Music is really diverse. It has different genres of distinct styles and features. Among these genres, hip hop music dominates...
MP3 player, smartphones, and DJ turntables – these are all our sources of hip hop music. But sometimes, we just want to consume hip hop music without the loud beats and dance crazes. We want to get serious about learning the art of hip hop. We suggest you to get a book about hip hop. In this article, we list down the best hip hop books that should be in your library:
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005)
This book was written and produced by Jeff Chang, a music critic, and journalist. It was published in 2005 and won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. It talks about the earlier generation of the hip hop scene. It features stories of the pioneers of hip hop music, including DJ Kool Herc andAfrikaBambaataa. In fact, DJ Kool Herc wrote the introduction.
Hip Hop America (1998)
Hip Hop America was written by African-American music critic and filmmaker Nelson George. In this book, he discussed the impact of hip hop music on culture. It also provides a definitive account of how hip hop changed the black youth culture in mass media. Most of George’s anecdotes are surely worth the read.
How to Draw Hip Hop (2006)
Comic artist and hip hop artist Damion Scott, together with music journalist Kris Ex, wrote together a book called “How to Draw Hip Hop”. It explains the processes in writing hip hop music and most especially, culture. This includes the construction of hip hop look, the style of B-boys and B-girls, and the characters and environments of the hip hop culture.
Decoded is an autobiography book of American rapper Jay-Z, written by Jay-Z himself and published by Random House. It involves anecdotes, lyrics, reflections, and stories about his life. Jay-Z explained why he wants to write this book. First, he wanted to tell that hip hop lyrics is a form of artistic poetry. Second, involving in hip hop is such a powerful experience. Lastly, he wanted to create stories that everyone can relate to, through hip hop music.
The Wu-Tang Manual (2005)
The Wu-Tang Clan is a hardcore hip hop group from New York City. They have released four gold and platinum albums. In fact, their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (1993) is one of the greatest albums in the hip hop history. In 2005, member of the group and producer RZA released a Wu-Tang Manual. It contains stories about the members, movies, inspirations, and even merchandises. The manual is divided into four books, each with nine chambers.
The Way I Am (2008)
The Way I Am is a 2008 autobiographical book about American rapper, Eminem. It was authored by Marshall Matters and published by Dutton Adult. It contains personal stories, reflections, photographs, and lyric sheets of Eminem. This book is very special as it detailed how Eminem started from poverty, got into drugs, depression, and heartbreak rose to fame and inspired people.
Which of these hip hop books have you read already?…
2017 is the year of Hip hop. According to Nielsen Music, over 25% of American population listens to hip hop music. As this year ends, we list down the top 9 hip hop songs of 2017, contributing to hip hop music dominance in the United States and some parts of the world:
After Lamar’s album release, HUMBLE., being his first single debuted at number two and later topped the US Billboard Hot 100. This became Lamar’s highest-charting single as a lead artist. Pitchfork even named HUMBLE. as the Best New Track, noting the music style and message.
Post Malone Feat. 21 Savage
Rockstar peaked the US Billboard Hot 100. It has charted for over five weeks, the longest-running number 1 hip hop of 2017. This became Post Malone and 21 Savage’s first-ever number 1 song. It also topped Australian charts for seven weeks. As of writing, it reached more than 25 million streams on Apple Music.
Bodak Yellow made history in the music industry. After five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, it topped the charts beating Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do. It spent over three weeks on top. Cardi B became the second female solo rapper to top the charts, after Lauryn Hill in 1998. BET recognized it as 2017’s Best Hip Hop Track.
This hip hop song is the first single of American rapper 21 Savage off of Issa Album, his debut album. The New York Times called it as one of the best songs of 21 Savage. The song received Platinum and Gold certification in the United States and Australia, respectively.
Rolex contains an addicting hook that makes you want to own a Rolex. This is a single from American duo rapper Ayo &Teo which reached number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The Story of O.J.
Of course, one of the Kings of Rap should have an entry in this list. The Story of O.J. is a single from JAY-Z’s thirteenth studio album. It tackles racism and the experiences of black people in the United States.
