The Beginnings of Hip Hop: Part 3 of 3 - The Nine Elements of Hip Hop

Published on 9 May 2023 at 19:47

The Nine Elements of Hip Hop really shaped Hip Hop for years to come, giving it a defined cultural background. The four core elements gave the art form a cemented foundation so that it could really turn into a cultural movement. 


The four core elements (as discussed in the previous article) are, B-boyin', MC-in', Aerosol Art (graffiti), and DJ-in'.


The Other Five:


Beatboxin'- making a beat using your own voice to create snares, high hats, and the bass drum. It has gotten so intricate now-a-days to where people can do the drums, instruments, and singin' or rappin' while beat boxin'.


Peep this link:

Example of Beatboxin'- Rahzel "If Your Mother Only Knew"



Street Fashion-

Street fashion is  a form of fashion that usually pairs up some cool kicks and well coordinated casual attire that often times sported with matching colors or well organized color clashes.


Street Language-

Some call it slang, some call it ebonics, but whatever it is, it was pretty much made up by MCs spittin' new wordplays in songs or new definitions. Many books and websites have been created on this subject, for example,, which was created by a college student in 1999 and now has contributions from all over the world.


Street Knowledge-

The stories and tragedies around the world we live in through the eyes of a Hip Hop scholar. Street knowledge has been printed for years as well as chronicled, through people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Clarence 13X, and just about every relevant Hip Hop artist ever to grace the golden mic (my personal favorite, KRS-One the pinnacle Hip Hop artist of street knowledge). 


Street Entrepreneurialism- 

When you think of this subject, Russell Simmons comes to mind. He is the Berry Gordy of Hip Hop, being a co-founder of the pioneering record label Def Jam. He helped push the genre forward with his savvy business sense and has brought out legend after legend, but he couldn't do it without the production quality of Rick Ruben (also a founder of Def Jam). 


It's about someone coming from nothing and making something out of nothing into a movement that is a part of all nine of the elements.



Possible Element #10-


I think there should be a tenth element added to the fold, Hip Hop Journalism. It is a way to expand the culture by defining what journalistic elements add to the culture.



Hip Hop (music in general) as a culture is being attacked by the record companies. Big egos have taken over making it one big money machine. I was told this by a local artist, Dap Daniel from Da Brohydez of Richmond, CA, "When Tupac came to the studio, he gave us all a book on Malcolm X and said that we had to read this before he'd work with us." Where has this gone, when Hip Hop spit knowledge? Now the music powers that be are trying to wield the essence of the culture into what they want it to be, some watered-down version that isn't about the nine core elements at all, it is not about street entrepreneurialism it's about corporate entrepreneurialism.  Music now-a-days is a rehash of music that came out before, it is hard to do something original and Hip Hop has sampled music of all kinds and made it into a new form of music, a platform (if you will) to spit knowledge and language in the form of poetry. 


A word to the wise audience, always stay humble.

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