Hip Hop is not only music. It is a whole youth culture coming from the black inner New York city ghetto and characterized by its rebelliousness – a spirit of a people being expressed musically. LL Cool J described hip hop as “an attitude. It was a vibe that began in the ghetto and spread across the inner city. It began with the music and embraced clothes, art, film, dance… everything”. Break dancing and graffiti are said to be physical manifestation of hip-hop.
In its basic musical form, hip hop takes existing music – beats, breaks, hooks – and recuts them into something with hard rhythm, exciting, and tailor-made for the post 70’s disco generation of party teenagers. The style consists of simple melodic hacking backed by a more intricate bass-and-drum rhythm section. The vocals add another rhythmical dimension to the overall sound.
Although hip hop retains the same basic sound since its late 70’s early 80’s beginnings – a rhythmic style of speaking called rap over backing beats performed on a turntable by a DJ, new artists are able to inject something fresh. Every time it threatens to fall into the mainstream commercial wayside, it manages to evolve into something rebellious and edgy. In the 1990s, a form called gangsta rap caused significant controversy over lyrics which were perceived by some as promoting violence, promiscuity, drug use and misogyny.
Other styles of hip hop include British, Old School, Golden Age, Political, and Alternative.
Public Enemy "Fight The Power"
Below is a list of top hip-hop albums of definitive rap and hip hop albums:
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