Hip hop music embodies artistic elements and has a distinctly urban flavor. It also embraces social, political, and economic marginalization, often accompanied by gang-like violence. The movement started in the poorer Bronx borough of New York City, a harsher place to live in during the 1970s. However, the culture’s unique aesthetic drew attention and was embraced by many despite its negative connotations.
During the nineties, hip-hop music and culture grew in popularity. This reflected a social revolution – oppressed groups use music to voice their plight and rebel against oppressive conventions. It was also associated with street-wear. Fashion trends became more eccentric, and artists wore anything but jeans. This ethos has endured, and it has even spawned a sneaker culture.
In the late eighties and early nineties, hip-hop music became a mainstream genre, with the emergence of many high-profile rappers. The group RUN DMC, for example, incorporated hip hop with hard rock in its song “Walk This Way.” The song was an instant hit on MTV and radio, and its remixed version ft. Aerosmith featured prominently. Today, hip-hop has become a worldwide phenomenon.
The culture’s style is rooted in its origins in capping, which was a masked duo of two men competing for the microphone. Its name, “emcee,” is derived from the traditional acronym ‘MC’ – a master of ceremonies. The role of the MC was to hype the audience between a DJ’s songs and entice them to dance. Hip hop’s early days embraced DJing, graffiti writing, graffiti, and breakdancing, which is a highly athletic form of dance. Locking requires precise body movements, and is known as a “lock.”