Hip Hop Culture Origins

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.

Def Jam Rockstar Includes Underground Hip Hop

Guitar hero, rock band, rock hero, and beatles rock band are all fun and games, but they certainly don’t appeal to those who prefer hip-hop music over rock and roll. But Def Jam Rapstar is set to launch for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii on October 5th. With Def Jam Rapstar gamers put their rap skills to the test by rapping over the lyrics of famous rap classics, as well as putting their own rap skills to the test in Freestyle mode. The game includes never before heard hip-hop beats by Hip Hop’s most famous producers including DJ Khalil, Cool and Dre. The rap classics featured on the game range from club bangers to Underground Hip Hop songs. Many underground rappers and their underground hi hop songs will appeal to those gamers with a good ear. Some of these tracks include:

A Tribe Called Quest — “Scenario”
Big Pun featuring Joe — “Still Not a Player”
Jim Jones — “We Fly High”
LL Cool J — “Mama Said Knock You Out”
Ludacris — “Stand Up”
Onyx — “Slam”
Run DMC — “Run’s House”

There will be over 40 tracks, new, classic underground, and old school hip hop, on Def Jam Rapstar.

Immortal Technique’s Political Messages and Political Actions

Immortal Technique is a star in the Underground Hip Hop rap world. Known for his political messages, he continues to prove knowledge and political awareness through his generous donations and missions to both Haiti and Afghanistan.

Immortal Technique used his own earnings from “The 3rd World” album to travel to Afghanistan to support human rights organizations and work to rebuild areas stricken by the horrors of the war. In Afghanistan, Immortal Technique put on a benefit show where he used the money raised and people’s donations (including his own) to help fight poverty, provide food, shelter, and other life necessities, as well as build an orphanage. You can read more about Immortal Technique’s public statements at the blog “purehip-hop.”

Immortal Technique’s controversial lyrics have long discussed political matters. In his song “Bin Laden”, Immortal Technique expresses his conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11. Immortal Technique’s style reflects the same political presence of Public Enemy and KRS-One, and he, like his past idols, is certainly revolutionary for his time. With collaborations with other underground rappers like Dead Prez, his voice is strong. Perhaps because of his controversial lyricism he is silenced into the underground, but his message is definitely one that should be heard by more.

The rapper also traveled to Haiti to spread awareness as well as aid to the devastated island. It is good to see Immortal Technique, a world renown political lyricist, actually coming through on his words with his actions. This is refreshing compared to other rappers who seem to concern themselves with not much more than the violence they produce, the drugs they abuse, and the money they blow.

Despite being busy with charity work, Immortal Technique continues to work on his music. “The Middle Passage” is currently in production where he is working along with Southpaw to produce some new tracks. The album promises to articulate politically conscious raps as well as feature guest appearances that will enhance the messages. Early next year Immortal Technique speaks of benefit concerts in America for his fans.