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Transcript of Droppin Science
Late eighties through mid nineties "The golden Age
In this course you will learn about the foundation of Hip Hop as a powerful, artistic cultural force in society and gain an understanding of its
from the past, to the present and into the future.
In so doing, you will be equipped to become a
the spirit of hip hop whether through one of the artistic elements, through
or simply through
and working, in your own special and unique way, to
a reality for your community that is based upon and inspired by the positive spiritual force of hip hop.
In this program you will learn about:
-The historical roots of hip hop dating back to African cultural traditions
-The evolution of Hip Hop from its
in the South Bronx through the "golden age " of Hip Hop to today
elements of the Music business including: production costs,
marketing, and an overview of the
shifting of the music
and the careers that still exist within the industry structure
You will also have the opportunity to learn about making a song from start to finish and begin creating your own song
in western Africa
the oral tradition
and history of a
village or family.
"Though [the griot] has to know many
songs without error, he must also have the ability to
on current events, chance incidents and the passing scene. His
can be devastating and his knowledge of local history
. Although they are popularly known as "praise singers", griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip,
Oral History Programs are one of the best
to the sense of historical
among the young people we work with. When we tell our students to interview parents, grandparents and neighbors about things that happens in the past, we not only
between children and adults that takes place all too rarely in today's society, we honor community story telling traditions that are in danger of dying out.
-Mark Naison, Fordham University
(from Hip Hop and Oral History: Turning Students into "Griots For a New Age")
It is important to understand this aspect of African cultural history: That the spoken word was emphasized almost exclusively, as opposed to the written word. All of the information was passed down to, and between the people through the spoken word and the Griot was at the center of this tradition
What's the Point?
Griots present to us a lifeline into the ancient African oral tradition. This lifeline gives us insight into the natural roots of hip hop and gives us an important understanding of the power of the spoken word as according to our African traditions.
Songs of Slavery
As we know, when Africans were brought to the Americas we lost many of the connections we had with various elements of our culture including our religion, our daily customs our language and many elements of our arts.
Slaves were thus forced to reinvent the elements of their music, language and culture.
From the earliest
settlements, folktales and fables circulated within slave communities in the South, reflecting the oral traditions of African societies and
African symbolism and
. The rabbit, for example, was borrowed from African stories to represent the "trickster" in tales told by the enslaved. Folktales such as the popular Brer Rabbit adventures not only gave slaves a chance to create alternate realities in which they could experience revenge and other forbidden impulses, but they also imparted practical knowledge and survival and coping strategies to listeners.
During slavery, songs of worship, songs while working and songs during recreation were an important part of the daily lives of African Americans. These songs were instrumental in helping the slaves to endure and use creativity and vision to tell their stories and empowered them to survive in a very hostile world. They were the original "word on the street" for African Americans
What's the Point
Evolution of African American Music Forms
R&B / Soul/Funk
Like all African American music forms, Gospel Music is a
of African and Western styles and is a strong reflection of African cultural traditions especially in regards to its rhythms and its acceptance of
Some other notable historical Gospel music figures include
the Golden Gate jubilee quartet, sister Rosetta Thorpe and Ms. Albertina Walker who delivered with powerful rhythm
Out of the trials and hardships of slavery, African Americans emerged with songs of praise and worship that were both original and reinventions of traditional gospel songs.
Thomas Andrew Dorsey
was known as the father of "Black Gospel" music, and was responsible for writing "Take my hand Precious Lord" and "Peace in the Valley". He was a pianist who combined elements of Jazz and the blues with gospel
One of Dorsey's
is probably the most widely celebrated gospel artist of all time
What's the point
Gospel Music was a
in praise music created by African Americans through the
of personal inflection, rhythm and blues style note compositions. This music also spoke about God in a way that was specific to African American liberation and laid the foundation for all other modern music forms for African Americans.
The blues are a
to modern (rap) music in the particular sense that again, in this
here were raw expressions of emotions telling stories about the
of human interaction. Men told tales of women leaving them, women told tales of men beating them and everything in between. The other similarity was that the stories were often told in a
These elements made (and make) it easy for people to connect with the blues and “feel” the music in much the same way that today’s listeners connect with and “feel” hip hop.
The blues came, at least partly, out of the songs slaves sung, out of field hollers and what W.E.B.
DuBois termed the “Sorrow Songs.” In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these
African American music: “blues songs seem to turn up everywhere in the Deep
South more or less
—in rural areas, small towns, and cities such as New Orleans
and Memphis” . Often the blues were sung by a single individual, accompanying himself on a guitar. Love, betrayal, poverty, drinking, bad luck and an
lifestyle are its themes.
What's the Point?
The blues give us a very revealing insight into the depth of content and emotional expression of our Musical roots as African Americans. They also give us a glimpse into the genesis of a rhythmic presentation style that evolved into hip hop.
Jazz is likely the most significant original American artistic creation..ever.. and further pushed the boundaries of sound and culture with contributions coming from a complex blending of diverse population groups. Originating in New Orleans at the turn of the century, Jazz was a blending of African and European musical styles and created a platform for musicians to , create, innovate and embark upon unique American music territory.
