Hip Hop culture begins in the underground. Over time, the Hip Hop culture emerges and makes itself more known. It is quickly popularized and mainstreamed, but The Roots and the core of hip hop reside in the world of the underground.
There are many elements making up the hip hop culture. These are known as the “five pillars” of hip hop and include rapping, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti, and beat boxing.
The entire hip hop culture was thought to originate in the Bronx of NYC during the 1970’s. Then, hip hop was an entirely underground phenomenon just beginning to develop and grow. This Underground Hip Hop music draws on previously popular genres like disco, funk, and soul music. In the Bronx, many artists added their own African, Jamaican, and Latino flavors which culminated into the new genre of hip hop. Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc was one of the founding fathers of beat making as he isolated the deep and booming bass that later became so marketable. From here, experiments with the turn table enabled more complex beats to be made that where easy to rap over. The sounds that we still hear in rap today like mixing, sampling, and scratching all came out of turntable techniques. Grand Wizard Theodore was seemingly the pioneer in turntableism. Throughout the 1980’s and into the 2000’s subgenres of hip hop like Old School Hip Hop, Gangsta Rap, and Club Rap emerged.
Today there is much criticism surrounding hip hop. Rapper Nas sums it up with his notorious statement, “Hip Hop is Dead.” Since the 1970’s, hip hop has come out from the underground and has made a long term place for itself in the mainstream. No longer is hip hop a counterculture. However, many rappers today are still categorized as “underground rappers” because of their unique ability to stay true to original roots of hip hop. Underground Hip Hop does not only refer to a style of rap, lyricism, and rhyming. Underground hip hop is still a culture that consists of breakdancing, DJing, Graffiti Art, beatboxing, and even street fashion. The underground hip hop culture remains the truest form of hip hop we have left today, and it is the most important. Mainstream hip hop artists continue to explore the world of the underground for inspiration.