The history of hip hop music & how it started

A brief history of hip hop


As a fan of hip hop, you probably enjoy the varieties of different beats, rhymes and electronic sounds that are incorporated into its genre and at our hip hop nights in London. Nowadays, hip hop music allows artists the opportunity to express themselves and how they feel about their cultures, upbringings, and lives.

Hip hop has morphed from the 1970s into what it is today. If you are interested in learning more about the history of hip hop and how it began, you are in the right place. We are going to discuss the timeline of hip hop music below.

How did hip hop get started? 


Hip hop music started in the 1970s in America. It was extremely popular in New York, especially during auction block parties. In particular, hip-hop music was popular youth that lived in the Bronx. Usually, what would happen was two turntables would be used with different tracks to move between. Breaks would be used to alternate the sound and the length of delay.

The early development of hip hop came from widely available barrel machines and sampling engineers. Eventually, this was combined with scratch and beatmatching. It was then that chanting vocals were added that seemed to reflect a Jamaican style.

It has been said that the grandmasters of hip hop came from this era, including DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Wizzard Theodore.

The expansion of hip hop

Hip hop did not become a full-fledged genre of music until around 1979 when the Sugarhill Gang created the record “Rappers Delight”. This song reached the top 40 of the US Billboard charts. Ultimately, it made hip hop a much more mainstream genre of music, and introduced the idea of “rappers” into the broader frame.

The diversification of rap & hip hop


The 1980s & 1990s were practically the golden age of hip hop. Not only were artists experimenting with the genre with metaphorical lyrics, drum kits and electronic music, but “new school hip hop” emerged. This style included a lot more socio-political influences and more minimalistic music. The late 80's & early 90's saw the arrival of major artists, such as ATCQ, Snoop Dogg, N.W.A, Dr Dre, 2pac & later - The Notorious B.I.G (Biggie).

Commercialisation of hip hop

Once this golden age passed, hip hop became a lot more commercialised and mainstream. This was when in 1995, the Grammys ended up adding a category for the “best rap album”. 

What is hip-hop like now? 

Whether you enjoy listening to hip hop on Spotify or you prefer visiting the hip hop events in London of Supa Dupa Fly or discovering the best bottomless brunch spots in London, you will find that this genre of music has only grown in popularity.