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Hip-hop: The most influential culture

What comes to your mind when you hear the word HIP-HOP, I bet its rap music or break dance or for some Oldtimers it might be violent songs  glorifying drug use and violence and use of lot of slangs, but hip-hop is much more than that, hip-hop is a culture with different elements and attributes it is much more than just rap songs break beats and dancing  though music and dance is two of the most important elements of hip hop culture but music and dance has always been very important elements of any culture

Hip hop originated in the streets of new York in the late 1970s and 1980s when unemployment was on a rise, the streets of New York was flooded with drugs, and government has declared the infamous “War on Drugs” and many minorities found themselves on the other side of it, so during that turbulent times in America the youth has found a way to vent their pain and express themselves thought art dance and music and from there hip hop got its 5 most important elements, MCing (oral), turntablism or DJing (aural), b-boying (physical), graffiti art (visual) and knowledge and using these elements the youths of New York expressed what they were going through and by definition a culture is integrated pattern of human knowledge belief and behaviour that depends upon the capacity of learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generation and hip-hop culture fairs very well in this aspect people are able to tell stories with rap songs which because of its narrative nature is able to communicate much better than any other music form, b-boying or dancing to break beats played by the djs gave people a place to vent out in a constructive manner and graffities made possible for artist to express and even rebel and protest in the most positive and artistic manner, so all the elements of hip hop culture is artistic and art is very powerful tool to communicate

As we know music is one of the most powerful tools to communicate it guides our perception and creates an impact which has the ability to transform our society or start a revolution and that is why we have national anthems, national songs and war songs etc. Hip-hop music is always used to guide social and political perceptions. In 1991 there was armed crackdown  in  Belgrade, Serbia and a particular radio station named B92 was banned from transmitting the news by the government so what the station did they played a hip-hop song by the name “fight the power” by public enemy (which is named the most influential song ever made, later by the rolling stones magazine)over and over again and the reason B-92 played “fight the power again and again because they are able to communicate the message to the pubic with the song what they were not able say. So, why all the way in Serbia they decided to use a song made in Long Island, New York city,  because it was hip-hop, no genre is able to pass knowledge as efficiently as hip hop, it has the highest vocabulary, an average hip hop song has 1900 words in it, if we also consider the slang, metaphor and dialogue in an hip hop song the depth is exponential

Hip hop is the only culture that that analyses, creates and identifies trends in human culture this fast, it is the only culture that transfers transcribes and transmits this much knowledge and that is why it has created so much impact and influence around the world So what I am listing some hip hop music , movies and documentaries which enable you understand hip hop in a different light


1.       A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

2.      Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

3.      Nas – Illmatic

4.      2Pac- All Eyez On Me

5.      Mos Def- Black On Both Sides

6.      NWA- Straight Outta Compton

7.      Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang

8.      Eminem - The Marshal Mathers LP

9.      Dead Prez - Let's Get Free

10.   Kendrik Lamar- Damn


1.      Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap (2012)

2.      Wild Style (1983)

3.      Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)

4.      Big Fun In The Big Town (1986)

5.      Rhyme & Reason (1997)

6.      Scratch (2001)

7.      Tupac: Resurrection (2003)

8.      And you don’t stop:30 years of hip hop (2004)

9.      Fresh Dressed (2015)

10.   8 miles

- Hanif Mohammad



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