Looking to recognize hip hop? It’s means more than just a music style or a genre – hip hop is whole culture, taking in music, DJ-ing, dance and also art. To provide you a an excellent overview, we’ll look at the five aspects of i know well hop, including:

Five elements of hip Hop

B-BoyingMC-ingBeat BoxingDJ-ingGraffitiHip Hop Culture

New York City’s Afrika Bambaataa ended up being known together ‘the Godfather’. A pioneering DJ and music producer, the organised block parties in the Bronx throughout the so late 1970s. Forming Universal Zulu country as a way to store the city’s youth far from corridor life, drugs and violence, it urged peace and also unity with DJing, breakdancing, rapping and visual arts – i m sorry Bambaataa categorised together the ‘four elements’ of hip hop.

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In i know good hop, B-boying – also known as breaking - is dancing. The term to be coined through Kool Herc, who was a DJ because that Bronx block next – they supplied spinning (power) moves, footwork and also freeze to dance to the break part of the music. The format was developed in the beforehand 1970s by african American and Latino americans in new York’s south Bronx – the 5 original ‘core’ moves were: optimal rock, footwork, back rock, freezes and power moves. 90s break was carried to the fore through Rock secure Crew – and as DJs invented brand-new ways come elongate your records’ break beats, the dancers to be given much more time come invent and experiment – introducing backspins and also windmills.

In 1983, the movieFlashdancefeatured a B-boying and also popping sequence, which helped B-boying to overcome over and become a an international craze, and also gave climb to break movies such asBreakin’andBeat Street.

The best B-Boyers

WingMennoIsseiVicious VictorLil ZooJinjo Crew


A member that Jinjo Crew, wing likes to develop highly comprehensive patterns that movement, and incorporate facility combinations and flows – his surname was motivated by the easy of his moves. Breakdancing has moved right into the mainstream in Korea, perhaps since their crews room so professional at it, as Wing notes, ‘Even though break dancing was created by Western dance crews, asian B-boys have created a reputation for elevating the level and also complexity that the dance moves. Something about our body type allows united state to make for the right B-boy dancers.’


Red Bull BC One all Star Menno van Gorp has actually one of the most original formats on the scene, being a understand of smooth blow-ups and also masses of explosive energy. Originally inspired by operation DMC’s video clip for ‘It’s like That’, the learned his first moves indigenous his cousins.


In his residence town in Kyushu (the most southwestern of Japan’s main islands), Issei was simply six year old as soon as he got into breakdancing. He’s well-known for his seamless combinations the high-level methods – and his originality.

Vicious Victor

You could say it’s in the blood: Victor’s father started breaking in his indigenous Mexico in the 80s and taught his son once he was six; Victor gained the trust to really go for it age eleven, affected by new York’s legendary Rock secure Crew. He’s still motivated by initial old college hip hop – and also wants to embrace the entirety culture, saying that, ‘nowadays, most world just execute one thing. Ns feel favor going into other ingredient lie Djing and also MCing really helps your breaking. You acquire inspired more.’

Lil Zoo

Born and raised in Morocco, Lil Zoo relocated to Innsbruck, aiming to attain success ~ above the an international Bboy scene. He’s also component of dance crew Lhiba Kingzoo, who have collaborated v artists such as Busta Rhymes and also Jennifer Lopez.

Jinjo Crew

Break dancing started to affect South oriental youth in the so late ’80s. Oriental B-boy pioneers Jinjo Crew were formed in 2001, and also became the first Korean act to become world champions. The crew have actually won the five largest competitions, including Red Bull BC One in 2008, the battle of the Year in 2010 and also the UK B-Boy Championships in 2012.


MC-ing (which is short for ‘Master that Ceremonies) walk under a few names, indigenous lyricism to rapping. As soon as hip hop started in the late 1970s, the MCs’ task was to introduce DJs at block parties – and hype increase the crowd. They began to talk in time to the beat, and also then to bring in rhymes, providing birth come rap.

A Tribe referred to as Quest explained the background to the hatchet in the liner note for your 1993 album,Midnight Marauders:

‘The usage of the ax MC once referring come a rhyming wordsmith originates from the dance halls that Jamaica. At every event, there would certainly be a grasp of ceremonies, that would present the various musical acts and would speak a toast in the layout of a rhyme… The hatchet MC continued to be offered by the children of females who relocated to new York City to work-related as maids in the 1970s. This MCs eventually created a brand-new style the music dubbed hip hop, based upon the rhyming they provided to do in Jamaica and also the breakbeats used in records. MC has additionally recently been embraced to refer to all that engineer music.’