Tunnel Vision is a single from Kodak Black’s debut album Painting Pictures. This was Black’s highest-charting single yet, reaching number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Passionfruit is Drake’s second single from his 2016 album Fake Love. After the single’s release in March 2017, Passionfruit entered the top ten charts of Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the UK, and the US. It also received gold and platinum certifications. However, some critics do not classify this as hip hop, suggesting it is more of pop and R&B.
Future’s Mask Off reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, making his highest-charting single to date. It also topped the top ten charts of New Zealand, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Sweden.
Which of these hip hop songs are included in your playlist?…
Writing a song is quite easy. But rap music is definitely a challenge. Even some professional rappers find it hard to create another rap song (unless they are placed in a rap battle where they have to be spontaneous.) The volume of the lyrics in a rap music is way higher compared to any type of music. As a matter of fact, the song with the most number of words is a rap song. It is entitled “Animal” by Harry Shotta, an MC from the United Kingdom. It has 1, 771 words. It replaced Eminem’s “Rap God” with 1, 560 words.
Well, if you want to make a rap song now, consider these seven basic steps in writing a rap music:
Select a theme
The very first thing to do is to brainstorm a theme. Find an inspiration for your music. You can use your personal life experiences as the primary theme of your music. You can also use rap to convey a message about a certain social issue. Or you can just be general about your song, rapping about men and women, living wild and free.
Create a hook
Most rap songs have a hook. Sometimes, it is called the “chorus”. It is the part of your rap music that can be easily remembered by listeners. Some rappers start their rap with the hook to make it more attractive to the audience. It also provides a good pre-vibes of the rap as it packages the main message.
Play with words
After finalizing a melodic hook, start writing your lyrics. In this stage, you have to play with words. A rhyme is one of the most common elements in rap lyrics. You do not need to pressure yourself with the rhymes. First, you just have to be spontaneous. Go back to your lyrics and check for some words which you can alter. Besides, rhymes do not need to be all natural. “Near rhymes” will do.
Master the beat
In a rap music, the beat is the most important. It should go in-sync with your lyrics and theme. On the other hand, you should be careful in choosing a beat. There are websites where you can purchase beats. You can also create your own beats using computer software or even smartphone apps. Moreover, you can partner with DJs.
Organize the song flow
Now that you have the hook, the lyrics, and the beat, it is now time for you to organize your song flow. You just have to arrange the placement of the verses, chorus, refrain, bridge, and outro, among others. As mentioned earlier, some raps start with the chorus. You can be unique with your song flow.
After doing the finishing touches for your rap music, practice the song. Play the beat and sing the rap lyrics. Since rap songs are full of words, it may be complicated for you to memorize the lyrics. Just take your time until you master everything.
Don’t forget to share your rap masterpiece!…
Rap music is one of the most successful genres in the music industry. Thanks to various artists and rappers who elevated the hip hop standards to make it relevant over the years. In this article, we will list the greatest rappers since the beginning of hip hop music:
Dubbed as the “Rap God” (also one of his singles), Eminem is considered as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Throughout his career, he achieved five number 1 singles on Billboard Hot 100 and ten number 1 albums on Billboard 200. With over 200 million album sales, he is the best-selling artist of the 21st century in the United States. Rolling Stone also called Eminem the King of Hip Hop, ranking 83rd on the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
JAY-Z or Shawn Carter in real life is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. According to data, he has sold over 100million records. He is also multi-awarded, receiving 21 Grammy Awards, among others. MTV also named him “The Greatest MC of All Time” in 2006. He also holds the record of the most number 1 albums on US Billboard 200, with 14. Further, JAY-Z ranked 10th in their list of the most successful artists.
Known for so many names, Notorious B.I.G. was one of the earliest figures of hip hop music. He was regarded as one of the pioneers of East Coast hip hop. Billboard magazine names him one of the greatest rappers of all time. After the shooting incident that claimed his life, three new Notorious B.I.G. albums were released.
Tupac, also spelled as 2Pac was an American rapper who sold more than 75 million records worldwide. He is considered one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He also ranked number one in various lists of the greatest and most influential rappers. He also ranked 86th in Rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists of All Time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Nas is an American hip hop recording artists who have sold over 25 million records worldwide. Eight of his albums received platinum and multi-platinum certifications. MTV included him in the list of The Greatest MCs of All Time. In 2012, The Source named him the second-best lyricist of all time. In 2014, he was recognized by Billboard as one of the best rappers of all time.