Jazz was the soundtrack music for a new era of African Americans asserting themselves and looking to
an independent path in the face of very difficult circumstances. The great Migration from the South into Northern cities (Chicago in particular) gave Southerners great work opportunities and gave the North
resources to work with in terms of musical talent. During the 1920s the music exploded in popularity
The evolution of Jazz fundamentally progressed through swing, Bop, avant garde and fusion. There were/are many other forms as diverse as the cultures that participated in creating this art form. It is an art form that most musicologists and historians alike, agree is the first uniquely American art form. This unique American flavor is one way that it bears similarity to hip hop.
There are too many historical jazz greats to name but some of the more prominent ones are
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie (Bird) Parker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, and Grover Washington
name just a few
R&B evolved out of the blues and
the influence of
and electrical instrumentation. The
of African American music was encapsulated largely in R & B and Rock and Roll. The meaning behind the name is this: the "rhythm" part comes from the music's typical dependance upon
and employ a backbeat (beats two and four accented in each measure). And the "blues" portion came from the lyrics and melodies of the songs, which were often sad, or 'blue' during the music's emergence in the World War II era. Over time the name was shortened to R&B as a matter of convenience. (http://randb.about.com/od/rb12/a/Rhythm_Blues.htm)
As R&B evolved it "fathered" other genres (rock and roll, soul music and funk music). These genres were significant in their innovation both in terms of both sound and style. Some early R&B/rock and roll stars include: Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Frankie Lyman. In the 1960's the soul and doo wop genres flourished with the Motown label and many artists out of Philadelphia. Then in the 1970's came the birth of Funk with James Brown (who was already a prominent soul artist) producing many albums with the JB's. Some other monumental groups were Parliament Funkadelic, Earth Wind and Fire, the Bar Kays, The Ohio players, Rufus, and Brick.
What Does it all mean?
R&B, soul and funk music were the latest prominent stages in the evolution of African American cultural music before the dawning of hip hop. Funk music in particular informed and fueled the spirit, sound and creativity of hip hop through breaks and samples and the foundation of hip hop style.
Hip Hop has sampled many forms of music but Soul and Funk provided the backbone of sampling and vigorously established the driving substance of the hip hop sound. This was demonstrated in the early hip hop parties thrown by Kool Herc where he became very popular through spinning the breaks in a variety of funk records
What is seldom discussed in the media is that the major component of Hip Hop History is Jamaican. As far back as the late 1950's Jamaican emcees where known to "toast" on top of (mostly American R&B) records that were being spun by deejays. This style evolved into rhyming and chanting and can be easily detected in our
Hip Hop In The Beginning
Hip Hop continued to evolve in the early years with Kool Herc playing parties spinning the breaks and spawning a movement of dance culture where people would dance to the breaks.
Hip Hop exploded in popularity as Afrika Bambaataa, the head of the Bronx NYC Black Spades gang embraced hip hop as a means for rival crews to battle as oppossed to actually being violent. He is the founder of the Universal Zulu Nation and is seen as much as Kool Herc as the godfather of hip hop
Hip Hop in the eighties
The 5 elements of Hip Hop
Nineties -2000s corporate
The present: dirty south crunk crossover
Discussion: Where does hip hop go from here?
Next Session: Business and Beats
4. Graffiti art
5. Knowledge wisdom and understanding
The hit song Rapper's delight was released in 1979 and this opened the door for hip hop to be exposed to a wider audience with radio airplay. This was the beginning of hip hop's rise in American pop culture
Breakdancing was a term used to describe the dancers who created a unique style of dancing to the "breaks". Breaking was a major force in increasing exposure for the Hip Hop culture
Party Music good vibes and growing success
Original Master lyricists
The late eighties through the mid nineties are known as the "Golden Age" of Hip Hop due to the
releases of high quality and the increasing
stream that the music generated. On the whole, the skill levels of emcees deejays and producers increased and the styles diversified significantly
Commercial rap from artists such as the Fresh Prince, Young MC , MC Hammer and Tone Loc enjoyed continued success but in my opinion (you are free of course to form your own) more interesting was the development of the genres of conscious rap and gangsta rap and how they both spoke of the blight of inner city African Americans and Latinos. During this time there was an awareness of "afrocentricity" that held significant
to counter and
the commercial and gangsta raps.
Continued commercial success
As Hip hop continued to grow in popularity corporations moved aggressively to maximize profits oof of the music. What transpired was the glorification of "fast life" images that glorified big money, sex, drugs and a gangsta lifestyle
Biggie Vs. Tupac
Commercial Gangsta Rap eventually kicked conscious rap to the curb and dominated the radio, mtv and misrepresented the fundamental nature of the culture as one of violent misogyny. The culmination of this development was the confict between biggie and tupac which sadly resulted in both of their deaths.
Into the 2000's Hip Hop continued still to enjoy incased commercial success with the introduction of artists such as 50 cent, JaRule, Jay Z, Eminem, Ludacris and many more. As Hip Hop became more and more lucrative
and Hollywood continued(and continue) to take notice by incorporating the elements of hip hop to sell products and glamourize certain images
The South cannot be ignored in regards to its influence on hip hop and has a long history of artists such as the Ghetto Boys and Scarface in the eighties, The Outkasts in the nineties and Zero and Trae in the 2000s
Rap has continued to evolve and take on many diversified forms with artists such as Nicki Minaj, Odd Future and Kanye West. The game has changed significantly in regards to the revenue stream however.
Whats the Point
Jazz was a bridge into a "hip" representation of culture and was a early version of urban "swag" that translated very easily into the hip hop culture. It also is a root form of hip hop especially regarding its driving basslines scat rhythms and bebop