It’s Wednesday and I’m here with your weekly hip hop rap lesson. This week we will learn about the origins of “spitting on the mic” as it relates to the traditional DJ.
The word rap is an old word culminating in the 15th and 16th century which meant to strike or to hit. Then around the 1960s, the slang definition of the word meant to talk or speak, but in the Black communities on the East Coast, it meant someone was talking or having a conversation. For instance, “Let me rap witcha a minute.”
We learned last week that the essence of rap music in the form we recognize today started thousands of years ago in Africa by the village griots (storytellers), so let’s no lose sight of this bit of information as we continue.
On August 11, 1973, Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc throws a block party in the rec room of his building with his sister Cindy. It was at these parties DJ Kool Herc started doing something he coined the “merry go round”, which allowed him to extend the breakbeat in songs using two turntables.
DJ Kool Herc Introduces Rap
Herc realized that talking on the mic was as equally important as DJing to keep the crowd hyped, so he reached out to his good friend Coke La Rock to come and spit on the mic during one of his parties. Coke La rock would be known as the first dedicated emcee in the rap game.
Coke La Rock’s first bar was, “There’s not a man that can’t be thrown, not a horse that can’t be rode, a bull that can’t be stopped, there’s not a disco that I Coke La Rock can’t rock”. It was these bars that gave birth to rap and a genre of music that would surpass the belief of record companies believing it to be just a fad in the 70s. Soon becoming one of the most recognized music genres in the world. Every modern pop, rap, and R&B artist has used rap collaborations in their songs at some point, which solidifies the fact that rap crossed over into the mainstream, taking on a life of its own in the future with a culmination of multiple sub-rap genres of rap music.
In the years following the initiation of Hip Hop, DJs were popping up all over the place, but the music companies wouldn’t touch this type of music calling it a fad that would fade out in a few years, so they would not invest in the genre, but nothing was going to hold back this crowd-pleaser.
In 1979, rap music hit mainstream recognition with the first commercially released song “King Tim III (Personality Jock” by The Fatback Band (a popular funk band during this time). Unfortunately, this song was released as a B-side song, until club interest grew in the song, then it was re-released as an A-side song. Shortly after, becoming a top 30 hit on the R&B charts.
Later that same year, a rap group emerged called the Sugar Hill Game, which was comprised of Englewood, New Jersey natives Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. They released their infamous hit single Rapper’s Delight.
Rapper’s Delight was over fourteen minutes long and used the song “Good Times” by Chic (released in 1978), sample in the background. This would introduce sampling in rap music, which is a widely used musical method still used in music production today. Rapper’s Delight would achieve the top 40 spot on the Billboard countdown in 1980.
History is Made
What record companies considered a fad soon took on a life of its own, becoming one of the world’s most popular music genres of the decade. In fact, in the last sixty years of music, rap is considered one of the most original genres of mainstream music in the world. Since the introduction of Hip Hop a lot has changed, evolving into numerous different sub-hip hop rap music genres that still have the essence of rap music at its core, the heart and soul still remain.
Well kiddies, that is enough history for today. Next week I will discuss the evolution of Hip Hop and how it has changed over the last few decades. I hope you enjoyed this musical moment. I can’t wait to share more with you next week.
To the hip hip a hop, you don’t stop the rockin’ to the bang bang boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie beat… See you next week.
Author’s note: Thank you for stopping by and giving this a read. Comments are always welcomed.
Please continue to practice social distancing to stay safe and healthy.
Peace and Blessings – CV Davis
© 2020 | A CV Davis & Matt Synder Collaboration, All Rights Reserved
Art Done By Matt Snyder Copyright 2020 – Blog Aprolificpotpourri.wordpress.com
Photos and history courtesy of https://colemizestudios.com