Every year, there is a new King of Rap. For 2017, Kendrick Lamar got the throne. Lamar has only released 4 studio albums yet. Among these, his fourth studio album Damn was considered to be a breakthrough in hip hop music. It has reached number 1 on Billboard 200 and received double platinum certification. The release of Lamar’s album was regarded as one of the factors that brought hip hop on top of the music scene, leaving pop to the second. Of course, Lamar has more to prove in his musical career.
Who do you think should be included in the list?…
In the lieu of hip hop music’s massive success, hip hop dance comes along. It remains one of the most popular dance styles today. Basically, you just have to dance your body to the hip hop music. But, there are certain elements that classify a hip hop dance “hip hop”. Here are the most common hip hop dance styles:
Popping was created Sam Solomon in Fresno, California. It is performed by continuously contracting and relaxing your muscles to achieve a jerking or snapping effect in your body. This step was first performed by the Electric Boogaloos Dance Crew.
Don Campbell created the locking dance style in Los Angeles during the 1960s. He debuted the dance style along with his dance crew called The Lockers. A quick movement followed by a pause is a common trait in locking. The hips and legs are usually relaxed while the hands and arms do the move. Basically, it requires a lot of acrobatics to perform locking.
Also called as b-boying or b-girling, breakdancing plays an integral role in Black and Latino American dance culture. It started to flourish in the 1970s where dancers, especially young ones dance to hop-hop remixes. Breakdancing is composed of four elements – top rock (standing), down rock (floor tricks), freeze (poses), and the power moves (acrobatics).
Boogaloo follows a fluid or a loose movement which provides an illusion that the dancer has no bones. Basically, it moves the hips, legs, knees, and head, creating a clean transition. Boogaloo is closely related to popping dance style.
Crip-walking was popularized by the Crips gang. They usually perform this dance style every after victory against their rival gang, the Bloods. Today, it has been a part of hip hop dance culture. Some famous rappers like Snoop Dogg and Xzibit perform crip-walking in their music videos.
Apparently, floating style gives an impression to the audience that the dancer is floating in the air. It follows three basic moves – the float, glide, and slide. In performing these moves, the dancer creates an illusion of frictionless shows.
The word “turfing” is derived from “Taking up room on the floor”. It started in Oakland, California. To do a turf, one must move with the goal of clearly telling a story about various traditions and life events through dancing.
The robot dance style has also joined the hip hop dance culture. It is very similar to popping except that it avoids any smooth movement. It simply just mimics or imitates the movement of the robot, doing very stiff movements of the body.
Krumping is one of the most popular hip hop dance styles of this generation. It basically follows four basic moves – chest pops, jabs, arm swings, and stomps. Actually, krumping is more of a freestyle dance, as long as you incorporate those four basic moves.
Lyrical hip hop dance is interpretative in nature. It is usually performed along with down-tempo rap or R&B music. It follows a choreography instead of freestyle movement.
Which of these hip hop dance styles do you like?…
Over the years, hip hop music has evolved. Downloading and streaming services are the new source for people to listen to music. There have been different sub-genres, fusions, and versions from certain states and regions. As a matter of fact, hip hop is a musical celebration of diversity. Despite differences, music binds their understanding. In this article, we list the 11 most common hip hop sub-genres and fusions:
Alternative Hip hop
Also known as “conscious hip hop”, alternative hip hop skips musical styles, hooks, or moves. Their main goal is to explore unique concepts. Key artists include Lupe Fiasco and The Roots.
Battle rap involves bragging, boasting, and insulting. It is usually used in live battles where rappers rap in freestyle. It is a battle between two or more MCs and their rap verses. Battle rap has been showcased in TV contests and even in professional leagues.
Boom-Bap originated in New York and gained popularity in the mid-1990s. It was coined by rapper KRS-ONE which he actually derived from drum sounds. Storytelling is a strong feature of Boom Bap. Some of the most notable boom bap artists are Pete Rock and Kendrick Lamar.
