30 January 2015
Hip Hop as a Global Phenomenon When you hear the term Hip-Hop, what comes to mind? Is it music? Culture? Fashion? From the surface Hip Hop might seem like those aspects, but, at the bare minimum it is. In fact, Hip Hop includes the elements of Bboying/Bgirling, Tagging, DJing, MCing, Knowledge, and an Ancillary category such as fashion. Most of all Hip Hop is a genealogy that starts from African practices that still influence people today. Furthermore, it is a distinct phenomenon that is considered to be another iteration of “Oriki” which is an African praise poem and/or song. Oriki could be considered the birthed Hip Hop and much of the culture it embodies. It is the “verbal and visual invocations that affirm the identity of almost everything in existence, that energize, prepare, and summon their subject into action.” This genealogy has affected Hip Hop music in all corners of the [African] World in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Ghana, Australia, and England. "The idea of the Hip-Hop Generation is it brings together time and race, place and polyculturalism, hot beats and hybridity" (Chain.)1 Even though, Hip Hop originated from an African genealogy there has been modernization of this phenomenon. In the United States the artist Common represents Oriki in a contemporary way. He said that “maybe I write because I’ve learned to show certain parts of my heart on the page that I still struggle to capture in speech.” He is able to make poems into music and talks about Afro-Centricity in many of his songs. In comparison to other Hip Hop artists of today Common is said to be “real Hip Hop.” A big part of that is him starting true to what Hip Hop was founded on. He symbolizes governance because like previously stated he exhibits Oriki by turning his meaningful poetry into music. He also talks about the social structure especially within in Chicago where he grew up. Lastly, Common uses movement and memory to narrate as a story.
Besides the United States, Hip Hop is a phenomenon is many other regions of the world practice especially in the Caribbean. More specifically in Jamaica, Hip Hop is a culture that influences many other sectors of music, such as reggae. The artist DJ Kool Herc from Jamaica, was known as one of the earliest practitioners of Hip Hop across the global. Through the element of DJing he embodies what Hip Hop is. Growing up Herc would buy two copies of the same record and put them on separate turn tables. What he began to do would later be known as looping, the continuous playing of a section on a song. After having insight to do this, he became knowledgeable which is an important aspect of Hip Hop. From that point forward he would find different records to put together and put them on separate turntables creating hybridity of songs. He is able to use science and technology to mix songs together, recreate and repurpose music. In doing so, he made a social structure being the originator of Hip Hop. Many Brazilian have African descendants and therefore have the same influences of Hip Hop culture. One artist in particular, Emicida, is considered to be one of the best MCs in Brazil. He got his MC name from battling other MCs growing up, and it translates to “murdered.”…