obviously, hip hop is a well-nigh universal music and culture. at this point it is white, black, and everything in between. probably there are hip hop artists in every nation on earth. hip hop style graffiti is a dominant visual language, again, all over the world. this page is devoted to setting out and evaluating the history of hip hop in a compact way. it makes no claim to comprehensiveness, but tries to hit the highlights with images, sounds, and words. the items on top below are designed to organize hip hop history into geographical/chronological/conceptual categories: nyc late seventies/socal '96-'83/women/white people/underground etc etc.
defining "hip hop" is difficult, and ultimately it is some sort of "family resemblance" term or, better, a matter of an historical narrative: if the item fits into that narrative in a certain way, it is a hip hop [song, image, style]. there are traditionally four elements: breaking, graffiti, mcing and djing. but others could be added, such as double-dutch rope jumping (bambaataa thought of it as an element and no doubt a way to connect to black girls' culture in the late seventies), fashion, (human) beatboxing etc. if i were trying for a stab at characterizing the musical style in a general way, it'd go like this: strong, basic 4/4 bottom end; structure of repetition of small structures; elements appropriated technologically (via turntables or samplers); lyrics chanted rather than per se sung.

(1) nyc: the originators


graffiti page

4.10.04 creators: underground hip hop and politics

creators: hip hop as politics, 2


balt sun 2000(?)strictly for my honkies

part of my 1998 book "act like you know," on: rap music and the uses of stereotype

chris chrappa on pure land hip hop

chris: rappers and freedom fries

atmosphere (slug) lyrics of "scapegoat"

the museum of popular music

creators: indecent legislation


hip hop timeline