In what way is hip hop different from other kinds of music? Why do we think this?
This is a very interesting question, which I’ll try to answer here. I won’t delve into the music in this essay because I believe it’s good to keep this as simple as humanly possible.
Some examples –
“Hips are for dancing” – a quote found in hip hop history (and a common misconception. A few people actually did dance.) A hip hop song from the late 80’s and early 90’s called “D.L. Rock (Feat. Kool G Rap)” is full of hip hop and disco. But it’s a hip hop song, full stop. And it’s a good hip hop song, full stop. No dancing is implied. It’s an example of hip hop’s inherent diversity. If hip hop has been “different” from other forms of cultural expression, it’s been by doing things that are different.
“Hip hop doesn’t need to be hipster, hipster, hipster” – in the 90’s a popular American hip hop writer would take this very seriously. Hip hop fans love their hipsters. However hipsters are not “hipsters”. Hipsters are people who like hiphop, hip hop’s genre that mixes in some funk and electronic elements.
Hip hop’s original purpose was not to be “hipster”. Hip hop started out in the 80’s as an alternative to punk rock. Punk rock and disco was an alternative for older people who were alienated from mainstream society, and were looking for something different. Hip hop’s original purpose was not to be hipster. Hip hop started out as an alternative to punk rock. Punk rock and disco was an alternative for older people who were alienated from mainstream society, and were looking for something different. Hip hop’s original purpose was not to be hipster.
To me hip hop has always been about freedom and rebellion, the freedom to do what you want. When the industry is corrupt, rap music is a lot more accessible to a lot of people who have neither the time nor the money to make a good album. The genre is also a place where people who aren’t interested in music to begin with can take inspiration to make hip hop music.
Here’s a quick list of things I consider important in defining hip hop:
It’s an alternative to mainstream rap music
It is not “just another rap music”
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