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Hip-Hop Culture - Essay Example

In Jamaica, things were different, the DJ was the King of the sound system, and he determined the overall flow of the party and cooperated with street poets or recited himself.
The source of information for the black community before hip-hop appeared were the black broadcasting stations as they lived the same life as the people in ghettos, discussing their fights and problems, playing their favorite music and making people feel 'at home.' This was before the beginning of the 1970s when the black broadcasting stations started being commercialized, and playing white disco. That is when hip-hop was born.
Hip-hop culture is a wider notion than rap music, as it also includes, for example, break dance. However, the emergence of rap is by right considered the biggest breakthrough of the hip-hop culture. At the beginning, Disco Jockeys (or Masters of Ceremonies, as they were now called) started to talk to the dancing crowds during break dancing. This reminded Jamaican tradition of reggae. At first very simple phrases were used, then short verses appeared, and at the end the fantasy of the street poets was unleashed!
Hip-hop consisted of 'freestyling,' where a rapper came up with lyrics to the DJs music, on the spot. The lyrics usually contained explicit language. The versus showed hatred, violence, and feelings of power. The rappers competed against each other reciting their lyrics, which were against each other, and their families. For examples, rappers recited lyrics against each others mothers, sisters, and other family members. Lyrics also contained ill-language, and spoke of violence and murders.
Before the advent of freestyling, Afro-American people had an old rooted tradition of "rap-like" competitions in the forms of the so called "dozens" and "signifying" (sometimes called "talking shits"). The competitions were normally conducted by teenagers, and the goal was to improvise a clear and rhythmical verse created according to strictly set canons, and this text consisted of three quatrains (hence the name "dozens"). The two competitors had to exchange "dozens" in an increasingly fastening rate until one of them gave up.
The goal of these "dozens" was to insult the competitor. The first quatrain was devoted to proclaiming the improviser's own virtues (obviously with huge exaggerations); the second one was full of contempt towards the competitor; and the third and the following ones told about the improviser's alleged raping of his competitor's mother, her physiology and other details, and about the events in the black community.
This competition could go on for hours! And if the winner could not be determined for a long period of time, the competitors simply fought with each other, being helped by their buff. "Signifying" differed from "dozens" by the freedom of improvisation, the use of syncopation, complicated versification and virtuosic alliteration, whereas their meaning and goal were pretty much the same.

This tradition of these "dozens" is probably rooted in traditional for many nations fights for dominance and ...Show more


The history of hip-hop culture began as early as in 1969 in South Bronx - the black ghetto of New York. The term 'hip-hop,' was coined much later, when the growing culture gained a lot of popularity and needed its own name. Hip-hop was born under the influence of traditional Jamaican street dancing, where the Disco Jockey (DJ) puts on the records with reggae and the poets recite their verses to this music…
Author : chelseyziemann
Hip-Hop Culture
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