Music is a powerful thing; it can start movements, subcultures, art forms and can transform communities for the better. Hip Hop is no different! 

Hip Hop: A Brief History 

But just what is Hip Hop? Hip Hop culture is made up of 4 or 5 pillars. Some include MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Graffiti and Knowledge as the pillars, other sources replace Breakdancing and Knowledge with ‘B-boying’ – which includes hip hop dance, body posturing, attitude and fashion. Hip Hop utilises “flipping” – drawing inspiration from old cultures and reinventing them for the modern context; for example, Tupac Shakur drew on Shakespeare’s Macbeth in his own work, for example in ‘Something Wicked’.

Fast Facts

Did you know: 

  • Hip Hop originated in South Bronx, NYC in the late 70s, and was strongly shaped by Latin-American and Black American communities
  • Hip Hop is often used as a means of imparting wisdom to younger generations, to instil morals and to honour older generations; for example, Lil’ Wayne’s debut album is almost entirely curse free to honour his mother’s wishes
  • the first popular Rap song ‘Rapper’s Delight’ being released in 1979 
  • the first major Hip Hop DJ and father of modern rapping was an 18 year old Jamaican-American, DJ Kool Herc
  • Grand Wizard Theodore, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash were other early pioneers in the DJing scene
  • the graffiti movement supposedly began in 1972 by a Greek American teen in the New York City subway
  • Grandmaster Flash is credited with creating the ‘Needle dropping’ technique
  • artists, especially in the conscious Hip Hop scene drew from civil rights thinkers, as well as the poetry of Amiri Baraka, Gil Scott-Heron, and the Last Poets, among others

Celebrate Hip Hop History Month with Us!

So how will you be enjoying Hip Hop History Month? At AdTonos, we’ve put together a playlist with some of the best songs that conscious Hip Hop has to offer! We hope you enjoy these beats as much as we do. You can also check out the playlist online.

Stop the Violence Movement – Self Destruction
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message  
Sa-Roc – Industry (End-Us-Try)
Dead Prez – Way of Life; Happiness
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y 
Public Enemy – What Kind of Power We Got?; He Got Game
Akala – Malcolm Said It
Lowkey – Something Wonderful
GoodieMob – Prey 4 Da Sheep
DMX – Slippin’
T.I – Ready for Whatever
Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones 
Arrested Development – Tennessee
Mary J Blige – Enough Cryin’, You Remind Me, Don’t Go
Method Man ft Mary J Blige – I’ll Be There For You
Tupac Shakur – Brenda’s Got a Baby; Changes 
Common ft Bilal – The Sixth Sense 
Missy Elliot ft Lil’ Kim & Mocha – Hit ‘Em wit da Hee 
Feloni / Trish Best – Blame It on Nothin’
A Tribe Called Quest – Rap Promoter
Nas – The World is Yours
J. Cole ft. Lil’ Baby – Pride is the Devil 
Mos Def/ Yasiin Bey – Mathematics
Salt n Pepa – None Of Your Business
The Roots ft Erykah Badu – You Got Me  
Joey Bada$$ feat CJ Fly – Hardknock  
Kendrick Lamar – Complexion (A Zulu Love)
Outkast – Rosa Parks
Lupe Fiasco – The Show Goes On
Talib Kweli ft Mary J Blige – I Try 
Black Star – Thieves in the Night 
KRS-One – Sound of da Police; Love’s Gonna Get’cha