5 (More) Elements Of Hip Hop


Hip Hop isn’t new, even though a slew of artists would have you thinking it was invented in the year 2000. Bboying, MCing, Graffiti, DJing, & Knowledge are the essential five elements that make up the foundation of Hip Hop, & these guidelines were established back when some of your parents were bumping Sugar Hill Gang on a monaural turntable.

But, the internet changed all of that. Now, new elements are in place. & if Hip Hop is to avoid the same fate(s) as jazz or RNB, it must evolve & revolve, continuously, until it is no more.

No elements can ever replace the originals (which I suggest you learn up on, for cultural purposes), but for the sake of speedballing towards a limitless future, we must adapt.

If we truly break down all the elements that form this ruggedly beautiful compound, it may be in the hundreds, but here are 5 other elements of Hip Hop.

5. Free Music
Real fans support their favorite artists. There’s no question about that. But with rap, the market for selling music has been turned on it’s ear, due to a decade of rampant downloading & illegal album releases. So Hip Hop – being the burgeoning, resilient compound that it is – turned free music into a marketing & promotions campaign that not even the most clever A&R could’ve achieved years ago. Now the fans want demand free samples before even considering your main course. If you don’t have a mixtape floating around somewhere in cyberspace, your game needs up-steppage.

4. Body Art
It’s 2012. Shit is real. If you rap & don’t have skin tags, you might as well be kicking rhymes about clean underwear or how to make a girl fall in love with you. In Hip Hop, more specifically rap music, nobody is taking you seriously without the proper regalia. Tattoos are the modern day stars, stripes, & bars of the soldiers who survive this raucous culture. & just like in the armed forces, people only respect the uniform when it’s properly decorated (whatever the hell that means.)

3. Soft Porn
Seriously, a lot of rap music is audio pornography. (Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that, but there’s a time & place for everything.) There’s a recent interview with Too $hort where he admits being surprised that “Shake That Monkey” was being played on the radio in 2003. & if it isn’t in the words themselves, the saturation of ass cheeks & cleavage veins in some of the “videos” on WSHH is more than fapworthy, which gives some explanation why kids these days have no idea what a “Playboy Magazine” even is. (Shoutout to “Cinemax After Dark,” the original Pornhub.com.) Speaking of Too $hort, his XXL debacle brought Hip Hop’s relationship with sexuality back to the forefront of discussion. For the record, though, I have no problem with cheeks & cleavage.

2. Hate
I can’t stress how this as permeated so much of normal, daily life. Hate fuels the news broadcasts. Hate keeps the internet friendly. Hate is the new way to celebrate an event – any event – no matter who or why. I’d hate to “blame” the hatesplosion on President Obama, but it’s his fault, so to speak. & by that I mean his unyielding success was the straw that broke the proverbial (American) camel’s back. That progressive moment’s substory is that the racism & bigotry that had been concealed & dormant for some decades once again had a platform to rise from. My point is that hate in Hip Hop, or anywhere else isn’t new, but there’s a comfort zone in vocalizing & acting upon today’s prejudices that didn’t exist in recent memory.

1. Violence
Beefs & battles have always been a part if Hip Hop. Aggression & frustration, not so coincidentally, are also equally as prevalent to the culture. It’s no surprise that so many “headlines” involving “rappers,” usually an unknown or local artist, ended in death. Some of today’s biggest rap names openly brag about gun charges & such, & some have even been directly linked to events that ended in homicide. Violence is a systematic link in the societal chain that binds humanity together. I suppose it’s no more than the “trickle down theory,” but either way, it’s a new element. If you don’t believe me, you need to look harder. •


10 comments on “5 (More) Elements Of Hip Hop

  1. Nagan says:

    Props on the mention of the 5 elements, so rare to hear about them these days.
    5. i don’t demand free mixtapes, but damn there are a lot of new artists around the mixtapes damn help. i dig danny brown now would never have got the chance to if not for a mixtape and see an artists range. 1 song here or there is fine too but i like to see a few songs to judge a dude. so i don’t pigeonhole a cat and never listen again i guess. i only have so many dollars and time…
    4. i love tattoos but never got any myself i had a bit of a shady youth and the skin art is just a method of identification to a cop
    3 cleavage veins! haha cheeks and cleavage are fine by me, but much like the cheese i eat i prefer it to be aged (18 years at least and even then i prefer older )
    2 the internets i blame, spouting hate and without the chance of a hit to the head. it happens in real life at work for me , but there are laws that act as a preventitive around theses parts
    1 and yes violence is a definite number one. kinda sad cuz knocking someone out isn’t very fun at all, human nature for the violence but….


    • Capital G says:

      Nagan! That Bronson avatar is fire. Props for that shit.


      • Nagan says:

        haha cheers mate, found the pic when reading about the real life Charlie Bronson. Loonyology in deed haha. Also if ya liked bronson there is an aussie film called Chopper starring Eric Bana pre- hollywood. It’s dope too, based on a true story, Chopper actually got his ears cut off so he could transfer prisons, the crazy bastard.


  2. markdub7 says:

    Shit….use of the word Hate, in and of itself, can be one of elements. “Let your haters be your motivatiors”. “If nobody is hating on you, then you aint doing something right.” And all those type phrases. LOL


  3. Loki says:

    maaan fuck this. Lets keep the OG 5 and add free music. Evolution is a cycle, so I say we move past the current negative elements and get back to the pure ones


    • Tony Grands says:

      Evolution isn’t a cycle, revolution is.

      Sometimes you gotta steer into the skid & salvage whatever control you still have left.


      • Loki says:

        Haha definitely, going with the flow. I’m just saying our mind state should be more focused on what we wanna do next, instead of getting stuck in a stagnant form.

        Evolution is just a part of the word Revolution for a good reason. Evolution is the process of going from simple to complex, it is just part of the natural process of everything in our universe moving in cycles.

        Not that your analysis of the game isn’t correct, I just think its more important to think about whats wrong and what we can do better.


        • Tony Grands says:

          I agree. Now when you prep your album geared towards resurrecting the essence of Hip Hop, you’ll get your own Ear Hustlin’ spot & an interview to boot. Until then, all I can do is narrate what’s happening.

          Evolution is also a natural process, unable to be controlled by man, for the most part. For example, rotary phones were great, but try convincing everyone who has a cellphone why a landline would benefit them. Your reasoning may have all the logic in the world, but that has nothing to do with forward motion of the inevitable; the evolution of communication. I didn’t just pull shit out of a hat randomly & I’m not prescribing a fix, merely illustrating the changes as they occur.

          For the record, I agree with you. Provide the ammo, I’ll gladly shoot.


          • Tony Grands says:

            & to evolve means to grow adaptable to one’s environment. That may or may not entail complexity. If it were as simple as that, your Pancreas would’ve surely developed another function by now, what with the “cycles” & everything, no?


  4. DV says:

    I just really wish people would stop getting stupid ass tattoos. Its like a competition now. Where one ups the bar of ignorance, stupidity and WTFness only for another to top it.

    And Lil Wayne has got to be on drugs again. That is the only reason i came up with as to why he dresses the way he does. I mean damn we used to complain about 3000’s “fashion” choices. I’d rather see that. Bring back the Keebler elf uniform or something.


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