themselves could come and listen to him. Many recorded the music from these parties and spread them like wildfire through the community. This method of throwing parties, inviting the community, and lettting them distribute the new sound is the main reason why hip hop music spread so quickly. Many people who didn&apos;t even know of the origin of hip hop music and therefore had never been exposed to it previously liked the new sounds and creativity displayed. <br />
  5. 5. Hip Hop Music&apos;s Influence Globally<br /> Hip hop music isn&apos;t just an American phenomenon – it has inspired many offshoots around the world. Hip hop music wasn&apos;t known to the rest of the world until the 1980&apos;s. Hip hop music can be found in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In Asia, rap music serves to combat prevailing, conventional pop culture music. Asian rappers focus on having a very distinct style, while maintaining national pride. In the Middle East, rappers of all ethnicities battle each other, mixing in their creativity with their unique environment. In Europe, rap became popular in the early 1980s and still remains popular today. Like Asia and the Middle East, European rappers mix in their own cultural and social traditions into the music. Latin America is one of the biggest places for hip hop music. In Puerto Rico for example, there is a branch of hip hop music known as reggaeton, which is quite popular. In the Dominican Republic there is merenrap, which is a mix of hip hop and merengue. Latin American hip hop music tends to be very upbeat and focuses on a good fusion of fast raps and heavy beats. In Africa, hip hop is still respected, though it has spun into new, distinctive subgenres, such as kwela, a mixture of South African house and hip hop music. Other subgenres include the Senegalese mbalax, taarab, filmi, and the Congolese Makoma. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have their own rap scenes as well, with a distinct national, cultural, and social overtone that is very unique to the three geographic areas.<br />
  6. 6. Best Places to Find Hip Hop Music <br /> Hip hop music&apos;s goal has always been to get a personal message out to as many people as possible. That said, a great place to find hip hop music is to go to other people around you that are listening to it. This method of sharing music has led to the exposure of many artists, not just hip hop artists. If you have a friend that listens to a lot of hip hop music, you stand likely to get a realistic, honest review of what&apos;s good, what&apos;s bad, and what&apos;s new in hip hop music. In addition, your friend will also be able to share something special with you. However, if you don&apos;t have a hip hop savvy friend, there are plenty of stores that sell hip hop music. There are many stores, both online and offline, that cater to hip hop music fans. Even big discount stores such as WalMart carry hip hop artists. The Internet is a rich source of information on hip hop music. Many sites on the web have detailed information on old and new rappers alike, including discography, lyrics, pictures, videos, and even merchandise. For those that aren&apos;t big into the online scene, the best place to get into hip hop music are nightclubs, event centers or concert halls, or even a school park. Many teenagers stage informed freestyle rap battles, where aspiring rappers can match wits against one another in front of a crowd. Nightclubs, bars, and event centers may have various rap acts touring, so it pays to keep an eye on events in your city. Hip hop music is everywhere – even on television. There is even a channel devoted to hip hop music, called BET – Black Entertainment Television. This channel usually provides the latest news on new rappers coming into the scene, and even does special shows on old rappers that have left an impact. Radio isn&apos;t free of hip hop either – even stations that play a variety of music will inevitably play many hip hop songs. Listening to a radio station that plays hip hop music is a great way to get exposed what&apos;s out there, as radio stations serve as a big advertising tool for rappers.<br />
  7. 7. Who Listens to Hip Hop Music <br /> Just as hip hop music is everywhere, many people from all walks of life listen to hip hop music. This may sound surprising, as a common view is that hip hop music is only for African Americans and Hispanic people. In the United States, it is thought that over 70% of rap music is bought by non African Americans. Those that listen to rap music aren&apos;t even confined to American inner cities – many live in well-to-do suburbs and towns. Everyone from those living in Hawaii to those living in Iceland listen to rap music. Hip hop music is a popular form of music worldwide, and as time goes by, has only grown in popularity. Each region has made hip hop unique to their environment, but the fact remains that many people listen to hip hop music, not just a select few. Most rappers from one area will try to tour in other areas, to get people exposed to their music. For example, many American rappers often take tours in Europe and other regions, as their fans are all over the world. In other cases, it may be to try to get those fans in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and beyond exposed to what message they have to give. <br />
