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Hip hop is a musical genre which developed alongside hip hop culture, and is commonly based on concepts of looping, rapping, freestyling, DJing, scratching, sampling and beatboxing. The music is used to express concerns of political, social, and personal issues. Hip hop began in the Bronxmarker in New York Citymarker in the 1970s, primarily among African Americans, with some Jamaicanmarker immigrant influence. The term rap is often used synonymously with hip hop, however, the latter denotes the practices of an entire subculture.

Rapping, also referred to as MCing or emceeing, is a vocal style in which the artist speaks lyrically, in rhyme and verse, generally to an instrumental or synthesized beat. Beats, almost always in 4/4 time signature, can be created by looping portions of other songs, usually by a DJ, or sampled from portions of other songs by a producer. Modern beats incorporate synthesizers, drum machines, and live bands. Rappers may write, memorize, or improvise their lyrics and perform their works a cappella or to a beat.

Origin of the term

Creation of the term hip hop is often credited to Keith Cowboy, a rapper with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. Though Lovebug Starski, Keith Cowboy, and DJ Hollywood used the term when the music was still known as disco rap. It is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the U.S. Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" cadence into a part of his stage performance, which was quickly used by other artists such as The Sugarhill Gang in "Rapper's Delight".

Former Black Spades gang member Afrika Bambaataa is credited with first using the term to describe the subculture in which the music belonged; although it is also suggested that it was a derogatory term to describe the type of music. The first use of the term in print was in the Village Voice, by Steven Hager, later author of a 1984 history of hip hop.


Roots of hip hop

1520 Sedwick Avenue, the Bronx, a venue used by Kool Herc which is often considered the birthplace of hip hop
The roots of hip hop are found in African American music. The griots of West Africa are a group of traveling singers and poets who are part of an oral tradition dating back hundreds of years. Their vocal style is similar to that of rappers. The African-American traditions of signifyin', the dozens, and jazz poetry are all descended from the griots. In addition, musical 'comedy' acts such as Rudy Ray Moore and Blowfly, are considered by some to be the forefathers of rap.

Within New York City, griot-like performances of poetry and music by artists such as The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin had a significant impact on the post-civil rights era culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

Hip hop arose during the 1970s when block parties became increasingly popular in New York Citymarker, especially in the Bronxmarker. Block parties incorporated DJs who played popular genres of music, especially funk and soul music. DJs, realizing its positive reception, began isolating the percussion breaks of popular songs. This technique was then common in Jamaican dub music and had spread to New York City via the substantial Jamaican immigrant community. A major proponent of the technique was the "godfather" of hip hop, the Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc.

Dub music had become popular in Jamaica due to the influence of Americanmarker sailors and Rhythm & Blues. Large sound systems were set up to accommodate poor Jamaicans who couldn't afford to buy records and dub developed at the sound systems. DJ Kool Herc was one of the most popular DJs in the early 70’s. Due to the fact that the New York audience did not particularly like dub or reggae, Herc quickly switched to using funk, soul and disco records. Because the percussive breaks were generally short, Herc and other DJs began extending them using an audio mixer and two records.

Turntables techniques, such as beat mixing/matching, scratching (seemingly invented by Grand Wizard Theodore) and beat juggling eventually developed along with the breaks, creating a base that could be rapped over. This same techniques contributed to the popularization of remixes. Such looping, sampling and remixing of another's music, sometimes without the original artist's knowledge or consent, can be seen as an evolution of Jamaican dub music,
and would become a hallmark of the hip hop style.

Jamaican immigrants also provided an influence on the vocal style of rapping by delivering simple raps at their parties, inspired by the Jamaican tradition of toasting. DJs and MCs would often add call and response chants, often comprising of a basic chorus, to allow the performer to gather his thoughts (e.g. "one, two, three, y'all, to the beat, y'all").

