Hip-Hop 4 Black Unity 5 ELEMENTS
The African Roots of the 5 Elements of Hip-Hop
By: Jamarhl Crawford (UNO The Prophet aka Nat Turner Devil Burner)
Historically there are 4 elements of Hip-Hop. Here, we have added one correcting what we view as an oversight and unfair neglect of a very important element in Hip-Hop. We have added the Beat Box. There are others I have heard in discussion who seek to add Fashion or Style as an element which may have some validity as much like the DJ, through the use of African Innovation/Invention we gave new use and “flavor” to something that was not intended for that use, in this case items of clothing and various accessories that were not intended to be Hip-Hop but when we added on they became Hip-Hop by our individual tastes and our overall style as a people. Ex: Adidas, Pumas, Kangol, Fatigues, Levis or Lees, Graffiti Jean Jackets, Goose Down, Baseball Hats, Overalls, Hankerchiefs, etc.
(All elements of Hip-Hop are equal. There is no order of importance or distinction of which element is best.)
1. The MC is the modern griot, storyteller, scribe, and oral historian. The MC has roots in the Dozens, Scat, Doo Wop, Bee Bop, the rhyming intonations of Preaching, the Pimp “Toasting”, the art of the Con, Poetry. Modern Influences: The Last Poets, James Brown, Reggae “DJs” who talked over sound systems, Chat & Dub
2. The Graffiti Artist or Writer is a modern day Pictorial story teller and artist, hieroglyphics and developer of written scripts and variations of current script Ex: Arabic written language is not merely communicative but has actual artistic value depending on the style in which the language is written. Comparable to calligraphy.
3. The B-Boy is the modern embodiment of Dance an integral part of our culture. Break Dancing in particular has roots in Capoeira which traces its roots to Africa as well as a host of other movements from a collage of diasporic dance. Dance was and is central to African culture in Praise, Expression, Celebration, Communication as well as Art.
4. The DJ is the spirit of African Innovation, Invention. The DJ and art of scratching or blending or looping is the one of only a few musical advancements in the last century. They created a new instrument by using something that was only intended to play prerecorded music and making it an instrument in and of itself by attaching pieces of other music to create new music. (see note)
5. The Beat Box using the human body as an instrument and as a tool of communication is very African indeed. From African tribes who use clicks and whistles as a form of language to the modern jazz offerings of Bobby McFerrin. From the guttural moans that birthed the blues and gospel to the art of mimicking the sound of animals. The modern Beat Box illustrates the point “necessity is the mother of invention” giving voice to many urban hip-hoppers who did not have the financial means to invest in equipment to produce music, so they used their bodies to make music.
Note: FYI the other innovations in music were also made by us…. The Steel Drum (Pan) in Trinidad turning the abandoned oil drums of big white businesses from environmental hazards into instruments…. Jazz, one of the few forms of music indigenous to America this is Black Classical Music mathematically, aesthetically and audibly superior to the compositions of Europeans supposed Classical music.