Often times when people hear about Hip Hop/Rap music, they’ll paint a picture in their heads of black men cussing, guns, marijuana, lots of gold, and girls looking like prostitutes. Parents and teachers put an image in their kid’s head that Rap music is “bad”, and they don’t want their kids to be influenced by something that is negative. With the way Rap music is advertised in the US, I would have to agree with that looking at it from an average parent’s point of view. But what people don’t know is that Hip Hop isn’t just a type of music, it’s a culture. It’s a culture full of original elements, and it’s also a place where people can show others what they’ve got and who they are. Within this original society called Hip Hop, there are basically four main elements of MC, Break, Tag, and DJ. And each is represented by millions of people all over the globe. When the four come together, it makes Hip Hop music, and people live the music instead of listening to it.
MC-ing is what people know as rapping. The main point of an MC is to make your crowd enjoy your music, and to send a message out to them. Unlike most of the lyrics out on the market today, Hip Hop contains meaning and it sends a message to the listeners. Although those messages might have bad words, and show images of things that are socially wrong, that’s actually what’s going on where they are from, and that’s who they are. Their music represents their area and their people, and it’s no different from a farmer singing about his cows and chickens in Idaho. Besides, “Gangster Rap” isn ’t the only type of Hip Hop music, it’s actually only a small sect of it all.
Many rappers put out lyrics about what they believe in, their own philosophies, entertaining others, and although it may seem unlikely, many lyricists seem like Einstein to me. Just like all of the other geniuses like Newton, Galileo, and musically Jimi, there are MCs that are geniuses too. What makes those guys remarkable compared to others are their strength and choice of words, and their flow, or the melody, of their rhymes. I personally can’t relate to the ghetto, guns, and all of that “gangster” stuff, so I don’t listen to that genre all that much, but there are many elements people can pick up from the Hip Hop music. There is a whole Japanese Hip Hop scene that is growing bigger and bigger, and that’s what I personally live.
The next element is Breaking. Breaking is a term used for dancing, and most people know it as Break Dancing. Although Breaking has become a small part of the whole dance scene in Hip Hop today, it’s the first form of Hip Hop dances. People spin on their heads, do handstands, slide with just their hands on the ground, spin on the floor with their legs spread out, and all kinds of astonishing moves. This is probably the most popular form of Hip Hop in Japan today because its so easy to begin and watch.
DJs have one simple task: make people dance. Or that’s what it used to be. Before, their main goal was to have the knowledge of the music so they can make people dance according to the mood and time. Also scratching records were their performance. Now, DJs have lots more jobs and probably the toughest element of all. Most DJs team up with MCs so they can act as the rhythm section of the Hip Hop performance, and to do that and be original, they must create sounds of their own. They basically make the beats and the MCs lay the words on it. The steps to be able to make beats and tracks takes lots of time, money, and mind, so most DJs don’t/can’t take a step further into the scene. Today, more and more artists are creating their own tracks, for the money, and they tend to realize that they can’t be rapping at age 40 while its perfectly normal for a 40 year old to be playing the guitar.
It ’s not wrong to say that DJs are the backbones to the Hip Hop music. The final element is Tagging, and its graffiti. This is actually a controversial issue because many people believe its wrong. But it’s a form of art to the culture, and it shows character of each artist. Its definitely not just about claiming area by the gangs, and its not just about vandalizing other people’s property. People need to admit that New York City would not have its flavor that it has today without all of those artwork, and there are many artists that put up their pieces just so they can show others what they got. It’s a way of communication in the form of Hip Hop.
Many other types of music can be a culture too, and each person feels if it is a culture to them or not. If music means culture to that person, then they probably feel that uneasy sensation of going to bed without music, going on the train without your Walkman, and have that anger towards vacuum cleaners. Music also is a form of communication when there is the kind of society where people understand one another through it. Which creates influences on others, and makes music grow.
Courtney from Study Moose
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