An Introduction to Hip-Hop Culture

Culture is defined in the Webster’s Dictionary as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.”

Hip-Hop is a way of life for a certain group of people. It has unique rules and customs that are observed. As such, hip-hop is clearly a cultural movement.

Rap and hip-hop are not the same thing. Rap is the music. Hip-hop is the name of the culture that is built around the music. Krs-One, legendary hip-hop artist put it best, “Rap is something you do. Hip-hop is something that you live.”

There are four elements to hip-hop.

2)Emceeing (rapping)
3)break dancing
4)graffiti art

All of these artistic elements are related and form the basis of hip-hop culture. I will be covering these elements in detail in my upcoming series of posts, A Brief History of Hip-Hop.

These four elements of the culture are universally accepted. Many people have tried to add to this list, but there is quite a debate about what is and should be included. Some will argue that fashion is an element. Some would say that beatboxing needs to be added. Others argue that skateboarding is a part of the culture as well. I believe that hip-hop is a diverse culture that needs to include the main four elements. The other elements that can be suggested are complementary and not completely necessary to define this culture.

A lot of people don’t understand what hip-hop is all about. I hope that my serial will help educate those who wish to learn about this great culture. I may even make a presentation to accompany these posts. Stay tuned to Silent Cacophony for more.

One response to “An Introduction to Hip-Hop Culture”

  1. Hi Chase – Thanks. This is interesting. I hadn’t realized that rap and hip hop were not the same thing. I was trying to work out what djing was (kind of sounds like a martial art?) and then I realized: DJ-ing – of course!

    Music can separate the generations perhaps more than anything else. Somehow or other, you never seem to quite like any music that you hear for the first time over the age of about 30. So being very much part of the rock generation, I don’t find it easy to listen to rap. I do like some of it, though, if I take the trouble to listen to the lyrics: Television by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy is a favorite, for instance.

    Anyway, I don’t know if you’re into memes or not, but I’ve just tagged you. Take a look at my blog…