Category: Art and Entertainment

The Hip Hop Culture Identity

Hip-hop isn’t just about music. Hip-hop is about dance, art, expression, pain, love, racism, sexism, broken families, hard times, overcoming adversity and the search for God. It’s a culture, a way of life, a language, a fashion, a set of values, and a unique perspective. Hip-hop is about trying to live out the American dream from the bottom up.

Hip-Hop culture is a unique phenomenon because it does incorporate and affect so many different cultures, ages and classes. In the early 1970’s the unnamed culture known today as “hip-hop” was forming in New York City’s ghettos. Each element in this culture had its own history and terminology contributing to the development of a cultural movement. The culture was identified in the early 1980’s when DJ Afrika Bambaataa named the dynamic urban movement, “hip-hop.” Since that time “hip-hop” has served as a powerful voice and form of expression for young black audiences and has evolved into a culture with its own language, style of dress and mindset. The hip hop culture envelops not only music but also fashion and dance.

What makes hip hop’s evolution is the range of flavor the culture has to offer and what “hip-hop heads” thrive on is individuality and creativity, which is never more apparent than in hip-hop fashion. In fact, hip hop fashion is one of the top clothing industries in the world today. It is claimed to have begun in the African American community but has spread quickly into being a truly universal style for people of all ethnicities and sexes and a lynch pin of hip hop culture. Hip hop fashion is preferred by various celebrities such as 50 cent, Puff Daddy, Ja Rule and Sean Combs. It is often satirized by comedians such as Ali G. Hip hop fashion is a visible element of hip hop culture.

Hip hop dancing is evolving in many different directions today, heavily influenced by the evolution of hip hop music and its popularity in media, surrounded by heated debates on history and authenticity. Modern hip hop music gave birth to new styles of hip hop dancing partly inspired by the old school styles. Most of those styles focused on upright dancing as opposed to breakdance which is better known for its floor-oriented movements. To express one’s creative talent, hip-hop dancing is perhaps the best way in which impressions and expressions come from the soul.

Music has always played a key role in shaping minds and attitudes. Hip hop music sheds light on contemporary politics, history and race. The social influence hip hop music has on the hip hop cultural movement includes activities of dancing, associated slang, fashion and other elements. Hip hop music encompasses the written word, visual art, dance and rhythmic style with intricate beats. Music has no boundaries and no limits; anything worthy should be available through music, especially spirituality and religion. A big influence on the hip hop identity is its redeeming music.

Culture is the product of a current reality. The identity of a culture is created by the work and thought of human beings. It is the expression of a class or element of a particular class and is reflective of a certain period. The allure of Hip Hop culture as an organizing mechanism has arisen primarily because there is no existing political apparatus that adequately addresses the needs of young people and/or poor and working class communities; in a political vacuum. Culture, as a general matter, cuts to the core of how people articulate their beliefs, values and customs. Hip Hop culture is the most visible and vocal representative entity of its own identity.

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How to Hip Hop Dance

It’s a form of dance that first started in the early 70’s. This is a western dance but it took the world by storm just because of its sheer exuberance. It was popular in all the social circuits but primarily it was the dance of the socialites. This form of dancing was an integral part of the club culture during the contemporary 70’s.

You have to be very particular about the dress and shoes that you use while dancing the hip-hop style. In order to do it you need to have a good figure and also strong muscle power. You need to warm up before you start the hip hop dance. It will increase your stamina.

Warm up session will also help you to move your body freely and will save you from any major injuries. There are various styles of hip hop dancing. Some are locking, contemporary, break dancing, popping and industrial type hip hop. You have to be fit enough to perform a hip-hop dance.

This form of dance includes many body movements. So in order to do it you need to have a flexible body. Hip hop dance do not need any formal training. The body movements also include the jumps, rotations and the breakages. This together combined to make the hip hop form of dancing. There are different styles in hip-hop dancing also.

One of the styles is square side hip-hop dance. You can learn from the experts. Online classes are there which will teach you all the styles of hip hop. Dance schools are also there in different places where we can learn this form of dance.

Learnt if you watch it, you will definitely get to know the style and will be able to perform. Now a day the originality of the hip hop dance is fading. Many people have changed the methods and ways of dancing.

Chest movement is very much predominant in this dancing style. The chest is maneuvered in a particular style that tends to seem that particular portion of the body is popping out and this is called chest pop. Then there is body roll where the toes are crossed and body seems to roll in a delicate fashion.

So in a nutshell, you can say that urban dance is not like other traditional dances with delicate moves. Instead of this, it is a form of art, which requires a very high level of skill set as far as body structure and body posture and stamina.

The Hip Hop Urban Culture

Hip hop music is part of hip hop culture predominately among African Americans and Latinos (the other two elements are graffiti art and breakdancing). The reasons for the rise in hip hop music are found in the changing urban culture in the United States in the 1970’s. Beginning in the 1980’s, hip hop culture began its spread across the world. By taking the time to explain a fertile culture expression, students of hip hop music place at our disposal some of the most intriguing investigations of a powerful art form.