Later, the MCs grew more varied in their vocal and rhythmic approach, incorporating brief rhymes, often with a sexual or scatological theme, in an effort at differentiating themselves and entertaining the audience. Hip hop music was an outlet and a "voice" for disenfranchised youth as the culture reflected the social, economic and political realities of their lives. These early raps incorporated the dozens, a product of African American culture. Kool Herc & the Herculoids were the first hip hoppers to gain major fame in New York, however the number of MC teams increased over time. Frequently, these were collaborations between former gangs, such as Afrikaa Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation - now a large, international organization. Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an "MC." During the early 1970s, breakdancing arose during block parties, as b-boys and b-girls got in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive and frenetic style. The style was documented for release to a world wide audience for the first time in documentaries and movies such as Style Wars, Wild Style, and Beat Street.

Although there were many early MCs that recorded solo projects of note, such as DJ Hollywood, Kurtis Blow and Spoonie Gee, the frequency of solo artists didn't increase until later with the rise of soloists with really big stage presence and drama, such as LL Cool J. Most early hip hop was dominated by groups where collaboration between the members was integral to the show.

Influence of disco

Hip-hop music was both heavily influenced by disco and a backlash against it. According to Kurtis Blow, the early days of hip-hop were characterized by divisions between fans and detractors of disco music.

Hip hop had largely emerged as "a direct response to the watered down, Europeanised, disco music that permeated the airwaves", and the earliest hip hop was mainly based on hard funk loops. However, by 1979, disco instrumental loops/tracks had become the basis of much hip hop music. This genre got the name of "disco rap". Ironically, hip hop music was also a proponent in the eventual decline in disco popularity.

DJ Pete Jones, Eddie Cheeba, DJ Hollywood, and Love Bug Starski were disco-influenced hip hop DJs. Their styles differed from other hip hop musicians who focused on rapid-fire rhymes and more complex rhythmic schemes. Afrika Bambaataa, Paul Winley, Grandmaster Flash, and Bobby Robinson were all members of this latter group.

In Washington, D.C.marker go-go emerged as a reaction against disco and eventually incorporated characteristics of hip hop during the early 1980s. The genre of electronic music behaved similarly, eventually evolving into what is known as house music in Chicagomarker and techno music in Detroitmarker.

Transition to recording

The first hip hop recording is widely regarded to be Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight, from 1979. Much controversy surrounds this allegation because some point out that King Tim III by The Fatback Band was released a few weeks before Rapper's Delight. There are various other claimants for the title of first hip hop record.

By the 1980’s, all the major elements and techniques of the hip hop genre were in place. Though not yet mainstream, hip hop had permeated outside of New York City; it could be found in cities as diverse as Los Angelesmarker, Washington, DCmarker, Baltimoremarker, Dallasmarker, Kansas City, San Antonio, TXmarker, Miamimarker, Seattlemarker, St. Louismarker, New Orleansmarker, Houstonmarker, and Torontomarker.

Despite the genre's growing popularity, Philadelphiamarker was, for many years, the only city whose contributions could be compared to New York Citymarker's. Hip hop music started in Philadelphia in 1979 with a record titled "Rhythm Talk", by Jocko Henderson.

The New York Times had dubbed Philadelphia the "Graffiti Capital of the World" in 1971. Philadelphia native DJ Lady B recorded "To the Beat Y'All" in 1979, and became the first female solo hip hop artist to record music. Later, Schoolly D, another Philadelphia artist, helped invent what became known as gangsta rap.


Russell Simmons
The 1980s marked an intense diversification of hip hop as the genre developed more complex styles. Some early examples of such styles are represented in the following tracks:

  • Bruce Haack & Russell Simmons - "Party Machine" (1982). Now considered the 'blueprint' of electro. The track includes a 'shout-out'; it is arguably the first song to do so.

  • Rammellzee & K-Rob - "Beat Bop" (1983). This song was a 'slow jam' which had a dub influence with its use of reverb and echo as texture and playful sound effects.

  • T La Rock - "It's Yours" (1984). This record is not only famed for its quick-fire editing but also for his 'scientific' approach to rhyme construction.

