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BHN Insider: Here's a review of hip-hop history, celebrating 50 years

The ever-evolving uniqueness of hip-hop music had its humble beginnings with young adults and teenagers


In the South Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s, the genre music of hip-hop originated from the pure Black experience of life—expressed poetically through the words of the viewer., known as the “rapper.”

Rap music existed in these impoverished neighborhoods of New York without the mainstream cameras watching for several years. At the time, the music was only noticeable to people who were living the real-life experience like the rapper or could relate to it. Moreover, they were moved by the audacious beats at these neighborhood block parties, entertaining the pre-teen and teenaged crowds.


Hip hop music was not officially recorded for play on radio or television until 1979, largely due to poverty during the genre's birth and lack of acceptance outside of these neighborhoods.

The rhythmic music built around drumbeats would often accompany rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted to the beat—this is also known as hip-hop.


Professor Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is a leading figure in the fields of African American and African studies; he is a professor in the Department of Africology at Temple University, where he founded the PhD program in African-American Studies in 1988, and he is also the president of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies.Dr. Asante has published over 74 books.

According to Dr. Asante, "hip hop is something that blacks can unequivocally claim as their own.” It was developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti art.Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records (or synthesized beats and sounds), and rhythmic beatboxing. While often used to refer solely to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture.

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