by Ashraf Nisfudin
Hip hop or hip-hop, is a subculture and art movement developed in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s. The origins of the word are often disputed. It is also argued as to whether hip hop started in the South or West Bronx.
While the term hip hop is often used to refer exclusively to hip hop music (also called rap), hip hop is characterized by nine elements, of which only four elements are considered essential to understand hip-hop musically.
The main elements of hip-hop consist of four main pillars. Encompassing graffiti art, MCing/rapping, DJing and b-boying, hip-hop became the dominant cultural movement of the minority-populated urban communities in the 1980s and it saw many artists making social statements through hip-hop.
Other elements of hip-hop subculture and art movements beyond the main four are beatboxing, a percussive vocal style; street entrepreneurship; hip-hop language; and hip-hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth element is commonly considered either street knowledge, hip-hop fashion, or beatboxing; however, it is often debated.
These elements of hip-hop are used to produce expressions either it be in music, dance or poetry. But they all sit under one roof which is art. At the base of all of it, it is still entangled with art and how we use it to express ourselves. Many have changed the world using just hip-hop as a medium because what ever that is produced, it contains deep meaning that can be deeply thought through and that we can reflect upon.
Many hip-hop artist or musicians now lack good content. A lot of rap songs we hear in the radio now are simply just mumbling about money and material items. Some claim that hip-hop is dead because nobody would amplify the truth in what they mean when they produce materials coming out from hip-hop. But we just need to seek for the right source. There are many good artist/poets/musicians out there that seek to gain discovery and possess a good quality of content.
There are a lot of Malaysian old and young talents that grew up with hip-hop and using it as a medium for expression. Here are some acts that caught our eye and we think is worth checking out.
(Of course the legendary 'Too Phat')
(Lawa Nie Geng)
There are many more to dive-in into our local music scene. The legendary Joe Flizzow from the Hip-Hop group duo Too Phat created a platform for MCs/Rappers to showcase their talent through YouTube, and its called 16Baris. You can explore all about it from their channel, link provided below.
...and here's a documentary of the History of Hip-Hop in Malaysia: