History of Hip Hop: How did this underground movement begin and when did it hit the mainstream?

The search engine is celebrating 44 years of the music genre

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Wednesday 18 October 2017 10:51
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Google Doodle teaches the history of hip hop

Google has unveiled a new doodle on its home page commemorating the birth of Hip Hop 44 years ago.

Said to be coined by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five member Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins, the music movement of Hip Hop can be tracked right back to a post-industrial South Bronx in New York City in the 1970s.

It was DJ Kool Herc who kick started the movement - historically perceived as an expression of urban youth - and before too long had spread across the entire borough where it soon became a celebration as well as a powerful tool used during protests.

It was Herc who laid the groundwork for everything associated with Hip Hop today. For example, the Jamaican-born DJ would often speak over a rhythmic beat - known within the music genre as toasting, and at parties in his high-rise apartment, he would extend the beat of a record using two players, isolating the drum "breaks" by using a mixer to switch between the two - or as it's more commonly know: scratching (something the Google Doodle allows users to do).

Herc isn't the only name associated with pioneering the movement - Cindy Campbell, "the mother of Hip Hop," was the one who organised the party which is attributed with the birth of the movement establishing her status as the first Hip Hop music promoter. At that same party, Campbell aided Herc in utilising the percussion "breaks."

Hip Hop embedded itself as part of the mainstream by 1979 and over the course of the next 15 years, made its way around the world - far from the ravaged South Bronx streets where it began.

For the celebration, the search engine has teamed up with visual artist Fab 5 Freddy to provide users with the genre's history and even features three original tracks from artist Prince Paul whose producing credit includes De La Soul's seminal 1989 debut record Three Feet High and Rising.

The project’s executive consultant at Google - former Def Jam president Lyor Cohen - wrote in a blog post: “Hip Hop has done exactly what its founders set out to do, whether wittingly or unwittingly. It placed an accessible culture, relatable to any marginalised group in the world, at the forefront of music. In that spirit, here’s to BILLIONS of people getting a brief reminder that ’Yes, yes y’all! And it WON’T stop!'”

The Hip-Hop doodle will remain on the search engine’s home page for 40 hours.

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