My idols are from the Ol Skool era and way too many to mention, so I wanted to share that love with you in the brief story of Rap/HipHop that I grew up with. There is nothing really set in stone as to how Rap began or when, it's thought that it has it's roots firmly planted in African soil where they would chant or tell stories with nothing but the beat of a drum. It was spoken word, poetry, Rap is about talking rhythmically to a beat.
However it didn't burst onto the main scene until the late 70's when a band called "The Sugarhill Gang" released their awesome hit "Rappers Delight" which is also thought to be the first recorded track that created the term "Hip-Hop" I love the spirit and energy of this live performance around 95.
Some people aren't aware that Rap and Hip-Hop are two separate genres. Sure they're often mixed in together but Hip-Hop is a whole culture of its own and made up of 4 distinctive elements that create a total body experience:
Rap ( Oral, Spoken, Word)
Djing ( Aural, Of the ears)
Breakdance ( Physical)
Graffiti ( Visual)
For some there's no divide, while for others the separation is very important, so just because someone loves Rap don't assume they love Hip-Hop and vice versa.The term Hip-Hop wasn't used until the late 70's but the origin stemmed from block parties in the South Bronx held by "The Ghettobrothers" a Latino gang and music group who used to plug the amps for their instruments into lamposts on 163rd street & Prospect Ave to showcase their talent.
Soon others were having their own Block parties and a Dj by the name of Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgewick Ave would mix samples from existing records and give his own shout outs to the crowd over the top and it was the "Back To School Jam Party" on August 11th 1973 that has become the Birthday Of Hip-Hop. Dj Kool Herc is credited as the father of Hip-Hop,While Dj Africa Bambaataa is credited for forming it's structure, with terms such as Djing, MCing, B-Boying and Graffiti.
Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins a member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is credited with coining the phrase "Hip-Hop". The story goes that he was teasing a friend who had just joined the USA army by scatting hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop as if mimicking a marching soldier, but he ended up using it in his own performances. One of my all time favourite tracks is the groups "The Message" because for the time, it really had something to say.
The group would often perform with Disco artists who would refer to this new type of Music by calling them "Hip Hoppers" the name was initially meant as a sign of disrespect but soon came to represent a new type of genre and culture. It was then used by the Sugarhill gang on their track "Rappers Delight" where it starts: " I said a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip hip hop and you don't stop" etc.
Then a Bronx Dj called LoveBug Starski released a track called "Positive Life" using the word "Hip-Hop" and then DJ Hollywood began using the word to describe this new type of Disco rap music. By the late 1970's the culture had gained media attention with Billboard magazine printing an article. Debbie Harry of band "Blondie" took Niles Rogers from band "Chic" to an event because the main backing track was the break from Chics "Good Tiimes". The new style influenced Debbie, an although they were labelled a New Wave band, in 1981 Blondie released "Rapture" a track that saw Debbie adding in a rap. It became the first major single to feature elements of Hip=Hop by a white band/artist to hit number one of U.S.A Billboard Hot 100 and took the culture and genre to a whole new audience.
The 80's saw a huge emergence in Hip-Hop in the mainstream and artists taking it to another level . In 1982 Africa Bambaataa released electro funk track "Planet Rock" and they just kept on coming with Run DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and way too many to mention here, but it was Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five "The Message" that was widely considered to be the pioneering force for Concious Hip-Hop.
When it comes to the history of anything it's gonna be a bit like religion, everyone's gonna have their take on how it was, and who did what? There are those that say they had a part in Hip-Hops birth but have been left out, and I believe that could be true? There are those who say someone else has taken credit for the part they played in it's history and I believe that also could be true?
There are also many styles of Hip-Hop and arguments and debates that will rage on for sure as to what is right? Some believe Hip-Hop originated in Jamaica not the Bronx, others believe that Electro Funk & Electro Hip-Hop weren't Hip-Hop at all
Personally I prefer to make music and listen to it without labels. What really matters at the end of the day is your own truth on the subject, while still respecting others. Over the decades I believe the genre has badly lost it's way. There is so much Injustice in this world, and we have young brothers and sisters killing each other out on the street and yet in alot of cases those in a position to stand up and make a difference are too busy putting their name to trainers and appearing on reality TV?
Too many artists, male and female think they're bigger than Hip-Hop, but that's not the case. We need to remember why the genre was gifted us? It came into existence so that we can tell our truth, tell our stories and make a positive difference whenever the opportunity arises, It's important for the future of the genre and the younger generations taking it forward.