Heavy usage of the new generation of drum machines such as the Oberheim DMX and Roland 808 models was a characteristic of many 1980 songs. To this day the 808 kickdrum is traditionally used by hip hop producers. Over time sampling technology became more advanced; however earlier producers such as Marley Marl used drum machines to construct their beats from small excerpts of other beats in synchronisation. Later, samplers such as the E-mu SP-1200 allowed not only more memory but more flexibility for creative production. This allowed the filtration and layering different hits, and with a possibility of re-sequencing them into a single piece.

With the emergence of a new generation of samplers such as the AKAI S900 in the late 1980s, producers did not require the aid of tape loops. Public Enemy's first two albums were created with the help of large tape loops. The process of looping break into a breakbeat now became more common with a sampler, now doing the job which so far had been done manually by the DJ. In 1989, DJ Mark James under the moniker "45 King", released "The 900 Number", a breakbeat track created by synchronizing samplers and vinyl.

The content of hip hop evolved as well. The early styles presented in the 1970s soon were replaced with metaphorical lyrics over complex, multi-layered instrumentals. Artists such as Melle Mel, Rakim, Chuck D, and KRS-One revolutionized hip hop by transforming it into a more mature art form. The Message (1982) by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is widely considered the birth of "serious" rap.

During the early 1980s, electro music was formed within the hip hop movement, largely led by artists such as Cybotron, Hashim, Planet Patrol and Newcleus. The most notable proponent was Afrika Bambaataa who produced a single called "Planet Rock".

Some rappers eventually became mainstream pop performers. Kurtis Blow's appearance in a Sprite commercial marked the first hip hop musician to represent a major product.

Nationalization and internationalization

Hip hop was almost entirely unknown outside of the United States prior to the early 1980s. During that decade, it began its spread to every inhabited continent and became a part of the music scene in dozens of countries. In the early part of the decade, breakdancing became the first aspect of hip hop culture to reach Germanymarker, Japanmarker, Australia and South Africa, where the crew Black Noise established the practice before beginning to rap later in the decade. Meanwhile, recorded hip hop was released in Francemarker (Dee Nasty's 1984 Paname City Rappin') and the Philippinesmarker (Dyords Javier's "Na Onseng Delight" and Vincent Dafalong's "Nunal"). In Puerto Rico, Vico C became the first Latino rapper, and his recorded work was the beginning of what became known as reggaeton.

Japanese hip hop is said to have begun when Hiroshi Fujiwara returned to Japan and started playing Hip-Hop records in the early 1980s. Japanese hip hop generally tends to be most directly influenced by old school hip hop, taking from the era's catchy beats, dance culture, and overall fun and carefree nature and incorporating it into their music. As a result, hip hop stands as one of the most commercially viable mainstream music genres in Japan, and the line between it and pop music is frequently blurred.

Hip hop has globalized into many cultures worldwide, as evident through the emergence of numerous regional scenes. It has emerged globally as a movement based upon the main tennets of hip hop culture. The music and the art continue to embrace, even celebrate, its transnational dimensions while staying true to the local cultures to which it is rooted. Hip-hop's inspiration differs depending on each culture. Still, the one thing virtually all hip hop artists worldwide have in common is that they acknowledge their debt to those African American people in New York who launched the global movement. While hip-hop is sometimes taken for granted by Americans, it is not so elsewhere, especially in the developing world, where it has come to represent the empowerment of the disenfranchised and a slice of the American dream. American hip-hop music has reached the cultural corridors of the globe and has been absorbed and reinvented around the world.

New school hip hop

The new school of hip hop was a second wave of hip hop music starting from 1983–84 with the early records of Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J. Like the hip hop preceding it, it came predominately from New York City. The new school was initially characterized in form by drum machine led minimalism, often tinged with elements of rock. It was notable for taunts and boasts about rapping, and socio-political commentary, both delivered in an aggressive, self-assertive style. In image as in song its artists projected a tough, cool, street b-boy attitude. These elements contrasted sharply with the funk and disco influenced outfits, novelty hits, live bands, synthesizers and party rhymes of artists prevalent in 1984, and rendered them old school. New school artists made shorter songs that could more easily gain radio play, and more cohesive LPs than their old school counterparts. By 1986 their releases began to establish hip hop as a fixture of the mainstream. Rap and hip hop became commercially successful, as exemplified by The Beastie Boys' 1986 album Licensed to Ill, which was the first rap album to hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