The ideal Hip Hop MCs

Capturing the circulation of a rhyme and also matching it come the to win is a real art – commemorated by MTV’s ‘Hottest MCs in the Game’ peak 10, which has actually been compiled since 2007. Kanye West at this time holds the document for many appearances top top the list – he’s the only rapper to have showed up every year on the list due to the fact that its inception. The list is judged on whatever from creative execution – such as lyrical ability and flow – advertisement success, cultural impact, digital metrics (such together Twitter followers) – and also the artist need to have proactively released music the year.

The best MCs follow to the MTV list incorporate Nicki Minaj, the very first and only female rapper top top the list, in addition to Eminem, Lil Wayne and also Kendrick Lamar – that were all called ‘Hottest MC’ the first time they appeared on the list. Billboard.com’s perform of premier MCs consists of The Fugees’ Lauryn Hill and also Outkast’s Andre 3000, along with Nas and also Rakim.

The 10 best Hip Hop MCs:

Kendrick LamarJ. ColeJuice WrldTravis ScottDaBabyDrakePusha TLogicJoyner LucasTory Lanez


MC Pusha Tvia

Beat Boxing

Beat boxing may have actually taken a bit of a ago seat to rapping, but it was a an essential part the the early hip hop scene – in the early on 80s, beatboxers would earlier up rappers once drum machines were unaffordable. It’s a kind of vocal percussion, wherein you produce sounds v your mouth, tongue, lips, nose and throat: you’re basically a musical instrument.

Who to be the original beatbox pioneer? The artist most commonly cited is Doug E. Fresh, who mid-80s single ‘The Show/La Di Da Di’ showcased his an abilities and presented a fixed of showmanship, particularly for his phase shows. Because that beatboxing, the key percussion sounds you require to have the ability to finesse are a kick-drum ( a ‘p’ sound), high-that (a ‘th’ sound) and also the little snare north (a ‘kuh’ sound). ‘New school beatboxing’ includes much more musicality – happen in facets such as dubstep, and with a focus on flow and speed.

The finest Beatboxers

Doug E FreshBiz MarkieRahzelKenny MuhammadKid Lucky

Doug E. Fresh

The man dubbed ‘the Original human being Beatbox’ has had actually a career covering over 30 years, showing up as a mentor top top American Idol, setting up a restaurant in new York City and also making his mark as a lifelong activist. His immediate classics, ‘The Show’ and also ‘La Di Da Di’, tape-recorded with Slick Rick and also the obtain Fresh Crew, led to the latter ending up being the 5th most sampled song in music’s history.

Plus, he was the first rapper to do at the unified Nations and joined forces with Michelle Obama on her ‘Let’s Move’ campaign, aiming to promote better health because that children, v his i know well Hop Public wellness nonprofit. Not to point out the fact that he’s averaged 200 live performances a year for the previous two decades. New by name, new by nature.

Want a deep dive top top ‘La Di Da Di’? Watch note Ronson’s TED talk on just how sampling changed music and the methods in i m sorry Doug E. Fresh’s track has actually been reimagined because that every generation since its release.

Biz Markie

beatboxer, rapper, DJ, actor, comedian, TV personality and also spokesperson, Biz Markie has actually done that all. He exit his debut album, Goin’ Off, in 1988 and also his many successful single, ‘Just a Friend’, ~ above which he raps and sings, came from his 2nd album in 1989. As well as his talent because that beatboxing, he likewise performed funny raps, causing his nickname ‘the clown prince of hip hop’.


Known together the ‘Godfather that Noise’, Rahzel declared, ‘you’ve gotta feeling the soul of the music, it’s not just around the beat and also the bass.’ The brand-new Yorker, a onetime member the The Roots, has functioned with a selection of artists consisting of Erykah Badu, Ben Harper, Common, Rakim and Sean Paul.

Kenny Muhammad

AKA The person Orchestra, has actually inspiration as varied as beatboxing’s very own roots. He revealed that, ‘My mommy played a many James Brown, planet Wind and Fire. I tried to discover a way to duplicate sound; i heard the Fat Boys as soon as they came out, and that go out me away. All these artists that did something percussive, harmonic through their vocals, they inspired me to take it it to another level.’

Kid Lucky

Kid lucky was ‘instrumental in bringing together the country’s east coast and West coastline beatboxers.’ he coined his own term, Beatrhyming, which to be a mix of singing, rapping and beatboxing and also holds yearly events in NYC including the ‘American person Beatbox Festival’.