  8. 8. Controversies of Hip Hop Music <br /> Hip hop music isn&apos;t without problems. Many hip hop entertainers have been involved in acts of violence, including murder, arson, and drug use. The mere fact that a lot of hip hop artists, especially those involved in the gangsta rap subgenre, glorify alcohol and drug usage, mass spending, violence towards women, and fighting, exposes these entertainers to increased visibility to law enforcement. While many entertainers are merely talking, not committing these crimes, many fans buy into the fantasy that in order to get ahead in life, you have to fight your way to the top – literally. In recent times, especially in the United States, many clubs, event centers, and concert halls have banned certain rappers from appearing. In Las Vegas, many places that used to welcome rap entertainers have now closed their doors to them, citing the big crowds and riots that follow rappers&apos; performances. The owners of the venues say that in order to protect the safety of their guests, banning rappers from performing is the easiest way of accomplishing this. In the United States, there are fears for women in the rap music industry. Women that dance in music videos have been assaulted and attacked in the past, leading to growing criticism about rap music. Many rappers, such as Sean “P. Diddy” Combs have fought these claims, saying that he himself has the utmost respect for women. Although Mr. Combs attempts to downplay the fears for women, it does not take away the lyrical evidence of violence towards women. Many of the explicit lyrics rappers say on the mic are negative towards women, calling them names and making sexual overtures towards them. That doesn&apos;t stop many women from listening to hip hop music, nor does it stop supporters backing the hip hop artists. <br />
  9. 9. Future of Hip Hop Music <br /> Hip Hop music is here to stay – every year hip hop music gains more popularity. Television channels that used to never play too much hip hop, such as VH1 and MTV, have now adopted a far more urban style than some would like. Many artists who aren&apos;t in the hip hop genre still borrow from it, including Justin Timberlake and other pop artists. Gaining crossover success seems to be the new goal, with even hip hop artists taking from other genres to create unique songs for their fans. For example, Jay-Z and Linkin Park came together to make an album called &apos;Collision Course&apos; that was very popular. It was a mixture of rock and rap music. While some of the claims that opponents of hip hop music cite could be valid, those arguments have not slowed down the waves of people going to see hip hop artists perform, or those that go to the music store near them to purchase their music, nor has it ceased the record number of hip hop music sites on the Internet. No matter what side of the argument you take, the impact of hip hop music on our society, even our world cannot be ignored. The very nature of hip hop music – the encouragement to artists to create, mix, and sample – is appealing to many people, especially young people looking for an identity within a group. From the United States to Japan, creative artists are sampling, mixing, and beatboxing their way into a genre that accepts all who have a story to tell. <br />
  10. 10. Hip Hop Music - Overview<br /> Hip hop music, like any other genre of music, has dramatically changed our society. Hip hop music has influenced the way we interact with each other, how we eat and drink, and even our perception of success. Hip Hop music – also called rap music -- defies normal conventions in music, altering what we think is right to create an upbeat, gritty style that continues to gain popularity even today. Hip hop music isn&apos;t exempt from the criticisms other genres face. Concerned members of society have often expressed disgust over explicit lyrics that revolve around sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence. Supporters of hip hop music flip this argument around, saying that hip hop music has to be that way; it is a reflection of the harsh environment that the rapper has overcome. Toning down the lyrics would take away the reality that the rapper has gone through and overcome, therefore insulting him or her. Neither side of this debate has come to an agreement. For those that produce hip hop music, the music is their way of communicating a message. For those that listen to hip hop music, it is both an escape from their lives, and a dream – many hip hop songs represent success, overcoming adversity, and ultimate survival. Even if the listener has not gone through what the rapper has, they can still respect what the rapper is saying. In essence, hip hop music has also become a telescope into a culture that many would never see without the rappers lighting the way. However, there is much more to hip hop music than meets the eye. <br />