The Rise and Evolution of Hip-Hop

In the mid to late 1970s Hip-Hop emerged from New York City, from the Black and Latino neighborhoods in the Bronx. Hip hop and rap have many important influences—R&B, funk, soul, jazz, rock and roll performers. A profound influence on rap music comes from what many might consider an unlikely source: the black church. Black preachers and clergy combined testimonials and parables in a way that engaged the audience and brought their sermons to life. Early hip hop incorporated elements of the party-based sound-system subculture popular at the time in Jamaica and brought to the Bronx by DJ Kool Herc from Kingston. Herc is also credited with popularizing the break-beat style of DJing. Instead of playing an entire record or song, Herc focused on the break, a section of the record where there was a drum or horn solo. Rap first came to national prominence in the United States with the release of the Sugarhill Gang’s song “Rappers Delight” (1979) on the independent African American-owned label Sugar Hill.

Hip-Hop's Main Influences

Old School

Old-school hip hop (also spelled old skool) is the earliest commercially recorded hip hop music. It typically refers to music created around 1979 to 1983.The image, styles and sounds of old-school hip hop were exemplified by figures like Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Treacherous Three, Funky Four Plus One, Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang, Melle Mel, Super-Wolf, West Street Mob Spoonie Gee, Kool Moe Dee, Busy Bee Starski, Lovebug Starski, The Cold Crush Brothers, Warp 9, T-Ski Valley, Grandmaster Caz, Doug E. Fresh, The Sequence, Jazzy Jay, Rock Steady Crew, and Fab Five Freddy. It is characterized by the simpler rapping techniques of the time and the general focus on party-related subject matter.


G-funk, or Gangsta-funk, is a subgenre of hip hop music that emerged from West Coast gangsta rap in the early 1990s. G-funk (which uses funk music with an artificially lowered tempo) incorporates multi-layered and melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, a deep bass, background female vocals, the extensive sampling of P-funk tunes, and a high portamento sine wave keyboard lead. The lyrical content consisted of sex, drugs, violence, and women. There was also a slurred  “lazy” way of rapping in order to clarify words and stay in rhythmic cadence.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta rap, a form of hip-hop music that became the genre’s dominant style in the 1990s, a reflection and product of the often violent lifestyle of American inner cities afflicted with poverty and the dangers of drug use and drug dealing. The romanticization of the outlaw at the centre of much gangsta rap appealed to rebellious suburbanites as well as to those who had firsthand experience of the harsh realities of the ghetto.


Defined by a steady tempo ranging from 95 to 105 beats per minute, heavy brass band beats, and Mardi Gras Indian chants and call-and-response routines, this indigenous music trend is part of New Orleans’ traditions and embedded in the fabric of the city’s diverse communities.The Triggerman beat, also known as Triggaman, is a 1-bar drum loop that somewhat originated from “Drag Rap” by The Showboys. The 1-bar drum loop was known to be used in bounce music and the use of the beat makes the distinction from regular hip-hop to bounce music.

Mumble Rap

The term implies a mumbling or unclear vocal delivery by artists in contrast to more traditionally direct styles of rapping, and may generally refer to rappers who do not put typical emphasis on lyricism.

Conscious Hip-Hop

Political hip hop is a subgenre of hip hop music that was developed in the 1980s as a way of turning rap music into a call for political and/or social action and a form of social activism.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

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