To me, hip-hop says, “Come as you are.” We are a family. . . . Hip-hop is the voice of this generation. It has become a powerful force. Hip-hop binds all of these people, all of these nationalities, all over the world together. Hip-hop is a family so everybody has got to pitch in. East, west, north or south–we come from one coast and that coast was Africa.
–DJ Kool Herc
Through hip-hop, we are trying to find out who we are, what we are. That’s what black people in America did.
It is nearly impossible to travel the world without encountering instances of hip-hop music and culture. Hip-hop is the distinctive graffiti lettering styles that have materialized on walls worldwide. It is the latest dance moves that young people perform on streets and dirt roads. It is the bass beats and styles of dress at dance clubs. It is local MCs on microphones with hands raised and moving to the beat as they “shout out to their crews.” Hip-hop is everywhere!
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported that hip-hop music represented half of the top-ten global digital songs in 2009.2 Hip-hop refers to the music, arts, media, and cultural movement and community developed by black and Latino youth in the mid-1970s on the East Coast of the United States. . . .
- 1DJ Kool Herc, Introduction to Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), xi–xii. DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) is considered one of the originators of hip-hop music and culture. He is credited with developing the art of combining deejaying and rhyming. This skill became the foundation not only for hip-hop music, but also for a range of other musical forms. He was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the Bronx as a child in the 1960s. MC Yan, quoted in Tony Mitchell, ed., Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2001), 7.
- 2Though these figures indicate the popularity of hip-hop music, its audience may be larger than suggested. Many youth purchase digital singles rather than physical formats. The IFPI reports that digital music revenues increased by roughly 12 percent in 2009. Yet the estimated $4.2 billion in revenue did not offset the decline of physical purchases; John Kennedy, IFPI Digital Music Report 2010: Music How, When, Where You Want It (IFPI Digital Music, 2010), 30.