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The Birth of Hip-Hop

Josh Ballou
The Broadside

“Are, you, ready!” Hip-Hop is a cultural phenomenon that can not be denied.

In the early ‘80s when Hip-Hop went from the block parties and streets of NYC to living rooms all across America, most critics dismissed this budding art form.

Run D.M.C is one of Hip-Hop’s premiere groups and they really helped propel Hip-Hop to the mainstream by pairing the rhymes and break beats that were becoming the defining sound of the this genre and time with rock ‘n’ roll to make it more acceptable for the masses.

This was most notably recognized when they teamed up with ‘70s rock legends, Aerosmith to remake “Walk This Way.” Hip-Hop would never be the same.

Still criticized and berated by the mainstream media for most of the ‘80s, Hip-Hop survived and began to flourish.

It started to become a huge part of the pop culture.

Influencing fashion, film, language, dance and so much more, Hip-Hop began to prove its power to advertisers.

Once corporate America saw dollar signs the shelf life for this new form of expression was extended indefinitely.

Like it or not, Hip-Hop is here to stay and for good reason.

Hip-Hop took poetry and made it tangible to kids from the inner city by pairing it up with simple break beats and/or sampling from past classics.

Sampling is one of the most celebrated stains on the culture; it got an extremely bad rap but in reality was/is a way for artists to pay homage to the songs that influenced their artistry.

Everyone has used samples from Rob Base to P. Diddy.

Early Hip-Hop sampled disco classics, then rock, always attempting to make a connection with a wider audience.

As the genre came into its own you saw artists sample jazz greats, soul classics, rock, country and everything in between.

If you listen to and read the credits on most albums from the late ‘80s, it is a musical history lesson; one that enhanced my love for multiple types of music.

That kind of history lesson wasn’t really available in other genres unless an artist remade a song, not as interesting.

Samples gave you “the best parts” of these oldies and incorporated them with beats that appealed to the youth of the time.

I can’t lie or pretend that Hip-Hop hasn’t been a major influence in my life, but now I think everyone can say the same thing because it is everywhere.

It has now become a major influence in society and it’s everywhere you look.

Hip-hop may not be for everyone but the impact it has made on our culture in the last 30 years is something that can’t be denied.

Josh Ballou can be reached at Jballou@cocc.edu
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