Who would have thought that sometime in 1970's a revolutionary musical experiment would change the landscape in the music industry, igniting a stiff competition for the contemporary music as time passed by? This innovative music paved the way for some aspiring musicians worldwide to pursue a recording career. From its humble beginnings in Bronx, New York, it became a big hit in the international music scene and has already carved an image in the industry. The Beastie Boys, Wu Tang Clan, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Nas, Gang Starr, Outkast, Emimem, Kanye West and Queen Latifah are some of the vanguards of this type of music who became successful in their musical endeavours.

If you're a fan of any of the artists mentioned above, you'll definitely identify their brand of music – hip hop. This hip hop music is a trendy musical genre that is often used synonymously with rap but the former also represents the practices of an entire subculture while the latter is simply a style of music. The elements of hip hop are emceeing, deejaying, breakdancing, graffiti and beatboxing. Furthermore, hip hop is known for putting emphasis on the exceptional form of dress, use of slang words and overall mindset in hip hop.

Some say hip hop is not music at all but just a combination of a trash composition, irritating interpretation, and deafening sound from a trying hard musician. But if you try to listen carefully to hip hop music, you will see that generally it tells something significant about the status of the society as a whole. One thing is certain and cannot be denied: the message is true. Based on the vivid lyrics of the songs you can tell that some of the promoters of this hip hop music are among the best poets in the world.

A Brief History

1970's saw the emergence of hip hop culture in Bronx, New York through the African American communities. It was believed that the knack for rapping stems from the griot tradition in West Africa. These griots have a unique vocal style that is akin to rapping. No wonder it's so natural for them to come up with this hip hop since rhyming and performance have long been part of their culture. Double-dutch rhyming was another African American cultural tradition that makes use of rhyming and presentation incorporated in hip hop.

With regard to the term hip hop as a label for this brand of music, credit goes to Keith Cowboy. He was a rapper member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. But it was DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican immigrant, who was credited for the first hip hop music that was created in Bronx. He introduced Jamaica's sound system tradition wherein huge speakers are connected to a DJ console. From then on he started to recite poetic lines in rhythmic fashion over soul, rock, funk and dance music at house parties. Since there's a little percussive breaks in music, Herc decided to extend them with an audio mixer as well as two turntables. DJ's such as Afrika Bambaata, Grand Wizard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash supported this practice, which was eventually recognized as "turntablism."

However it was only in 1979 that rap music was recorded for the very first time by The Fatback Band, the title of which was "King Tim III (Personality Jock)." The Sugarhill Gang followed their footsteps by releasing their own track entitled "Rapper's Delight" on that same year. It became a hit and notched a place in the Billboard charts. Thereafter, many musicians engaged themselves into hip hop music and found a niche in the music industry through this style of music. To date, hip hop music enjoys a huge following from music enthusiast all over the world.

Going International

At the outset, hip hop music was unknown to other parts of the world prior to 1980's. It was confined within US territory. Then in 1980's, slowly but surely it started to gain recognition in the international music scene. Breakdancing was the first aspect of hip hop culture to reach countries like Australia, Germany, Japan and South Africa. Black Noise mastered first the practice then ventured into rap later in the decade. In France, hip hop started to generate public awareness by virtue of Dee Nasty's 1984 album Panamae City Rappin as well as compilations Rapattitude 1 and 2. Hip hop was considered a musical breakthrough during that time. With the technological advancement brought about by globalization, hip hop's influence has reached every continent in the world.

In Asia, Japan in particular started its own version through Hiroshi Fujiwara in the early 1980's. Japanese hip hop has shown much influence from old school hip hop, with emphasis on appealing beats, dance culture, relaxed nature, overall fun and imbibing it into their own music. With this, hip hop became one of the most successful music genres in Japan. As a result, confusion arose when it comes to the difference between hip hop and pop music. Nevertheless, hip hop has indeed made a mark in the music industry.

Hip Hop Nowadays

Hip hop music has greatly contributed in alleviating the status of the music industry. As shown in the record sales worldwide, millions of copies are sold and it became the ticket to stardom of some musicians who previously struggled to make a name for them. But just like any other undertaking, after the remarkable volume of sales, it also experienced a sudden decline. Critics view such outcome as due to the loss of enthusiasm of the target market. In other words the people are fed up with the redundant theme of violence, disheartening betrayal, degrading imagery and below-the-belt lyrics.

After a thorough review of the status of hip hop music, musicians found out that there is a need for innovation and revitalization to bring back the spark and win again the interest of the general public. Many changes were done with the way hip hop music is presented. There's the variation of themes, the careful use of words in the song itself, the creative risk taken on the interpretation, and the right timing of the sound effects. All these and more worked to the advantage of hip hop artists. The evolution of alternative hip hop turned out to be successful as more audience have shown support on the rebirth of hip hop music.