Golden age hip hop

Public Enemy

Hip hop's "golden age" is a name given to a period in hip hop - usually from the late 1980s to early 90s - said to be characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation and influence. There were strong themes of Afrocentricity and political militancy, while the music was experimental and the sampling was eclectic. There was often a strong jazz influence. The artists most often associated with the phase include Public Enemy (whose 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is widely regarded as hip hop's greatest moment), KRS-One and his Boogie Down Productions, Stetsasonic, Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian and the Jungle Brothers.

Gangsta rap and West Coast hip hop

Gangsta rap is a genre of hip hop that reflects the violent lifestyles of some inner-city youths. It was pioneered by the mid 80s work of musicians such as Schoolly D and Ice T. In 1988, N.W.A. released Straight Outta Compton, which formalised the style, as well as cementing Los Angeles as its main centre. Thus, N.W.A. helped to establish West Coast hip hop as a genre equal in importance to East Coast hip hop.


In 1992, Dr. Dre released The Chronic. As well as helping to establish West Coast gangsta rap as more commercially viable than East Coast hip hop, this album founded a style called G Funk, which soon came to dominate West Coast hip hop. The style was further developed and popularized by Snoop Dogg's 1993 album Doggystyle.

The Wu-Tang Clan shot to fame around the same time. Being from New York's Staten Island, the Wu-Tang Clan brought the East Coast back into the mainstream at a time when the West Coast mainly dominated rap. Other major artists in the so-called East Coast hip hop renaissance included The Notorious B.I.G. and Nas. (See the article on the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry.)

Record labels based out of Atlantamarker, St. Louismarker, and New Orleansmarker also gained fame for their local scenes. The midwest rap scene is also notable, with the fast vocal styles from artists such as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Twista. By the end of the decade, hip hop was an integral part of popular music, and many American pop songs had hip hop components.

World hip hop

In the 1990s and the following decade, elements of hip hop continued to be assimilated into other genres of popular music. Nu soul, for example, combined hip hop and soul music and produced major stars such as Gnarls Barkley. In the Dominican Republicmarker, a recording by Santi Y Sus Duendes and Lisa M became the first single of merenrap, a fusion of hip hop and merengue.

New York City experienced a heavy Jamaican hip hop influence during the 90s. This influence was brought on by cultural shifts particularly because of the heightened immigration of Jamaicans to New York City and the American-born Jamaican youth who were coming of age during the 90s. Hip hop artists such as De La Soul and Black Star have produced albums influenced by Jamaican roots.[701972]

In Europe, Africa, and Asia, hip hop began to move from the underground to mainstream audiences. In Europe, hip hop was the domain of both ethnic nationals and immigrants. British hip hop, for example, became a genre of its own, and Germanymarker produced the well-known Die Fantastischen Vier as well as several Turkish performers like the controversial Cartel, Kool Savaş, and Azad. Similarly, Francemarker has produced a number of native-born stars, such as IAM and Suprême NTM, but the most famous French rapper is probably the Senegalese-born MC Solaar. The Netherlandsmarker' most famous rappers are The Osdorp Posse, an all-white crew from Amsterdam, and The Postmen from Cape Verdemarker and Surinamemarker. Italymarker found its own rappers, including Jovanotti and Articolo 31, grow nationally renowned, while the Polish scene began in earnest early in the decade with the rise of PM Cool Lee. In Romaniamarker, B.U.G. Mafia came out of Bucharestmarker's Pantelimon neighborhood, and their brand of gangsta rap underlines the parallels between life in Romania's Communist-era apartment blocks and in the housing projects of America's ghettos. Israelmarker's hip hop grew greatly in popularity at the end of the decade, with several stars Palestinian (Tamer Nafer) and Israeli (Subliminal) . Mook E., preached peace and tolerance.

