What has been the catalyst for the viral like spread of Electronic music? Why has our collective culture around the planet in terms of popular music, come to represent certain rhythms, melodies, and the use of the Chromatic scale and time signatures, such as the 4/4 time signature which aren’t necessarily native to every nation but adopted universally? A simple answer is Hip-hop. Hip-hop is not a genre of music. Hip-hop is not just “Rap”. Hip-hop is not a style of clothing, Hip-hop is not necessarily “Pop”. Hip- hop is a “culture”.The etymology of the modern word “culture” has a classical origin. In English the word “culture”is based on a term used by cicero in his Tuscalan Disputations,where he wrote of a cultivation of the soul or “cultura animi” thereby using an agricultural metaphor to describe the development of a philosophical soul, which was understood teleologically as the one natural highest possible ideal for human development. Human beings create. On this planet we use the means available namely the four elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire to create and record our culture and ways of life.
Hip -hop is the most modern of cultures.It encompasses many styles of music, dance martial arts, and visual art. These are the elements. The Graffiti artist which creates through marking surfaces with aerosol paints and using one dimensional mediums to create multiple dimensions through illusion and perception.This element of Graffiti is the Earth Element of Hip-hop.As stated by “The Black Dot” in the book Hip-Hop Decoded, it will be the longest lasting and enduring element of Hip-hop, as it was in the great Pyramids in Khemet, or Egypt. We have understood these great cultures by The codes and markings they left through their writings on the walls of their great structures. Graffiti is The modern day variant of this element of all cultures of writing and recording information,which transcends time through the transmission of information.
I can already hear you saying, ok ok, that sounds really deep Tap, but what the hell are you talking about? what I am talking about is Human beings and our use of the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire to create elements of our cultures and record and transmit our way of life. Cultures are recognized by their writing systems, language, music and ceremony. In Hip-hop culture, we have the Graffiti artist, which represents Earth element, The Emcee(Rapper) which represents the Fire element,The B-boy, (dancer) represents the Water element which interprets all elements through movement of the human body (which is composed of over seventy percent water), This element is reactionary and changes based on the type of “Air” it comes in contact with. The Air Element in Hip- hop is represented by the DJ which creates sound(sound waves) that has movement and is the catalyst for reactions and interpretation via all of the other elements. The sound generated by the DJ (utilizing the element of Air) energizes and invigorates all of the other elements to interpret it’s energy. This is scientifically evident in Cymatiks , the study of visible sound and vibration. Sound waves trigger reactions in all particles at a molecular level and transmit instructions that rearrange how these particles organize themselves. Different Sound waves trigger different arrangements, for example in Sand or Water that in turn create different patterns. This is “Sacred Geometry“. I have included examples of this in the video below.
In Hip-hop the DJ takes sound and interprets and manipulates sound via the interface of the turntable the DJ has driven the development of Electronic Music in General. The great masters Such as DJ Kool Herc and DJ Grandmaster Flash and DJ Red Alert, took the Technics 1200 Turntables and developed a new method for interpreting sound and sound waves, Through “Turntableism” by manipulating soundbites and breaks and creating new sounds, through looping and scratching and weaving periodic silence into these actions by timing their drops.This completely new method of manipulating sound drove the development of Hip-hop culture’s art and elements to never before seen heights. The dancers twisted and contorted their bodies in interpretations of Sacred Geometry on the Dance floor. The Graffiti artist molded new dimensions on walls creating 3-D art through one dimensional surfaces creating “Wild-style” “Flava-style ” “Softy” or “bubble- styles” “shadow-style” “Chinese-styles” and many others. The emcee or Rapper evolved from simple braggadocious rhyme styles to fast paced metaphorical storytelling and social commentary creating worlds and narratives through the word and thereby creating new realities and modes of thought.
The Hip-hop DJ has driven the development of every other style of electronic music and culture after it. Today we haves so many subsets of electronic music, all labeled as Electronic Dance Music from House Music, to Acid House, Techno, Industrial, Garage, Dubstep, Pop, K-Pop, bla blah blaaa etc etc.
In reality all of these styles of music are all subsets of Hip-hop. They are all descended from Hip-hop. before Hip-hop you had Rhythm and Blues, Funk and Soul, Jazz, Rock & Roll, Reggae, Salsa, Samba, Merengue and a million others. Hip-hop effectively took all of these styles of music and combined them through the skill and power of the DJ. Blending Sets into voyages through breaks of multiple genres manipulating the sound of these different kinds of music through speeding up or slowing RPM (Rotations per minute) and scratching. This in turn lead to combining and creating new styles of music by combining all the aforementioned styles of music into new danceable styles of music. The Proof is in the Pudding. What popular style of music today doesn’t combine influences from the styles of music I mentioned ? What Electronic style of music doesn’t combine pre programmed or automated triggers and sounds or filters that were originated by the DJ? What style of Electronic Dance Music can say that it has no rappers rhyming over the rhythms? What DJ or Vj or composer (or whatever label you want to put on it today) In Electronic Dance music in general does not stand behind Turntables( Tangible or Digital) and spin, scratch, drop, breakdown and control the crowd through the turn table interface?
Pick any genre or sub genre of electronic music and go to a live concert, or just look at the videos and listen to the music. You will find that in any genre the DJ does the same thing that he originally started in Hip-hop. The Rappers still rap. The dancers still dance and in general combine Hip-hop and B-Boy movements in to their dance interpretations. Visual artists still create at many of these shows with Graffiti and marking walls with stickers or paint and markers or posters. Like I said it’s Hip-hop. That has been the ultimate power of Hip-hop, its influence of Electronic music. it’s not a black thing or a white thing or a yellow thing.All ethnicity’s and cultures on the planet have embraced it and adopted it, and allowed it to influence them and create from this influence.
The biggest song of Twenty twelve and the first video on Youtube to ever reach a Billion Views is PSY’s “Gangnam Style” released in the summer of 2012. It features the artist and composer PSY Rapping in Korean about rampant materialism in The “Gangnam” section of Seoul, South Korea. He said His goal was to look uncool in the video, while doing His funny Hip-hop style horse dance all through out the video. The song while it may appear like a glorification of materialism is actually an ironic commentary on materialism, sort of like a joke about it. The electronic dance style music is composed of the 4/4 time signature enabling the listener to dance to it, with stutter edits and drum hits reminiscent of a DJ behind the turntable. This song and most of these electronic dance songs are in essence Glittery Hip-hop.
In conclusion Hip-hop has become the most powerful cultural influence on this planet. it has directly driven the development of all electronic music genres and popular music in general. In essence Electronic Dance Music is Hip-hop. The largest Influence over all the cultures of modern times have been influenced by the culture of the have-nots the poor from the slums of the forgotten parts ( The Bronx) of the Biggest Metropolis in the World, New York City. Hip-hop has become the Biggest, cultural Phenomenon of modern Times, it has created fortunes,been manipulated, exploited, raped and put on a pedestal and chopped down. It’s elements stolen and the culture bastardized, it has been killed and resurrected. Hip-hop is not one sound,or style, it is the combination and re interpretation of all styles of self expression of mankind and this is perpetual in nature it will never stop. If you can look at it and see Hip-hop in it then it is Hip-hop, and thats why it will never die.