Hip hop has come a long way. Started in the 1970s by African American communities living in New York specifically in the Bronx area, the genre has now reached worldwide mainstream audiences. Born at Block Parties, DJs incorporated funk and soul music which received popular reception from audiences. This sparked DJs to isolate the percussive breaks in popular songs and extend them by using two turn tables.
The definition of Hip Hop is stylized rhythmic music that accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. Lyrics often reflect a way of life or personal struggle. Early hip hop contained the day to day struggle of living in the Bronx and the difficulties this involved. Hip Hop became the voice for disenfranchised youth of low economic areas, as the culture reflected the social, economical and political realities of their lives.
By the mid 1980s and the early 1990s Hip Hop had become main stream and reached its golden age. Its diversity, quality, innovation and influence had peaked and the genre was listened to by wide audiences outside of its area of origin, New York. The Rolling Stone magazine commented on this time, ‘It seemed that every new single reinvented the genre.’ There were many emerging Hip Hop artists and most were experimenting and discovering a style and flow that suited them best. This era saw the emergent of Hip Hop icons such as Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy. MTV’s Sway Calloway described this time, ‘The thing that made that era so great is that nothing was contrived. Everything was still being discovered and everything was still innovative and new.’
As Hip Hop became more and more popular even more Hip Hop artist began to emerge. This was incorporated with Hip Hop culture to include Hip Hop dancing, rapping, DJing and graffiti. Today Hip Hop’s most recognised stars include 50 Cent, Jay Z, Eminem and The Game. There are many t-shirts available to pay homage and indulge in your love of Hip Hop. T-shirts featuring The Black Eyed Peas, The Beastie Boys and 50 Cent are widely available on the Internet. There are also t-shirts available to purchase that commemorate dead Hip Hop stars, most who have died during ‘Beef’, or arguments regarding respect. These include B.I.G inspired, ‘When I grow up I want2 Beef Amous’, a nod to his infamous death and a Tupac Warhol style coloured t shirt.
There have been recent talks about Hip Hop being dead. This was sparked by the huge drop in sales and lack of albums sold. It does however still hold the most interest and popularity for teenagers and young adults and its sales are said to have dropped due to illegal downloads. Either way, if you love Hip Hop a t-shirt is the best way to tell the world.
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