In Asia, mainstream stars rose to prominence in the Philippinesmarker, led by Francis Magalona, Rap Asia, MC Lara and Lady Diane. In Japan, where underground rappers had previously found a limited audience, and popular teen idols brought a style called J-rap to the top of the charts in the middle of the '90s.

Latinos had played an integral role in the early development of hip hop, and the style had spread to parts of Latin America, such as Cuba, early in its history. In Mexicomarker, popular hip hop began with the success of Calo in the early '90s. Later in the decade, with Latin rap groups like Cypress Hill on the American charts, Mexican rap rock groups, such as Control Machete, rose to prominence in their native land. An annual Cuban hip hop concert held at Alamar in Havanamarker helped popularize Cuban hip hop, beginning in 1995. Hip hop grew steadily more popular in Cuba, because of official governmental support for musicians.

Brazilian hip hop scene is considered to be the second biggest in the world, just behind American hip hop. Brazilian hip hop is heavily associated with racial and economic issues in the country, where a lot of Black People live in a bad situation in the violent slums, known in Brazilmarker as favelas. São Paulomarker city is where Hip Hop began in the country, but it spread all over Brazil soon, and today, almost every big Brazilian city, like Rio de Janeiromarker, Salvador, Curitibamarker, Porto Alegremarker, Belo Horizontemarker, Recifemarker and Brasiliamarker have a big Hip Hop scene going on. Racionais MC's, MV Bill, Marcelo D2, Rappin Hood, Thaíde and Dj Hum, GOG, RZO are considered the most powerful names in Brazilian hip hop.

West Coast hip hop

After N.W.A broke up, Dr. Dre (a former member) released The Chronic in 1992, which peaked at #1 on the R&B/hip hop chart, #3 on the pop chart and spawned a #2 pop single with "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang." The Chronic took West Coast rap in a new direction, influenced strongly by P funk artists, melding sleazy funk beats with slowly drawled lyrics. This came to be known as G-funk and dominated mainstream hip hop for several years through a roster of artists on Death Row Records including Snoop Dogg, whose Doggystyle included the songs "What's My Name" and "Gin and Juice," both top ten hits.

Detached from this scene were more thoughtful artists such as The Pharcyde as well as more underground artists such as the Solesides collective (DJ Shadow and Blackalicious amongst others) Jurassic 5, People Under the Stairs, The Alkaholiks, and earlier Souls of Mischief represented a return to hip-hops roots of sampling and well planned rhymeschemes. Other rappers include Too Short and MC Hammer from Oaklandmarker.

East Coast hip hop

In the early 1990s east coast hip hop was dominated by the Native Tongues posse which was loosely composed of De La Soul with producer Prince Paul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers, as well as their loose affiliates 3rd Bass, Main Source, and the less successful Black Sheep & KMD. Although originally a "daisy age" conception stressing the positive aspects of life, darker material (such as De La Soul's thought provoking "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa") soon crept in.

Artists such as Masta Ace (particularly for Slaughtahouse) & Brand Nubian, Public Enemy, Organized Konfusion followed a more overtly militant poise, both in sound and manner. Biz Markie, the 'clown prince of hip hop' was causing himself, and all other hip-hop producers a problem with his appropriation of the Gilbert O'Sullivan song 'Alone again, naturally'.

In the mid 1990s, artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. increased New York's visibility at a time when hip hop was mostly dominated by West Coast artists. The mid to late 1990s saw a generation of rappers such as Big L and Big Pun who would prove very lucrative.

The productions of RZA, particularly for Wu-Tang Clan, became very influential, with artists such as Mobb Deep being highly influenced by their combination of somewhat detached instrumental loops, highly compressed and processed drums and gangsta lyrical content. Wu-Tang affiliate albums such as Raekwon the Chef's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and GZA's Liquid Swords are now viewed as classics along with Wu-Tang 'core' material.

Producers such as DJ Premier (primarily for Gangstarr but also for other affiliated artists such as Jeru the Damaja), Pete Rock (With CL Smooth and supplying beats for many others), Buckwild, Large Professor, Diamond D and The 45 King supplying beats for numerous MC's regardless of location.

