Many point to the origins of hip hop music starting in the Bronx, New York during the 1960s and 1970s. Kool Herc (real name: Clive Campbell) was a Jamaican residing in the Bronx and is accredited with founding the hip hop style. Considered a pioneer of the style, this Jamaican DJ created a style of reciting different rhymes over instrumentals.
Starting in the late 1970s, other hip hop artists entered into the scene, including Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay. They took hip hop music and expanded it by utilizing backbeats, as well as cutting and scratching. Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” was the first song recorded and released by a hip hop group and considered to be the very first hip hop release.
The Golden Age of Hip Hop
In 1985, the “Golden Age of Hip Hop” was introduced and was characterized by quality, influence, diversity, and innovation. Throughout hip hop, popular themes, such as Afrocentricity and political militancy were introduced. More emphasis was also put in experimentation in this musical genre. Public Enemy was one of the major faces of this period of hip hop music, along with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Jungle Brothers. As well in the 1980s, a hip hop was crossing many boundaries as many punk and new wave bands, including The Clash and Blondie, incorporated the styling of hip hop into their music. In a famous example, hip hop group Run-D.M.C. incorporated rock into their music with their performance of “Walk this Way” with Aerosmith.
Eventually females started to enter the genre with acts like Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, and Queen Latifa. They led the way for future female acts, including Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige.
Hip hop music still exists today with artists like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Nelly. However, it has moved away from the original message according to many leaders of this musical genre.