Hip Hop Music Elements

Hip hop elements sounded a revolutionary drumbeat that resonated well beyond its birthplace in the streets. By opposing stereotypes depicting Black youth as violent criminals while simultaneously spreading political awareness.

Hip hop art forms include rapping (MCing), break dancing, graffiti art and deejaying – elements which have had an enormous influence on music styles, fashion trends, technology developments, language evolutions and dance practices throughout the world.


An emcee, or master of ceremonies, serves as the host and organizer for an event. Their responsibility includes introducing speakers and performers while hosting it all – it requires professional speaking skills as well as being adept at improvising in real time – along with an understanding of crowd management.

Beginning in the 1970s at block parties in New York City, MCs were among the pioneers to introduce hip hop music to the general public. DJs such as Kool Herc, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Afrika Bambaataa used longer percussive breaks from funk music combined with turntable techniques, scratching techniques, and freestyle vocals inspired by Jamaican toasting to draw large crowds to these events.

These MCs popularized a new style of rhyme that was more sexual or scatological in nature and included call-and-response chants inspired by African American traditions such as the Dozens Chant. Soon thereafter, rapping evolved further, often including social commentary as well as sarcasm or sociopolitical critique; other musical styles and genres also adopted it into their repertoire such as ska, reggae, rock (including rapcore and rap metal), new wave R&B or even Japanese dance music!


Breakdancing is an acrobatic dance style performed to hip hop music by teenage males. Combining elements of gymnastics and pantomime, breakerdancing includes complex moves such as handstands and spinning headstands as well as flips, spins, and jumps performed to music. Breakdancing practitioners are known as b-boys or b-girls and often compete against each other in battle competitions called battles.

Breaking can often be seen in commercials and other music videos, and can even be found in films like Cool Lady Blue starring Tia Carrere. As an easily recognizable part of hip hop, breaking helps define its genre from other forms of music.

DJ Kool Herc would play long instrumental periods of hard funk loops from vintage funk records during breaks. Modern hip hop songs still incorporate breaks as an homage to its roots and encourage dancing; breaking is acrobatic movement requiring strength, balance, and flexibility; power moves such as air flare are common ways of breaking.

Graffiti Art

Hip hop culture pervades every aspect of our society. What began at society’s margins has since had an enormous influence on everything from dance and music videos, fashion trends and graffiti art to theater performances that utilize hip hop’s elements such as DJing, MCing and breaking to bring stories from the streets directly onto a theatrical stage.

DJs such as Kool Herc and Grand Wizzard Theodore played an integral part in shaping hip-hop, merging disparate musical elements into distinct styles. Utilizing turntable techniques they were able to isolate and extend percussive breaks found in soul and funk music using turntable techniques while also experimenting with scratching, freestyle vocals inspired by Jamaican toasting – as well as isolation techniques for percussive breaks found within soul music and funk music using turntable techniques.

Graffiti art is an integral component of hip-hop culture, beginning its journey in New York in the 1970s as an act of vandalism or artistic expression by graffiti writers known as graffiti writers. While some view graffiti art as vandalism, its creative expression allows artists to showcase bold colors, interlocking lettering and sometimes cartoon-like characters; which now spread around the globe while keeping its signature American wildstyle flair yet also reflecting local traditions and sensibilities.


Hip hop’s beat is its central sound and serves as the basis of all other characteristics in its music. Its rhythm echoes our heartbeats and walking paces, making it instantly relatable; plus it encourages dancing and interaction between listeners who nod their heads in rhythm to feel the beat themselves!

DJs (along with MCs/rappers) are at the core of hip hop culture and have come up with many creative techniques and styles. The best rappers have an infectious flow that enables them to rhyme seamlessly while using their voice as an instrument for melody or loud shouting; some use shouts while others use subtle flourishes of sound from course shouts to smooth flourishes.

Hip hop culture has grown beyond its initial underground New York City block parties into an international movement. Graffiti and street fashion are now part of hip hop culture; graffiti can now be found anywhere from graffiti walls to movies to television shows; its influence can even be found in classic literary works, like Will Power’s hip hop-infused rendition of Seven Against Thebes by Sophocles.


Hip hop’s rhythms form its sonic foundation, setting its style and emotion. An engaging rhythm sets the pace for rapping while providing space for other artists to express themselves creatively. Beatboxing, an art form which uses vocal patterns similar to drum machines mimicked with voice sounds such as clicks and phrases to imitate drum machines is also often added for extra musical flare.

Beatboxing was pioneered by DJ Kool Herc at a rec room party in 1973, when he experimented with record breaks to lengthen danceable portions of songs. Grandmaster Flash later refined this technique by matching records beat-for-beat to compose new songs.

Hip hop’s vocal artists, known as MCs, recite complex rhyme schemes over an infectious rhythm. Many MCs possess extensive vocabularies that incorporate slang words, puns, extended metaphors, and improvisational techniques into unique poetic expressions. Many of hip hop’s best MCs also excel as formal poets who use words to portray inner city life through compelling stories told with language.

Street Fashion

Hip hop music was developed through collaboration among intersecting groups of Black, Latinx, and Caribbean American youth at block parties in the Bronx during the early 1970s. DJs like Kool Herc, Grand Wizzard Theodore and Afrika Bambaata experimented with longer percussive breaks (known as breakbeats) on turntable techniques such as scratching to create hip hop’s distinctive musical genre; early fashion trends drew influence from punk, Japanese street style, new wave music as well as legacy brands such as Schott NYC Dr Martens and Kangol.

Hip hop beats and rhythm are more than mere musical accompaniment; they also symbolize identity and community. Hip hop artists use their beats and rhythm to tell their own stories – whether about life in a ghetto, or an overarching message that transcends it all. Hip hop artists also use their style to add modern elements to classic stories or literary works.


Hip hop’s core components may include vocals and beats, but creating an effective hip-hop song requires much more than that. From selecting samples to organizing its structure and adding effects for maximum impact – each element plays a part.

Rappers often utilize words to connect with listeners. Beyond using double entendres (figurative language with two interpretations), rappers frequently address social and political topics in their lyrics.

Hip-hop fashion has long been an integral component of its appeal. Artists push the limits with their extravagant outfits – everything from hairstyles and clothes to jewelry and accessories; graffiti writing was another popular form of expression for hip-hop artists.

Knowledge is an integral component of hip-hop culture; it educates individuals on its history and significance while inspiring artistic and cultural expression within hip-hop’s global influence. Thus making hip-hop not simply music; rather it is an international movement.


Hip hop has revolutionized music, dance, graffiti art and street fashion into an entire cultural movement. Additionally, its influence can be felt across street language, art, education and politics – not to mention politics itself! KRS-One famously described knowledge as the foundation that brings all these elements together – without it people might possess technical skills for rapping or DJing but won’t truly encapsulate what hip hop means to them.

Hip hop’s roots can be traced to Bronx neighborhoods in the 1970s, where DJ Kool Herc used turntable techniques to produce unique rhythms and beats that they played at block parties with longer percussive breaks and freestyle vocals inspired by Jamaican “toasting.” These early examples led to what is now commonly referred to as rap.

Rappers (MCs) use their voices to tell stories and voice social commentary through music. The best MCs have an “ivory flow”, where their words move together smoothly without them stumbling over one another; additionally they vary their tone between harsh shouts and smooth flourishes.