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  • Writer's pictureAndy Przybyla

Hip Hop - Misunderstood Music

Hip Hop music has been with us since the 1970's and is easily the most controversial and misunderstood types of music in the modern day portfolio. Which is a huge shame as a good proportion of it is very good and has a huge following.

So what puts people off? I think there are a few assumptions that send people fleeing to the hills when they hear the term Hip Hop used, starting with its links to sex, violence and drugs. it's also heavily linked to Black Americans and even today there is still a lot of prejudice towards this section of humanity.

Then we can add in that some performers think because Hip Hop music is not sung that its a bit of a cop out and the acts can get away with not being trained vocalists. The counter argument is that although they don't sing, rapping, skatting, beatboxing etc are all vocal skills that require talent.

Hip Hop started with a great bunch of guys who probably had no vision it would go in the direction it did. Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Lovebug Starski, DJ Hollywood, the Sugarhill Gang all played a part in the early days creating great songs with no agenda bar using rap to entertain.

Another thing that linked the music was the turntablism and using sample from existing great songs. The frontmen were referred to as MC's, the master of ceremonies due to the fact they spoke through the song. DJs like the Grand Wizzard Theodore, Jazzy Jay and Grandmaster Flash took scratching and cutting to a whole new level often using a few funk songs as donors to new tracks.

In the 1990's the emergence of Gangsta Rap was probably the turning point for the image of Hip Hop. Talk of "capping" people, disrespect for the law, references to gangs etc. The young Black Americans who had grown up with Hip Hop wanted to put their own stamp on it and make a few bucks while they were at it. Rap battles increase where rappers would put throw downs on each other in front of large crowds.

As well as rapping break dance evolved and took to the street with body popping, b-boying, robotic dancing and a whole array of flips and spins were used in dance offs on the street or in the club. Now there aren't many other styles of music that create new dances and vocal styles and very few that do both.

Another reason Hip Hop became so big was the cost of the technology. Samplers and Drum machines were much easier to buy and use than full recording studios. The great Blackout of 1977 saw mass looting and a lot of DJ and music shops were hit. For many crime certainly paid and Hip Hop broke out of the Bronx shortly after this event.

These days we have Old School, New School, East Coast, West Coast, Gangsta Rap, Golden Age, Freestyle Rap, Mumble Rap, Crunk and Snap, Wonky, Glitch Hop... the list is quite extensive but it was in the 1980s that Hip Hop made it to mainstream. Mainly on independent record labels but Bands like Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and even Blondie put rap in the charts.

More and more kept coming, Cypress Hill, Rock Steady Crew, and solo artists like LL Cool J and Kurtis Blow. This new school second wave of Hip Hop is where the aggression started to creep in - the ghetto had a voice now. It wasn't all like this and bands such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and D Mob (who were mixing hip hop and house music) gave us hits that could be aired on the radio.

But it seemed for every group trying to make mainstream hits there were twice as many trying to make it about strife. NWAs emergency mid 80's would see Hip Hop make it big for a lot of the wrong reasons. Ice Cube and Dr Dre went on to have massive careers and help put dozens of other rappers to make it big.

The 1990s would see Hip Hop make the news for all the wrong reasons with the rivalry between East coast and West coast and the killings of huge rappers Tupac and Biggie Smalls (The Notorious BIG). From the ashes Death Row records gave us acts like Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer and 213. Aftermath Entertainment would give us Eminem, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and The Game.

MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice and not long after Will Smith brought rapping back to the mainstream chart with hits for the masses like U Can't Touch This, Ice Ice Baby and Summertime.

In the 2000s alternative Hip Hop saw a resurgence and we got another raft of new performers including Jay-Z, Oukast, Nelly, Kanye West. 2005 saw the death of Hip Hop with a huge 44% decline in sales, it seemed young America had found a new favourite.

So does Hip Hip have a place in the modern day Disco? It's a yes-but... I try to keep it mainstream and moderate

I limit the amount of tracks played unless its a younger crowd who are enjoying it

Hip Hop is still going strong and if you've never really listened you should give it a try. here is a list for you to work through.

Some of my favourite Hip Hop songs since 1979

Sugar Hill Gang - Rappers Delight Grandmaster Flash - The Message

Run DMC - Its Like That

Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh - The Show

NWA - Straight outta Compton

Public Enemy - Fight the Power

A Tribe Called Quest - Can you Kick It

Cypress Hill - Insane in the Brain

Wu-Tang Clan - CREAM

Notorious BIG - Juicy

Heavy D and the Mob - Now That We Found Love

Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby

2 Pac - California Love

Dr Dre - Still DRE

MOP (Feat Busta Rhymes) - Ante Up

NAS - Got Yaself a Gun

Eminem - Lose Yourself

50 Cent - In Da Club

Terror Squad - Lean Back

The Game - Hate it or Love it

Kanye West - Stronger

Jay Z - Empire State of Mind

Flor Rida - Low

Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On

Kris Kross - Jump

Warren G and Nate Dogg - Regulate

House of Pain - Jump Around

Black Sheep - The Choice is Yours

Outkast - Ms Jackson

Naughty by Nature - OPP

De La Soul - Me Myself and I

Coolio - Gangsters Paradise

If you're looking for a DJ who can bring the best Hip Hop vibe to your party get in touch, I'm taking booking for 2020/21 currently.

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