The original form of Djing was done come loop north breaks utilizing turntables to do the ‘break’ critical longer. This adjusted music substantially as it gave B-boys the beats to break to, and also for MCs to rap to. Rappers may have actually taken the much more front and also centre place in i know good hop, yet the innovators that scratching, cutting, backspins and also needle drops listed the structures for lock to develop on.

Pioneers contained Grandmaster Flash and mixtape king DJ Clue, however it to be DJ Kool Herc who got there first, hosting a earlier to school Jam through his sisters in 1973. At the party, Herc unveiled a technique called ‘The Merry go Round’, play breaks back to back.

The finest hip hop DJs

Grandmaster FlashDJ PremierLil JohnJam understand Jay

Grandmaster Flash

The first DJ to come to be a superstar – and was inducted right into the absent & role Hall of Fame as a result.

DJ Premier

DJ Premiere produced The well known B.I.G., Jay-Z and Gang Starr, however is likewise an top turntablist.

Lil John

Lil john was in ~ the forefront of the Atlanta scene of the 90s. Native playing home parties and clubs, he to be recruited as So for this reason Def’s executive Vice president of A&R, yet kept his ear to the ground together a DJ on neighborhood station V-103.

Jam grasp Jay

Jam understand Jay assisted to placed rap ~ above the radar throughout the 80s together the DJ because that Run-DMC. And, having launched his own record label, Jam master Jay Records, in the 90s, the discovered and mentored 50 Cent.

Hip Hop Graffiti

As hip hop to be all around making a new form of music express messages about everyday life, graffiti to be the extension of that v art. I know good hop graffiti began with tags – do your existence felt in the city and stamping her individuality on it, and first emerged in the so late 60s in new York and Philadelphia.

One of its early big names, Cameron ‘Grandmaster’ Flowers, that was also making music, described the faster incarnations that graffiti as, ‘just, “Here’s mine name. Look at how numerous times I’ve written it. Look at how numerous places you could see me from one finish of city to the other”’. Graffiti artists would spray their name, and perhaps a street number – fast, to prevent the police.

The 70s saw more media attention and an ext competition, through ever-increasing and also more facility tags – and also in the 80s, graffiti stepped into the fine art work with the landmark MoMA show, ‘New York/New Wave’ placing works by Warhol and also Mapplethorpe together up-and-coming Jean-Michel Basquiat.

But in ~ heart, it stayed an underground art form, as British photographer Janette Beckman, whose portraits of i know well hop stars have graced album covers and also magazines, remembers: ‘We would be having parties at my studio and the artists would tell stories about how they would certainly go in a hardware store wearing a big coat come steal paint throughout the day. Then, in ~ night, they would certainly sneak out of the window so your parents wouldn’t hear them and go come a yard to repaint a train.’

‘There to be guard dogs and also rival gangs, and also you might be mugged, robbed, shot, or arrested. But they would sneakback into their bedrooms and still walk to school. Over there is something around the struggle and the passion it takes to make art choose that.’

The most prominent graffiti artists:

Lee QuinoñesLady PinkZephyrJohn 'Crash' MatosKeith Haring

Lee Quinoñes

An American-Puerto Rican artist well-known for his new York subway graffiti throughout the 70s and also 80s, i m sorry addressed politics and cultural issues. He later collaborated top top graphics for brands such as Adidas and also Supreme.

Lady Pink

Born in Ecuador and raised in new York City, Pink started her graffiti career in 1979, painting subway trains until 1985. Her occupational now functions in the Whitney Museum, brand-new York’s MET, and the Groningen Museum in Holland.


Zephyr additionally began painting his moniker on subway cars, and became component of the very first wave the graffiti artist to do the transition to galleries. In 1983, he to be hired by director Charlie Ahearn come design and art direct the title sequence for the very first hip hop film, Wild Style.

John ‘Crash’ Matos

Matos picked up his first can the spray paint as soon as he was simply thirteen. His energetic, colourful designs suggest to celebrity and also comic publication culture, much like Andy Warhol and also Roy Lichtenstein. He involved the critics’ attention as soon as he maintain ‘Graffiti art Success for America’ in ~ the Fashion Moda in 1980 and his work shows up in collection at the Brooklyn Museum, and also the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, amongst others.

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Keith Haring

Haring became possibly the ideal known graffiti artist that all, painting murals all over new York as a way to give ago to his community, and to advanced awareness because that health-related issues, particularly AIDS. You deserve to still see his work-related for cost-free at Brooklyn’s Woodhull clinical Center and also his last artwork, a actors bronze triptych at the Cathedral Church that St. Man the Divine.