Birth Of Hip Hop And Gangsta Rap

As far back to the emergence of hip hop in the early 1970’s, there has always been conflict between rap and the media.


Hip hop started in the Bronx when teenagers wanted music they could dance to and express themselves. Kool Herc is known as the father of hip hop music when he started deejaying in 1973. He would mix two records together creating a “break beat” (Garfoli, Price 10-11). Break dancers, or b-boys and b-girls, would dance to this style of music using every part of their body to express themselves. DJ’s would mix old vinyl records and MCs would rap about grooving and doing something positive for the community. It would bring whole apartment complexes together and it formed a culture that encouraged expressing yourself artistically. Graffiti also became popular in the hip hop community as street art to share with the whole community. The known father of graffiti is Darryl “cornbread” McCray from Philadelphia. In the late 1960’s he tagged his name on a wall of his school which inspired other young African Americans and gang members to tag their cities. (Garfoli, Price 8-9) It progressed from tagging names to actual artwork created by spray paint and could be seen all over low class African American neighborhoods and public property in New York City. Hip Hop’s message of looking past the struggles African Americans face and expanding creativity in a positive way had become a new part of life for many of the youth in America.


As the hip hop movement progressed, so did the message it was originally promoting. In the late 1980’s gangsta rap appeared, a new form of hip hop that spoke of the oppression, bad infrastructure, gang life, unemployment, and unequal rights lower class black folks were experiencing on a day-to-day basis in their low income neighborhoods. The rap group N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) from Los Angles was considered the founders of gangsta rap after their first album “Straight Outta Compton” was released. The album brought to light many of the problems African American people faced in the ghetto everyday from corrupt police officers beating and arresting them because of their skin color to their struggle for equal rights. It was a total hit when it hit record stores selling 300,000 copies in one week and eventually increased their sales to 3 million copies (Katel 544).