More than a musical style, hip-hop is a history of American culture, and a testimony by its artists of their life experiences. In 1985, when Run-DMC ordained themselves the “Kings of Rock,” in their lyrics of their hit song of the same name, they probably never imagined that one day they would be recognized as such. As the pioneers of hip-hop music, they convinced the world to dance to poetry with a beatbox. They invited anyone who would listen to “Walk This Way” in “My Adidas,” all the way to the top of VH1’s list of the “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists.” And in the words of the great Run-DMC themselves, “It’s like that! And that’s the way it is! Huh!”

VH1’s “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists” serves as a platform for hip-hop music’s superstars of the past, present and future to acknowledge their hip-hop peers. Proof that hip-hop music has woven itself into the fabric of American music and culture.

“50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists” features archival clips, classic performances and exclusive interviews with the some of the world’s greatest entertainers. It also represents VH1’s recognition of hip-hop music as a significant music form and the integration of the genre into our music programming repertoire.

The lyrics found in hip hop music are expressions that are linked with cultural and societal feelings of an individual. Hip hop lyrics are known for their conversational quality. Hip hop lyrics are used to teach stylistic features, imagery, assonance, alliteration, rhythmic structure and rhyme are taught while basic literacy (vowels, consonants, blends, syllables and spelling) is embedded.

Hip hop lyrics typically employ inner-city slang with poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance and rhyme. The slang of hip hop lyrics may include words like, yo, dis, flow, phat and homie. Hip hop lyrics have been likened to what rock music lyrics used to be, and in some cases have taken the place of rock and folk songs within the culture. Hip hop lyrics contain many references that the listeners can relate to. Hip hop lyrics that tell of excess wealth and luxury of artists may connect to a group of individuals with such dreams.

As in the language, hip hop lyrics are poetry, but poetry with something more added to it. Some hip hop lyrics are extremely articulate in that they express a certain subject in a different form. Though it is true that many hip hop lyrics are slang it is also true that much of our commonly spoken language is slang and sometimes vulgar. Hence, allowing us to see that there is a difference between descriptive and prescriptive language.

Adding to the hip hop music and song lyrics, dancing is another element of the hip hop culture better known as the hip hop dance style. Hip hop dance is a collaborative movement that continually grows and evolves through individual improvisation. Hip hop dance is an art form that has the nation and world trying to one-two step or breakdance to krumping.

Hip hop music and dancing, or breaking, rose in the 1970’s and 1980’s, centered on urban communities of young dancers and musicians and their popular culture.
Hip hop dancing continues to evolve into many different forms today, heavily influenced by the evolution of music and its popularity in the media.

Hip-hop is a strenuous dance style that involves using the entire body to create sharp, expressive movements. As in all dance forms, hip hop dance is a technique with defined steps and movements that must be learned and practiced.

Classic Hip Hop Dance Moves

As hip hop dancing takes the country by storm, some classic moves have been created. Let’s take a look at some of the more famous hip hop moves over time:

“The Dougie” – This dance is from the song “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District. While there are many variations of how to do “The Dougie”, here are some of the basic steps to the dance: Sway to one side and pause for a beat while putting your weight on the foot on the side you’re leaning towards. As you continue to sway, your arms should be by your side bringing them up towards you in a fist in a counter-clockwise circular motion, one at a time, until your arm is bent with your elbow facing down and your fist up by your head. Next, perfect the wheelchair move. To complete this move, with both arms, make forward circles to your sides while crouching lower with each rotation. Then finally, add the signature style of “The Dougie”, bring your hand over the top of your head and slide if off the back, like you’re slicking your hair down. Do this with the side-to-side move. Shift your shoulders side to side and then do it with the other hand. And, finally, don’t forget to be loose with your knees; otherwise you’re going to look very stiff.

“Stanky Legg” – This dance step is probably the easiest of all hip hop dance moves. The movement involves the rotating the dancers’ leg in a circular motion and then alternating to the opposite leg. It also utilizes moves from “The Dougie”.

“Cupid Shuffle” – Back in 2007, this song peaked at number sixty-six on the Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song was sung by the hip hop artist Cupid. This is a simple dance. First step four times to the right, then step four times to the left. Next, put your heel of right foot to the floor, then repeat with your left leg. Repeat this twice for each leg. Then, just walk in place, but turn to the left while doing so, so that when you get to the next part, you’re facing the next wall. You can also turn and shake your hips to the beat. Repeat the dance steps for each direction you’re facing. If you do this four times you’ll make a complete circle.

“Chicken Noodle Soup” – This dance requires dancers to make exaggerated shuffling movements, arm swings and perform a pantomime of the song’s lyrics. Apparently it stems from other New York-based street dances like the “Harlem Shake”.

