Music has played a significant role upon culture for Black Americans. From the spirituals and freedom songs during slavery to the jazz and blues of the fifties and sixties, the tone has manifested through different times, lives and moods. Beats led by drums and other different instruments have been prevalent throughout African- American culture with their roots being in Africa. As with any cultural ideals, African- Americans have continued their artistic musical expression through a new outlet, hip- hop. Hip- hop was born in the mid 70's after a brief bout of "funk.".
"Hip- hop started out in the heart." -Lauryn Hill.
Lauryn Hill is one of the most influential female lyricists of this era, in the realm of hip- hop. She accurately summed up the root for all hip- hop when she said that, "Hip- hop started out in the heart." The original hip- hop artists had their roots in Jamaica, when they used spoken word over elements of reggae music. One of the earliest known "rappers" is Kool Herc. He moved to the Bronx from Kingston, Jamaica in the early 70's and attempted to speak over reggae music. At this time, many Americans had not even heard of reggae music so, this style did not catch on.
Eventually, Herc began to chant over the instrumental and percussion sections of popular songs. He learned how to extend these relatively short chantings by using a mixer and records. It was in these early days that DJ's would travel, performing mostly at parties and acknowledging their fellow party- goers. Inevitably, the acknowledgement that the DJ's offered their crowd turned into little rhymes. At the time, they were not called rappers or lyricists but rather "emcees.".
"Rap is a type of music, Hip- hop is a way of life."- KRS- one.
KRS- one is one of the longest- standing, most influential lyricists. Since 1984, he has been spreading the word and accurately breaking down the mystery of hip- hop for all non- believers.