Albums such as Nas's Illmatic, Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt and OC's Word...Life are made up of beats from this pool of producers.

Later in the decade the business acumen of the Bad Boy records tested itself against Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella Records and on the west coast Death Row Records.

The rivalry between the East Coast and the West Coast rappers eventually turned into a personal rivalry, aided in part by the music media .

Although the 'big business' end of the market domininated matters commercially the late 90s to early 2000 era saw a number of relatively successful east coast indie labels such as Rawkus Records (with whom Mos Def gained great success) and later, Def Jux, the history of the two labels is intertwined, the latter having been started by EL-P of Company Flow in reaction to the former, it offered an outlet for more underground artists such as Mike Ladd, Aesop Rock, Mr Lif, RJD2,Cage and Cannibal Ox. Other acts such as the Hispanic Arsonists and slam poet turned MC Saul Williams met with differing degrees of success.

Diversification of styles

In the late 90s, the styles of hip hop diversified. Southern rap became popular in the early '90's, with the releases of Arrested Development's 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... in 1992, Goodie Mob's Soul Food in 1995 and OutKast's ATLiens in 1996. All three groups were from Atlanta, Georgiamarker. Later, Master P (Ghetto D) built up a roster of artists (the No Limit posse) based out of New Orleansmarker. Master P incorporated G funk and Miami bass influences; and distinctive regional sounds from St. Louismarker, Chicagomarker, Washington D.C.marker, Detroitmarker and others began to gain popularity. Also in the 1990s, rapcore, a fusion of hip hop and hardcore punk, became popular among mainstream audiences. Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were among the most well known rapcore bands.

Though white rappers like the Beastie Boys and 3rd Bass had had some popular success or critical acceptance from the hip hop community, Eminem's success, beginning in 1999 with the platinum The Slim Shady LP surprised many. However, Eminem was criticized for glorification of violence, misogyny and drug abuse as well as homophobia and albums laced with constant profanity.


In the year 2000, The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem sold over ten million copies in the United States and was the fastest selling album of all time Nelly's debut LP, Country Grammar, sold over nine million copies. The United States also saw the success of alternative hip hop in the form of moderately popular performers like The Roots, Dilated Peoples, Gnarls Barkley and Mos Def, who achieved unheard-of success for their field.

Southern hip hop in the 2000s gave birth to crunk music. Hip hop influences also found their way increasingly into mainstream pop during this period.

Popular (mainstream and underground) hip hop artists during the 2000s included:

West Coast: B-Real, Blu, The Coup, Crooked I, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, DJ Quik, Guerilla Black, The Game, Hieroglyphics, Ice Cube, Jurassic 5, Kurupt, Kottonmouth Kings, Madlib, MURS, Westside Connection, Xzibit, Zion I, Dilated Peoples, Snoop Dogg, People Under The Stairs, Common Market, Ugly Ducking, The Grouch, Jake One, Lilo, Kay, Kush

Dirty South: Bobby Ray, Chamillionaire, Three 6 Mafia (DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, Juicy J), Hurricane Chris, UGK (Pimp C, Bun B), Paul Wall, Young Buck, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Big Tymers (Birdman, Mannie Fresh), Hot Boys, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Lil Boosie, Webbie, David Banner, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, T.I., Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Pastor Troy, Jermaine Dupri, Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, South Park Mexican, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Lil' Flip, Mike Jones, Lil Scrappy, Unk, DJ Khaled, Gorilla Zoe, Yung Joc

Midwest: Atmosphere Common, Black Milk, Insane Clown Posse, Esham, Slum Village, Eminem, Proof, Kon Artis, Royce da 5'9", Kanye West, Twista, Lupe Fiasco, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Tech N9ne, Brother Ali, Chingy, Nelly, Jibbs, Huey, J Dilla, Trick-Trick, Guilty Simpson, Kid Cudi, Yung Berg, Slug, P.O.S., Chip Tha Ripper

