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The American Heritage College Dictionary defines hip hop as, "The popular culture of big city and especially inner city youth, characterized by graffiti art, break dancing, and rap music-of or relating to this culture." Hip hop is a cultural phenomenon that developed in the late 1970's in the Brooklyn and the Bronx, and a musical style emerged from it. Hip hop has become a pervasive element of popular culture and there are hip hop exercise videos, children's books, adult books, magazines, magazine articles and theses devoted to it. Further, hip hop's roots are much older and its use of music from other genres is reflected in Renaissance parody masses. The roots of this phenomenon lie in Jamaica of the 1940's and by the 1960's trucks fitted with sound equipment started playing American rhythm & blues records, in street corners, for the listening pleasure of the people in the neighborhood.
Hip hop music, rap or rap music is a style of popular music, which consists of two main components, namely, rapping or MCing and DJing or audio mixing and scratching. Along with break dancing and graffiti or tagging, these compose the four elements of hip hop, a cultural movement that was initiated by inner-city youth, mainly the African Americans. This phenomenon was wide spread in the Farragut Projects in Brooklyn, NY. Some of the early DJs were Coxson Dodd, Prince Buster, Duke Reid, Maboya, Plummer and Kool DJ D who concentrated on disco music.
One of them was Kool Herc who had immigrated from Jamaica and settled in the Bronx with his sound system he called "the Herculords." Kool Herc focused on rhythm & blues and funk records and one of his innovations was to play just the "break," or the musical material between the verses of a song, over and over again. He achieved this effect by using two turntables mounted with the same record. This came to be called "break-beat deejaying." People began to perform "strange, acrobatic twisting dance routines" to these episodes that came to be called "break dances" (Stancell, 1996). Kool Herc hired MCs or master of ceremonies who had to keep up a light banter between the songs with the audience. This was the origin of "rapping." DJ Hollywood, one of the early MC's at Kool Herc's parties would use rhyming verses in his rap. One of these included the words "hip hop" "which much later were used interchangeably to define the music of rap and the culture of those who attended Kool Herc's parties(Stancell, 1996)."
Afrika Bambaata was another early figure in the rap and hip hop world. He participated in many competitions between DJs and MCs often termed as battles. In addition to rapping, these battles were decided on who had the more interesting collection of breaks to play.
Afrika Bambatta's breaks were drawn from many genres, including rock, rhythm & blues, mambo, German disco and calypso (Stancell, 1996). This practice of hip hop of incorporating existing sounds like recorded samples of music by other groups in addition to voices or ambient sounds led to lawsuits when the groups involved failed to credit their sources(Romanowsky and George - Warren, 1995). Another early