My idols are from the Ol skool era and way too many to mention but I also love New Skool & like to mix them up, so I wanted to share that love with you in the story of Rap & Hip-Hop that I grew up with.
There is nothing really set in stone as to how Rap began or when, It's thought that it has its roots firmly planted in African soil where they would chant or tell stories with nothing but the beat of a drum, it was spoken word, poetry. Rap is about talking rhythmically usually to a beat.
However, it didn't burst onto the main scene until the late 70's when a band called the Sugarhill Gang released their awesome hit "Rappers Delight" which is also thought to be the first recorded track that created the term Hip-hop. I love the spirit and energy of them doing their thing here around 95. What some people don’t realise is Rap and Hip-Hop are two separate genres, sure they're often worked in together but Hip-Hop is a whole separate culture of its own & made up of 4 distinctive elements, it's a total body experience, Rap (oral, spoken word) Djing (aural- of the ears) Breakdance-(physical) & Graffiti (visual).
For some there is no divide, for others the separation of the two genres is very important,So just because someone loves Hip-Hop, don't assume they love Rap. The term Hip-Hop wasn't used until the late 70's but the origin stemmed from block parties in the South Bronx (New York) held by the Ghettobrothers, a Latino gang & music group who used to plug the amps for their instruments into lamposts on 163rd Street and Prospect Avenue to showcase their talent.
Others were soon having their own block parties. A Dj by the name of Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue would mix samples from exsisting records & give his own shout outs to the crowd over the top. and it was the "Back To School Jam" party on 11th August 1973 that has become the birthday of Hip Hop. Dj Kool Herc is credited as the Father of Hip-Hop, while DJ Afrika Bambaataa is credited for forming the structure of Hip-Hop with terms such as MCing, DJing, B-boying and Graffiti.
Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins, a member of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five is credited with coining the phrase "Hip-Hop" The story goes that he was teasing a friend who'd just joined the USA army by scatting hip/hop....hip/hop...hip/hop, as if to mimic a soldier marching, he later began using it in his own stage performances.
The group often performed with disco artists who would refer to this new type of music by calling them "hip hoppers". The name was initially meant as a sign of disrespect, but soon came to identify a new music genre & culture. It was then used by the Sugarhill gang on the track Rappers Delight. The track starts "I said a hip, hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop" etc.
Then a Bronx Dj called Lovebug Starski released a track called "Positive Life" using the word Hip-Hop & Dj Hollywood began using the word to describe this new disco Rap music. By the late 1970s the culture had gained media attention with Billboard magazine printing an article. Debbie Harry of Blondie took Nile Rodgers of Chic to an event, because the main backing track used was the break from Chics "Good Times". The new style influenced Debbie Harry and although described as a New Wave Band, Blondie released a single in 1981 called "Rapture" which sees Debbie rapping. It became the first major single containing Hip-Hop elements by a white group or artist to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, & took the genre & culture to a whole new audience.
The 80's were to see a huge emergence of Hip-Hop In the mainstream & artists taking it to another level. In 1982 Africa Bambaataa & the SoulSonic Force released electro-funk track "Planet Rock" & they just kept coming, Run Dmc, Chuck D & Public Enemy & way too many to mention. But it was Grandmaster Flash & the Furious fives "The Message" that was the first track widely considered to be the pioneering force for conscious rap.
When it comes to the history of anything it’s a bit like religion, everyone’s gonna have their take on how it was, how it should be & who did what. There are those that say they played a part in Hip-Hops birth but have been left out, and I believe that to be true, there are others that say someone has taken credit for the part they played in Hip-Hops history, and I also believe that to be true. There are also many different styles of Rap & Hip-Hop where the arguments and debates will rage on for sure. Some believe that Hip-Hop started in Brooklyn others Jamaica, some say it originated as way back as the 1920's not 70's
Personally, I prefer to make music without labels, what really matters is your own truth while still respecting others. Over the decades I believe the genre has lost its way. There's so much injustice in this world and we have young brothers and sisters out on the streets killing each other and yet so many artists in a position to stand up and make a difference are too busy putting their name to trainers and making reality TV, too many artists, male & female think their bigger than Hip-Hop. That's not the case, we need to remember why Rap/Hip-Hop came into existence and use the gift of our words to make that difference when given the opportunity, it's important for the future of the genre and younger generations taking forward what's being passed down to them.