East Coast: Charles Hamilton, Talib Kweli, MF Doom, Immortal Technique, Memphis Bleek, Cassidy, Swizz Beatz, Cam'ron, Jadakiss, Wu-Tang Clan (RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Redman), DMX, Nas, Lloyd Banks, 50 Cent, Jim Jones, Styles P, Big Pun, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Mims, Mobb Deep, Mos Def, The Roots, Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Aesop Rock, Kool Keith, Edo G, Sha Stimuli, MF Grimm, El-P, KRS-One, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Buckshot, Wiz Khalifa

World and national music

Some countries, like Tanzania, maintained popular acts of their own in the early 2000s, though many others produced few homegrown stars, instead following American trends. Scandinavian, especially Danish and Swedish, performers became well known outside of their country, while hip hop continued its spread into new regions, including Russia, Japan, Philippines, Canada, China, Korea, India and especially Vietnam.

In Germany and France, gangsta rap has become popular among youths who like the violent and aggressive lyrics. Some German rappers openly or comically flirt with Nazism, Bushido (born Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi) raps "Salutiert, steht stramm, Ich bin der Leader wie A" (Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A') and Fler had a hit with the record Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave) complete with the title written in Third Reich style Gothic print and advertised with an Adolf Hitler quote. These references also spawned great controversy in Germany.

The album "Babel (33 guests in 33 languages)" is one of the most comprehensive products in world hip-hop in the recent years. Over 30 rappers appear on the material using his own mother tongue.

Crunk and snap music

Crunk originated from southern hip hop in the late 1990s. The style was pioneered and commercialized by artists from Memphismarker, Tennesseemarker and Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker.

Looped, stripped-down drum machine rhythms are usually used. The Roland TR-808 and 909 are among the most popular. The drum machines are usually accompanied by simple, repeated synthesizer melodies and heavy bass stabs. The tempo of the music is somewhat slower than hip-hop, around the speed of reggaeton.

The focal point of crunk is more often the beats and music than the lyrics therein. Crunk rappers, however, often shout and scream their lyrics, creating an aggressive, almost heavy, style of hip-hop. While other subgenres of hip-hop address sociopolitical or personal concerns, crunk is almost exclusively party music, favoring call and response hip-hop slogans in lieu of more substantive approaches.

Snap music is an subgenre of crunk that emerged from Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, in the late 1990s. The genre soon became popular and in mid-2005 artists from other southern states such as Texasmarker and Tennesseemarker began to emerge with this style. Tracks commonly consist of an 808 bassdrum, hi-hat, bass, snapping, a main groove and a vocal track. Hit snap songs include "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" by "Dem Franchize Boys", "Laffy Taffy" by D4L, "It's Goin' Down" by Yung Joc and "Crank That " by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em.

Glitch hop and wonky music

Glitch hop is a fusion genre of hip hop and glitch music that originated in the early to mid 2000s in the United States and Europe. Musically, it is based on irregular, chaotic breakbeats, glitchy basslines and other typical sound effects used in glitch music, like skips. Glitch hop artists include Prefuse 73, Dabrye, Flying Lotus. some of artists, that were noted for creating wonky music are Joker, Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus.

Wonky is a subgenre of hip hop that originated around 2008 all around the globe (but most notably in the United States and United Kingdom, and among international artists of the Hyperdub music label), under the influence of glitch hop and dubstep. Wonky music is of the same glitchy type as glitch hop, but it was specifically noted for its melodies, rich with "mid-range unstable synths". Scotlandmarker has become one of the most prominent places, where wonky music was shaped by artists like Hudson Mohawke and Rustie. In Glasgowmarker, Rustie has created the substyle of wonky music called "aquacrunk", a fusion of wonky and crunk music; the most specific trait of aquacrunk are its "aquatic" synths.

Glitch hop and wonky are popular among limited amount of people, interested in alternative hip hop, electronic music (especially, dubstep); neither glitch hop nor wonky have met any mainstream popularity.