Their primary goal of conscious rap is to deliver a certain message of awareness and knowledge regarding various social issues. Conscious rappers promote positive and radical ideas, although they do not want to be classified as “rappers”. Key artists include Kanye West, TalibKweli, and Lauryn Hill,
Crunk is a sub-genre of southern hip hop. According to music accounts, famous producer Lil John was the one who created this dance move in the 1990s. Club beats and high-energy chants are among its major elements. Apart from Lil John, key artists include Lil Scrappy and The Eastside Boyz.
East Coast Hip hop
East coast hip hop originated in New York in the 1970s. It became dominant in the golden age of hip hop. It follows simple old school rap pattern with lyrical dexterity. Famous rappers include Big Daddy Kane, Hay-Z, and Rakim.
Gangsta rap is a reflection of the gangster life, especially the youth of the early 1980s. Ice-T was credited as the pioneer of Gangsta rap. Basically, it features hard-hitting beats and aggressive lyrics. Some artists criticize Gangsta rap for its violent theme. Famous Gangsta rappers include 50 Cent, 2Pac, Snoop Dog, and Ice Cube.
Hyphyhip hop has been around for a few years. It is a musical import from the West Coast that incorporates upbeat tempo and high-energy style. It also features rugged beats and witty lyrics. Famous hyphy rappers include E-40, Mac Dre, and The Team.
Melodic rap has been influential over the past years. It plays a prominent role in the independent hip hop world. It even dominated the popular hip hop scene with rappers like Bryson Tiller and Drake.
Basically, rap rock is a combination of hip hop and rock musical genres. Rap-rock has also evolved into different fusions including rap metal and rapcore.
Trap music flourished in the 1990s. It originated in Atlanta where Ghetto Mafia and Dungeon Family started entering the music science. Trap music generally refers to music about drugs and narcotics.
Music is really diverse. It has different genres of distinct styles and features. Among these genres, hip hop music dominates the list. Yes, surpassing even pop music. According to Nielsen Music, 2017 is the year for hip hop. The first time for hip hop to dominate the music scene. Hip hop music has come a long way. It has evolved over the years. In this article, let us take a look back at hip hop’s origin and evolution.
Hip hop’s Inspiration
The inspiration of hip hop music started as early as the 1920s. Earl Tucker, a prominent club performer popularized a dance style similar to today’s hip hop dance styles. In 1940, Thomas Wong incorporated booming sound system in playing music. He started the craze of hip American music, delighting the audience and beating music competitors. During the late 1960s, James Brown recorded two songs – Sex Machines and Funky Dreamer – that influenced the drumming styles of today’s rap music.
The Origin of Hip hop
The birth of hip hop music really started in 1970. DJ U-Roy dominated Jamaican pop charts with his records using a style called “toasting”. From Jamaica, Clive Campbell who was popularly known as “DJ Kool Herc” brought their style of music to South Bronx. He was regarded as one of the founders of hip hop music. DJ Kool Herc began DJ-ing for parties. Soon, he became an MC (master of ceremony). He combined MC-ing and DJ-ing, playing music while announcing some rhythmic text. This gave birth to “rap”. Around this time, AfrikaBambaataa and other DJs and MCs began referring their culture as “hip hop”.
Hip hop’s Golden Age
Soon after the discovery of hip hop, various rappers entered the music scene in the 1980s. LL Cool J released hip hop songs with catchy melodic hooks. Kurtis Blow was the first rapper to appear on national TV promoting his record. This introduced hip hop to a larger audience and made Blow’s record sell more than a million copies. In 1981, The Funky 4 became the first hip hop group to appear on TV. In the late 1980s, hip hop beats have been recorded inside the studio with drum machines and synthesizers. In the early 90s, producers re-created new styles of hip hop music such as alternative hip hop and jazz rap, among others.
Hardcore and Gangsta Rap
The turning point of hip hop music was in the 90s. Hardcore rap of New York and Gangsta rap of Los Angeles dominated the airwaves. Wu-Tang Clan created one of the first hardcore rap records, singing about the gangster life. This era created the names of 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, and The Notorious B.I.G. On the other hand, gangsta rap was developed by rappers Ice-T and NWA. Other famous names include Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre.
21st Century Hip hop
Hip hop music continually evolved in the 21st century. Female rappers like Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, and Nicki Minaj have started creating hip hop music as well. Before, New styles of hip hop also gained popularity. This includes R&B, country rap, and pop-rap, among others. More and more hip hop artists are dominating the music charts.…