HIP HOP: 5 Elements of Pioneer-ism of
5 Elements of Pioneer-ism
When I consider the five elements of Hip Hop (MCing, BBoying, DJing, Grafitti and the knowledge) I am reminded that the elements of culture include; symbols, values, language and customs, which include art and belief systems. Combining the above to the inevitable travel of sound, aligning the social and political agenda of the 70s and 80s in New York City with entertainment; thus creating an economical foundation for Blacks and Latinos, I ask, who pioneered this shift in Black culture at such a crucial time? Creating, naming and living this thing called Hip Hop!
The year is 1977 and a group of young kids are living on PLANET ROCK. Poverty and hard times have created unbearable conditions for families to live comfortably and to progress on Planet Rock. However, in the midst of human suffering, these kids, children of African descent, always instinctively create an outlet to creatively express their conditions and move toward solutions. Black people embody tenacious spirits that will not be hindered from living and fulfilling their destiny. So, a few warriors by the names of Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc blasted the rock and assisted the force in breaking ground.
the solid mineral material forming part of the surface of the earth and other similar planets, exposed on the surface or underlying the soil or oceans.
a large piece of rock that has become detached from a cliff or mountain; a boulder.
used in similes and metaphors to refer to someone or something that is extremely strong, reliable, or hard.
Heavily inspired by the Black Power Mixtape and The Freshest Kids documentary, I started to consider what was going on in NYC between 1966 and 1985? Where did Hip Hop truly come from? The way I see it, it was always here. We didnt recreate the wheel we just evolved. The ancestors have been moving music and culture through the African Diaspora.
(1) The first person that comes to mind as a voice and a powerful force of the movement and a Pioneer of Hip Hop is James Brown.
As mentioned in the film The Freshest Kids, James Browns music was and still is a heavy influence on the elements of Hip Hop. James used Soul, funk, politics, rhythm and blues (5 elements) to move the people forward. Songs like, Say it loud, Im black and Im proud. Funky Drummer Get up, Get into it, Get involved were heavily sampled by DJs and Producers establishing the sound of Hip Hop. I also can see the influence he had on MCing. His direction of his band and the call and response technique that he used in his music was genius and is very present in Hip Hop music today.
(2) Nina Simone is Hip Hop! Femininity is an element that is almost always overlooked in Hip Hop. And while Id like to name Queen Latifah and MC Lyte, who are Pioneers, before them there was MC Sha-Rock a member of The Bronx group Funk Four + One. There were many in the 70s female MCs, but Sha-Rock is notably the original B-Girl. As a MC, break dancer and the only female in the group Funky Four + 1, MC Sha-Rock established her title as the first female MC.
(3) The formation of groups contributes heavily to the roster of amazing Hip Hop artist. In the beginning there was the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Groups are exciting and cover major performance and marketing ground. More importantly they balance and deliver the message. For my third Pioneer noting I chose The Last Poets. The Last Poets is a group of Poets and Musicians who were revolutionary in the 1960s & 70s. The Black Power Mixtape captured the voice of Abiodun Oyewole, the lead and original member of the group. They established in Harlem and went on to have global acclaim for articulating their observation of ghetto life, race relations and urban politics. Our generation may not have been exposed to their early work such as, Niggers are Scared of Revolution or Die Nigga or maybe we have and didnt realize who these Artist were and their role in art & culture. However, we got a refreshing introduction when Kanye West produced The Corner by Common and we heard Abiodun Oyewole AGAIN for the first time!
(4) Politics and Economics. We ALL know the story about Sugar Hill Gang. Known for their historical hit Rappers Delight the first rap record to have commercial appeal and put Hip Hop on the map for REAL. Over the past thirty years there have been great debates about who created the first rap song, which established the culture. Rap music didnt start in 1979 with Rappers Delight, but when this song hit the radio it catapulted everything that followed. Thus, we have Hip Hop. RIP Big Bank Hank.
(5) The visual aspect of Hip Hop is as important as the music. While graffiti is still present in the culture the visual communication of Hip Hop is expressed in fashion and in photography. Photographers like Gordon Parks and James Van Der Zee magnificently documented Black culture with a heavy emphasis on art and entertainment from as far back as the 50s. In the late 80s early 90s Photographer, Ernie Paniccioli chronicled Hip Hop history by capturing our favorites. He created a book called Who Shot Ya, Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography, in 2002. I believe that Ernie pioneered a new group of visual Hip Hop artist through his work.
Google Dictionary – Rock
The Last Poets
Sugar Hill Gang