This song was released back in the dance craze days of 2006. The dance itself can be done in many different ways because each dancer adds their own personal flair. The basic steps begin with the dancers following the initial lyrics from the accompanying song. As the words “Let it rain and clear it out” is said, the dancer then makes raining motions with their hands. This motion is the same as jazz hands combined with having the dancers arms bent in a vertical position while slowly lowering their arms. This is done three times before the main part of the dance begins.

The next step is to move both arms from the front of the dancers’ body to the back while bouncing off of each foot from side to side. These die to side movements of the legs followed by the flailing of the arms to match the corresponding feet movement can create sheer havoc!

“Walk it Out” – The “Walk it Out” dance begins as an exaggerated walk where each of the dancers steps feature pivoting on the balls of their feet. The dancer should keep their knees bent and their heels off the ground. As the dancer takes a step forward with their left foot, both feet should pivot to the right and then to the left. Then, as the dancer steps forward with their right foot, both feet should pivot to the left and right. Then, by adding some hip movements and keeping their knees bent, the dancer has successfully completed the “Walk it Out”.

How Hip Hop Dance is Best Learned

I begun to lean Hip Hop just about 3 years ago, and got hooked immediately. I wanted to know so bad How Hip Hop Dance is being done so I started at a dance school and practiced under different teachers five times a week. In half a year I evolve some good skills, the problem was that because of the enormously amount of training I had no time to use my new learned moves and develop my own style. I became a copycat.

I will warn you about this, if you want to learn how hip hop dance is being done don’t just take class after class all the time. My tips is to practice at least as much on your own or at a club as you do in a dance studio following a teacher.

This may seem hard in the start but I permit you, it will give some mad results. Try to challenge yourself by turning on your favorite Hip hop song and freestyle until the end. Play with the dynamics and accent different sounds in the beat. Practicing hip hop this way will make you to a much better dancer in a shorter time.

I see two big risks with taking too many classes each week. The first one is to get stuck in the dance studio in front of the mirror not being able to use your maximum energy and feeling insecure when dancing without a mirror. The second risk is to become a “copy cat” or biter as it’s called in the dance world. This is a really bad thing and will lower your respect amongst other dancers.

Imagine yourself going out to a club at Friday night dancing and having fun with your friends. When you’re dancing there you see this guy and your friends say something like “Hey he looks exactly like you”. That’s not the point of dancing, you should be dancing because you like it not to show off yourself. And that’s exactly what many of the “biters” are doing, trying to look good by copying someone else’s moves and groove. The best dancers always try to flip and add their own touch to the new moves they learn. It’s also about giving something back to the Hip Hop culture, creating new steps or flipping old ones into something new.

Learn the Fundamentals of Hip Hop Dance

Hip Hop is an expressive form of dance that anyone can begin to learn with a little bit of practice. Four basic moves that every beginner Hip Hop dancer should know how to do are the Back Slide (many people call this the Moon Walk), Body Rolls, Ball Change and various Isolations.

The back slide is performed by bringing the heel up on the back foot with a forced arch and then sliding the front foot staying flat on the ground back to meet the foot that is arched. When they meet the foot being dragged back goes into a high forced arch and the other foot now goes flat, you then repeat the move alternating with each sliding foot. It is important to keep the foot that is sliding back completely on the ground as if you are trying to wipe something off the bottom of your shoe. Many variations are used using this dance step.

Body rolls are performed by dipping your chest towards the ground then arching your back and collapsing your chest and stomach as if you were just punched in that area. Body rolls can be performed using many different levels (ie: dipping low to the ground or staying upright).

Ball Change is a technique widely used in many forms of dance. The move is performed by separating your feet, normally hip width apart and then you make a very small hop onto one foot while the other foot is lifted and placed in front of the foot that just hopped.

Various isolations are very important and require control and practice. You can start with isolating the neck by moving your neck side to side keeping only that part of the body in motion and the rest of the body still (isolated). You can then move the head back and forth and once comfortable try moving the neck in a circular motion while keeping the rest of your body still. The same technique can be applied to the torso.

These are basic moves that anyone can practice and are safe to do without a dance teacher. Of course watching a video demonstrating these moves would be helpful and you have access to a professional dance instructor this would help expedite the learning process greatly.

Out of these four moves the technique every good Hip Hop dancer should know is the Ball Change as it is used widely in most choreography. Unlike ballet Hip Hop is a form of dance that the movements have no restrictions or boundaries and is one of the more fun styles of dances to try and master since it is ever changing. You use your body to tell a story and simple day-to-day moves can be incorporated to help show that story. People that practice Hip Hop dance will learn control of their bodies and connect their mind to their movements all while getting a healthy workout. Hip Hop Dance is so free and very expressive and just plain fun to do. A great way to learn Hip Hop is from a professional which you can find by calling up your local dance studio to see what classes they have to offer.