“I said-a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie, To the hip hip hop-a you don’t stop the rock…”

The lyrics in the title come from “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. It was the first rap single to become a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in 1979. The Sugarhill Gang consisted of three members: Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. New York City birthed Hip Hop and these men named their group after the Sugarhill neighborhood in Harlem. The song encapsulates the essence of hip hop, and rap music specifically, with its use of rhythm, the art of verbal musical expression, and rapping. 

Rap pulls from the verbal and cultural traditions of African Americans and other groups of African descent, most notably Jamaican. African American radio personalities of the 1940s and 1950s used a talking style known as “jive-talking” that included bragging, playing the dozens, along with common cadences that Black people use in speech. 

What made hip hop so popular was and is its ability to impress or persuade the listener. Just about every culture participates in this genre now and people are able to showcase their points through music that makes you want to bust a move. When hip hop began to get popular in the 70s, many older Black people shunned it due to its rawness. It was not broadly accepted for quite some time. Regardless, without hip hop music and the strides that its made, the list of music genres would not be as expansive as it is.


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