Decline in sales

Starting in 2005, sales of hip-hop music in the United Statesmarker began to severely wane, leading Time magazine to question if mainstream hip-hop was "dying." Billboard Magazine found that, since 2000, rap sales dropped 44%,and declined to 10% of all music sales, which, while still a commanding figure when compared to other genres, is a significant drop from the 13% of all music sales where rap music regularly placed. NPR culture critic Elizabeth Blair noted that, "some industry experts say young people are fed up with the violence, degrading imagery and lyrics. Others say the music is just as popular as it ever was, but that fans have found other means to consume the music." It can also be argued that many young people now download music illegally, especially through P2P networks, instead of purchasing albums and singles from legitimate stores. Some put the blame on the lack of lyrical content that hip hop once had, for example Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's 2007 debut album was met with negative reviews. Lack of sampling, a key element of hip hop, has also been noted for the decrease in quality of modern albums. For example, there are only four samples used in 2008's Paper Trail by T.I., while there are 35 samples in 1998's Moment of Truth by Gang Starr. The decrease in sampling is in part due to it being too expensive for producers. In Byron Hurt's documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, he claims that hip hop had changed from "clever rhymes and dance beats" to "advocating personal, social and criminal corruption."

Despite the fall in record sales throughout the music industry, hip-hop has remained a popular genre, with hip-hop artists still regularly topping the Billboard 200 Charts. In the first half of 2009 alone artists such as Eminem, Rick Ross, Black Eyed Peas, and Fabolous all had albums that reached the #1 position on the Billboard 200 charts. Eminem's album Relapse is the fastest selling album of the year so far.

Innovation & revitalization

It was in the later 2000s that alternative hip hop finally secured a place within the mainstream, due in part to the declining commercial viability of gangsta rap as well as the crossover success of artists such as OutKast, Kanye West, and Gnarls Barkley. Not only did OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below receive universal acclaim from music critics and manage to appeal listeners of all ages spanning numerous musical genres–including rap, rock, R&B, punk, jazz, indie, country, pop, electronica and gospel–but also spawned two number-one hit singles and has been certified diamond by selling 11 times platinum by the RIAA for shipping more than 11 million units, becoming the best selling rap album of all time. Industry observers view the sales race between Kanye West's Graduation and 50 Cent's Curtis as a turning point for hip hop. West emerged the victor, selling nearly a million copies in the first week alone, proving that innovative rap music could be just as commercially viable as gangsta rap, if not more so. Although he designed it as a melancholic pop rather than rap, Kanye's following 808s & Heartbreak would have a significant effect on hip hop music. While his decision to sing about love, loneliness, and heartache for the entirety of the album was at first heavily criticized by music audiences and the album predicted to be a flop, its subsequent critical acclaim and commercial success encouraged other mainstream rappers to take greater creative risks with their music. During the release of The Blueprint 3, New Yorkmarker rap mogul Jay-Z revealed that next studio album would be a an experimental effort, stating, "... it's not gonna be a #1 album. That's where I'm at right now. I wanna make the most experimental album I ever made." Jay-Z elaborated that like Kanye, he was unsatisfied with contemporary hip hop, was being inspired by indie-rockers like Grizzly Bear and asserted his belief that the indie rock movement would play an important role in the continued evolution of hip-hop. The alternative hip hop movement is not limited solely to the United States, as genre-defying rappers such as Somalian poet K'naan, Japanesemarker rapper Shing02, and especially Sri Lankanmarker artist M.I.A. have achieved considerable worldwide recognition. In 2009, TIME magazine placed M.I.A in the Time 100 list of "World's Most Influential people" for having "global influence across many genres." Today, due in part to the increasing use of music distribution through the internet, many alternative rap artists are able to find acceptance by far-reaching audiences. Several burgeoning artists such as Kid Cudi and Drake have managed to attain record-breaking, chart-topping hit songs, "Day 'n' Night" and "Successful" respectively, which they both released on free online mixtapes without the help of a major record label. The pair, along with other new artists such as Wale, Asher Roth, The Cool Kids, and B.o.B, openly acknowledge being directly influenced by their '90s alt-rap predecessors in addition to alt-rock groups while their music has been noted by critics as expressing eclectic sounds, life experiences and emotions rarely seen in mainstream hip hop.



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