Hip-Hop Music Roots
Hip-hop is a global phenomenon that began in the early 1970s. With roots in the West and South Bronx, hip-hop was ushered in by legendary icons like DJ Cool Herc and Afrika Bambataa. With the fall of disco, early rap music used a combination of musical styles to create a new and burgeoning trend.From DJ Flowers in Brooklyn to Grandmaster Caz and Flash in the Bronx, rap music was the new sound on the streets and in the local clubs and discos. Groups like Cold Crush Brothers and Fantastic Freaks were among the forerunners and pioneers of this infectious music, which began to spread throughout the NYC boroughs and as far as the West Coast.
While the popularity of rap music was spreading across the country, the three elements of hip-hop continued to soar as well. This included graffiti, which was and still is considered the first and oldest element of hip-hop. Graffiti artists from both coasts were featured in award-winning documentaries and movies that chronicled the rise of hip-hop at the time. This included “All City”, “Bombin’”, “Beat This”, and of course, “Style Wars”. There was also “Beat Street”, “Breakin’”, and “Breakin’ and Entering”, which showcased the West Coast’s contribution to the hip-hop culture and styles. DJ Cool Herc popularized the method of “breaks”, which isolated a particular section on a song that was extended for several minutes on end.Boys and girls that danced to these breaks were called “B-Boys” and “B-Girls”, and helped give rise to the commercialized art form known as break dancing.
Hip-hop was a great way to keep kids away from the social ills that plagued the community. Instead of fighting or committing crimes, kids were able to channel their creativity and ingenuity by dancing, rapping, graffiti, and rhyming. Some of the earliest crews in hip-hop featured the Rock Steady Crew, along with The Floor Masters (New York City Breakers), Dynamic Rockers, Rockwell Association, and Zulu Kings. The earliest pioneers of this dance that would spread to all corners of the globe were Jimmy D, Jojo, Crazy Legs, Spy, Trac 2, Starchild LaRock, and countless others. On the West Coast, crews and dancers like “Shake City Rockers”, “Unique Dominoes”, “Midnight Breakers”, Shabba-Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp, and The World Famous L.A. Breakers (Disco Daddy) were taking the art form to new heights.
Today, the only element that continues to soar in global popularity is rap music. There have been several styles created out of rap over the years as well.