Hip hop is both a music genre and a cultural movement developed in New York. It is said to have begun with the work of DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Afrika Bambaattaa. There are four fundamental elements in hip hop:
Hip hop dance as it grew has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, the scope of hip hop culture grew beyond the boundaries of its traditional four elements. KRS-ONE, a rapper from the golden age of hip hop, names nine elements of hip hop culture: the traditional four and beatboxing, plus hip hop fashion, hip hop slang, street knowledge, and street entrepreneurship. He also suggests that hip hop is a cultural movement.
Hip-hop is considered an important step in the history of music because, for the first time, non-tonal aspects of speech, its emphasis and lyricism, are the most identifiable aspects of vocalizations.
It is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dance crews often engage in freestyle dance competitions, referred to as battles. Crews, freestyling, and battles are identifiers of this style. Hip-hop dance can be a form of entertainment or a hobby or a lifestyle.
It is an ideal way to express one's creativeness. It features self impressions and the dances come from the soul. The dancing represents body movements that go with the beat and rhythm of hip hop music. The jumps, breakages, and rotations in the movements are combined in such a way that the dance style becomes an informal and explosive one.
There is breaking, popping, locking, and free styling in hip hop dances. B-boy and b-girl stands for "break-boy" and "break-girl"; b-boys and b-girls dance to the break of a record. Breakdancing is generally misused as a catch-all term for Hip Hop dance, but the dancers will use the terms breakin, b-boying or b-girling to describe each specific form.
DJ's and Mixtapes were part of the heart and soul of Hiphop during its inception. Hip Hop started not with the MCs but rather with the DJ. It was the DJ who controlled the night, The DJ "spun "the tunes and kept the party Rocking. The DJ essentially was the Master Of Ceremonies... he was the MC.
Hip Hop actually developed from Reggae Music (no not the otherway around as newbies would believe)
In the early 70's, a Jamaican DJ known as Kool Herc moved from Kingston to NY's West Bronx. Here, he attempted to incorporate his Jamaican style of DJ which involved reciting improvised rhymes over the dub versions of his reggae records. Unfortunately, New Yorkers weren't into reggae at the time. Thus Kool Herc adapted his style by chanting over the instrumental or percussion sections of the day's popular songs. Because these breaks were relatively short, he learned to extend them indefinitely by using an audio mixer and two identical records in which he continuously replaced the desired segment.
In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day. For example, it was fashionable for DJ to acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party. These early raps featured someone such as Herc shouting over the instrumental break; 'Yo this is Kool Herc in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Marky D is in the house'. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to call out their own names and slogans.
As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as dj in an effort to be different, began to incorporate little rhymes-'Davey D is in the house /An he'll turn it out without a doubt.' It wasn't long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as 'rap' but called 'emceeing'. With regards to Kool Herc, as he progressed, he eventually turned his attention to the complexities of djaying and let two friends Coke La Rock and Clark Kent (not Dana Dane's dj) handle the microphone duties. This was rap music first emcee team. They became known as Kool Herc and the Herculoids.
Soon Kool Herc for the convenience of the dancers began to repeat the instrumental breaks between verses, during which the dancers came out to the dance-floor and showed their skills. Kool Herc marked the enthusiasm of the dancers for such breaks, and naimed the term "B-Boy", "Break boys" - for those who are moving in the manner of breaks, and the dance was called breakdancing style (breaking)."MC" has become synonymous with rap, when rappers have become not only DJs but also performers, who are able to move in a special hip-hop manner.
In the late 60th breakdance existed in the form of two separate dances - New York acrobatic style, which we call the lower break, and the Los Angeles-based mime (upper break). It is an acrobatic style of breaking that was originally twisted by bboys in break-dance. It became popular, after 1969, when James Brown wrote a funk-hit "The Good Foot" and performed some elements of this dance on the stage.
Bambaataa formed his own break-dancing team called Zulu Nation, which eventually grew into the organization and included rappers, DJs, graffiti artists and dancers. Zulu Nation, along with other teams contributed to promote break-dancing.Bambaataa included 5 elements into the hip-hop culture: MC'ing ( "Rapping" - rap), DJ'ing, Graffiti (Writing), Dancing (Breaking, Up-Rocking, Popping, Locking),
Hip-hop dance can be divided into two basic types:
Old school (old school) includes popping, locking, breakdance. Popping in its turn is divided into boogaloo, electric boogaloo, tetris, waiving, robot, egypcian, pop corn. Style "locking" became scenic standard for many black singers and MTV stars such as Janet Jackson and her dancers, as well as many others are moving in this style.
In the 90th there was a new form of hip-hop, which connects traffic from the old school styles: popping, locking, break-dancing (but more focused on footwork as opposed to acrobatic style), as well as from many other styles. Gradually, penetrating into the pop culture, absorbing all the new elements and styles, transforming, hip-hop has become the leading dance direction and separated into a single direction - hip-hop.
Hip Hop Techniques
Some of the earliest dancing by b-boy pioneers was done upright, a form which became known as "top rockin'."
As a result of the highly competitive nature of these dances, it wasn't long before top rockers extended their repertoire to the ground with "footwork" and "freezes." For instance, one dancer might start top rocking then drop to the ground, suddenly going into leg shuffles then a freeze before coming to his feet. His opponent might have to do twice as much floorwork or a better freeze to win the battle. The fancy leg movements done on the ground, supported by the arms, were eventually defined as "footwork" or "floor rocking." In time, an impressive vocabulary of footwork, ground moves and freezes developed, including the dancers most dynamic steps and moves.
Many times one could tell who had flavor and finesse just by their top rockin' before the drop and floor rock. The transition between top and floor rockin' was also important and became known as the "drop". Some of these drops were called: front swipes, back swipes, dips and corkscrews. The smoother the drop, the better.
Freezes were usually used to end a series of combinations or to mock and humiliate the opponent. Certain freezes were also named, the two most popular being the "chair freeze" and the "baby freeze." The chair freeze became the foundation for various moves because of the potential range of motion a dancer had in this position. The dancer's hand, forearm and elbow support the body while allowing free range of movement with the legs and hips. From the chair freeze came the floor trac, back spin with the use of arms, continuous back spin (also known as the windmill), and other moves. These moves pushed the dance in a new direction in the early 1980s, the era of so-called "power moves."
The first spins done in b-boying were one-shot head spins originally known as pencils; hand spins originally known as floats; knee spins; and butt spins. The first back spin came from a butt spin. Once a dancer gained momentum on his butt he could lie back and spin into a freeze. The next phase of backspin came from a squatted position tucking the arm and shoulder under the body onto the floor, then rolling onto the back and spinning. This spin developed from the neck move (a move in which the dancer rolls from one shoulder to the other). Finally, the backspin, from the foundation of a chair freeze, was developed.
"Power moves" is a debatable term since it is questionable which movement requires more power: footwork and freezes or spins and gymnastics. One notable point introduced by B-Boy Ken Swift is that spins are fueled by momentum and balance which require less muscular strength than footwork and freezes.
Spins require speed and speed creates momentum. The advent of "power moves" brought about a series of spins which became the main focus of the media and the younger generations of dancers. The true essence of the dance was slowly overshadowed by an over abundance of spins and acrobatics which didn't necessarily follow a beat or rhythm. The pioneers didn't separate the "power moves" from the rest of the dance form. They were B-Boys who simply accented their performance with incredible moves to the beat of the music.