You Hip Hop and You Don’t Stop
The creation of hip hop is one of those moments in musical history that I lived through. I have to say, seeing it grow and get huge was one of the coolest things on my musical journey. I’m probably showing my age here, but I remember jamming out and break dancing to songs like Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight and Apache, Newcleus’ – Jam On It, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock’s Joy and Pain, and so many more. It was such great time.
A new genre, new dances, and new realities for a lot of musicians and music lovers. Rap caught fire! It climbed so fast because it spoke to a lot of disenfranchised youth who needed a better way. They were sick of the system’s perception of them and failure to advocate for them. What the 1960’s music did for the flower children, hip hop did for the inner-city youth looking for a better way in the 1970’s. It was/is protest with a loud voice and powerful stories. It was discussion— with a great beat. There are many stories about how the record companies were caught off guard by the rapid sales of hip hop music. Due to this, the genre grew in a different, natural, way before the interference of music industry people who weren’t artists (and mostly in it for the money) got their hands on it.
Grandmaster Flash is widely regarded as being the first artist to mesh up other songs and mix in breaks and beats. New York’s Bronx and Harlem districts is where rap was born. A group of break dancers called the Rock Steady Crew made dancing to rap a national sensation. Soon after, MCing, rapping over recorded music to different beats and snippets of popular songs began. It was growing and it was awesome.
Russel Simmons was a big part of this growth as a prominent figure in the industry from the beginning. He worked with a lot of artists (then and now) and was a major influence on what hip hop’s sound has evolved to in today’s music. Mr. Simmons was a manager and producer. A jack-of-all-trades at the time. Run-D.M.C, Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J, and Kurtis Blow were all paramount in creating the hip hop sound. Some of today’s big hip hop stars include Drake, Post Malone, Cardi B, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj…the list is long and most were inspired (in one way or another) by the original creators of the hip hop genre.
I’ll leave you with some of the greatest lyrics ever penned in hip hop:
I said a hip hop,
Hippie to the hippie,
The hip, hip a hop, and you don't stop, a rock it
To the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie,
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Now, what you hear is not a test - I'm rappin' to the beat,
And me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet.
See, I am Wonder Mike, and I'd like to say hello,
To the black, to the white, the red and the brown,
The purple and yellow. But first, I gotta
Bang bang, the boogie to the boogie,
Say up jump the boogie to the bang bang boogie,
Let's rock, you don't stop,
Rock the rhythm that'll make your body rock.