Holla lovely poeple!!

We all love going to jams, don’t we? Those intoxicating vibes can make any normal person go high. I am serious!! Like you all, I love these hip hop jams, seeing all these crazy people with colourful personalities come together and showcase what they got. We can see the whole hip hop culture under one roof. Hip hop has its roots grounded deep into the history. So, as usual we all homies were jamming one weekend and it popped into my mind that where, how, when and why did the pioneers name this art movement as HIP HOP!! So, I was really curious. I googled a bit here and there, and found this lit story about hiphop.

Let’s go.

Cowboy & Starski

Once upon a time, there were two friends Keith Cowboy Wiggins and Lovebug Starski. Cowboy was a member of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and Starski was a rapping DJ. Both had been to their friend Billy’s last party who had just signed in the U.S. Army. So, Cowboy reminded him that his days of freedom were over by marching across the stage like a drill sergeant on the beat, chanting, “Hip-hop-hip-hop-hip-hop.” The crowd loved it. By the end of the evening, Cowboy and Starski were still playing with those two words. One of them used to say ‘hip’ and then the other replied ‘hop’. Soon Starski had a new line to try out at parties: “Hip, hop, hippy to the hippy hop-bop.” Cowboy did, too: “I said a hip-hop, a hibbit, hibby-dibby, hip-hip-hop and you don’t stop.” Thus, both of them together for coined the term “hiphop” in 1978.

So this is where the naming of hip hop started taking form. Cowboy and Starski totally contributed in the story of “how hip hop got it’s name?”. Hehe;)

Later in the year of 1979, the Sugarhill Gang used this phrase ‘hip hop’ in their hit song “Rapper’s Delight”. Young kids in the boroughs across Harlem River, NYC who started this vibrant culture of music, dance, rhymes and visual arts hadn’t named this artistic revolution which opposed gang violence. Hip hop wasn’t coined yet. This came into limelight in September 1982, when a downtown reporter named Steven Hager published a longform piece in the Village Voice. The piece was called “Afrika Bambaataa’s Hip-Hop”.

Afrika Bambaataa was a young former Black Spades gang warlord and the leader of a crew named Zulu Nation. These people had created their own weird arts — music they played with turntables, dances they called breaking, art they made with spray cans and markers, and entertainment they made of stories and rhymes. That’s when people started asking him if there was a name for all the things that they were seeing, and TADAAA!! Bambaataa told them, “Hip-hop.”

He began talking about the four elements – Djing, Rapping, Breaking and Graffiti writing. He later added a fifth element –Knowledge.

Godfather “Afrika Bambaataa talks about the naming of Hip Hop culture

In November 2012, during a lecture at Cornell University, Afrika Bambaataa was asked how did they choose to describe the youth movement that he, Herc, and Flash had helped to create, had come to settle on hip hop. He said, “Well, I chose the name ‘hip-hop’ because of the brothers were using it in their rhymes—Love Bug Starski and Keith Cowboy from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I liked the sound of what they were saying. Out of all the words we thought like – ‘the go-off,’ ‘the boyoyoing,’ the ‘scat rap’ and all that type – I liked the way it sounded”.

So what now we kids call hip-hop, is because Bambaataa typically chose not to dwell on the present or the past, but on what sounded right. And maybe that’s why, forty-plus years later, hip-hop can still sound like the future.

Father of Hip Hop – Kool DJ Herc

Hip hop can be traced back to a back-to-school party on August 11, 1973 (that Steven Hager was also the first to write about) thrown by Cindy Campbell and her brother, Clive “DJ Kool Herc”. Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash credit DJ Kool Herc and his parties with being pivotal in transforming the youth scene from gang-centric to party-centric. So now Bam, Flash and Herc were the pioneers of hip hop.

Certainly the word “hop” had long been linked to Black creativity, and modernity—at least since the late 1920s when dancers like “Shorty” George Snowden, Herbert “Whitey” White and many more had popularized the physically demanding Lindy Hop in Harlem. In African American youth culture the words “hip” and “hop” together have a long history. The older folks used to call teen house parties “them old hippity hops.” The late Chuck Brown, godfather of D.C.’s go-go scene, said that the weekend youth parties at the area churches were sometimes called “hip-hops,” before the term “go-gos” stuck in.

According to KRS-One, “HIP is to know, it’s a form of intelligence. To be hip is it to be update and relevant. Hop is a form of movement. You can’t just observe a hop, u gotta hop up and do it. Hip and hop is more than music. Hip is Knowledge and Hop is Movement. HIP HOP is an Intelligent Movement.”

That’s totally what Bam, Flash and Herc might be feeling. Hip hop isn’t only about how a bunch of forgotten Black and brown youths were passing their time, but how in the depths of this cruel world a vibrant youth movement had displaced gang violence with music, dance, art, language and style. It turned out into a borough of LOVE, RESPECT, PEACE and UNITY.

Big big ups to all our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters for pouring in their soul into this culture. It is their efforts that gave us Hip Hop. Thank ya’ll.

Until next time.

Peace 🙂

One thought on “#DecipherIt – Naming of Hip Hop”

Comments are closed.