History of Hip Hop

By ali_6ix
  • Early Years

    Earl Tucker (aka Snake Hips), a performer at the Cotton Club, invents a dance style similar to today’s hip-hop moves. He incorporates floats and slides into his dance. Similar moves would later inspire an element of hip-hop culture known as breakdancing.
  • 40s

    Tom the Great (a.k.a. Thomas Wong) uses a booming sound system to delight his audience. Wong also utilizes hip American records to steal music-lovers from competitors and local bands.
  • 50s

    The Soundclash contest between Coxsone Dodd’s “Downbeat” and Duke Reid’s “Trojan” gives birth to the concept of DJ battling.
  • 50s

    Clive Campbell is born in Kingston, Jamaica. Campbell would later become the father of what we now know as hip-hop.
  • 50s

    Parks Commissioner Robert Moses starts building an expressway in the Bronx. Consequently, middle-class Germans, Irish, Italians, and Jewish, neighborhoods gradually disappear. Businesses relocate away from the borough only to be replaced by impoverished African-American and Hispanic families. Along with the poor came addiction, crime, and unemployment.
  • 60s

    James Brown records Live At The Apollo. Brown’s drummer Clayton Fillyau introduces a sound that is now known as the break beat. The break beat would later inspire the b-boy movement, as breakers danced to these beats at block parties.
  • 60s

    In a historic boxing bout, Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston in the 6th round. Before the contest, however, Ali recites one of the earliest known rhymes: "Clay comes out to meet Liston
    And Liston starts to retreat
    If Liston goes back any further
    He'll end up in a ringside seat.
    Clay swings with a left,
    Clay swings with a right,
    Look at young Cassius
    Carry the fight.
    Liston keeps backing
    But there's not enough room
    It's a matter of time..."
  • 60s

    Clive Campbell migrates to the United States at the age of 11. Because of his imposing size, kids at Alfred E. Smith High School nickname him Hercules. He would later become a graf writer and change his name to Kool Herc.
  • 60s

    A gang named Savage Seven would hit the streets of the East Bronx. Savage Seven later changes its name to Black Spades, before eventually becoming an organization known as the Zulu Nation.
  • 60s

    James Brown records two songs that would further influence the drum programming in today’s rap music “Sex Machines” with John Starks playing drums and “Funky Drummer” with Clyde Stubblefield on the drums.
  • 70s

    DJ U-Roy invades Jamaican pop charts with three top ten songs using a style known as toasting. The Last Poets release their self-titled debut album on Douglas Records combining jazz instrumentations with heartfelt spoken word. The Last Poets would later appear on Common’s 2005 rap anthem, “The Corner."
  • 70s

    Aretha Franklin records a well-known b-boy song “Rock Steady." The Rock Steady crew would go on to rule in the world of breakdancing, with members all across the globe.
  • 70s

    The Black Messengers a group that staged performances for The Black Panthers and rallies relating to black power movement feature on The Gong Show.However, they are only allowed to perform under the alias "Mechanical Devices," because of their controversial name.
  • 70s

    DJ Kool Herc deejays his first block party at his sister's birthday at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, NY. Herc would often buy two copies of a record and stretch the break parts by using two turntables and mixing in both records before the break ends.
    The Zulu Nation is officially formed by a student of Stevenson High school named Kevin Donovan. Donovan later changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim in honor of an ancient Zulu chief.
  • 70s

    After seeing DJ Kool Herc perform at block parties, Grandmaster Caz, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa start playing at parties all over the Bronx neighborhoods. Around this time, DJ/MC/Crowd Pleaser Lovebug Starski starts referring to this culture as"hip-hop."
  • 70s

  • 70s

    DJ Afrika Bambaataa performs at the Bronx River Center. Bambaataa’s first battle against Disco King Mario sparks off the DJ battling that is now embedded in the culture.
  • 70s

  • 70s

    Kurtis Blow, who was being managed by Russell Simmons, decides to hire Simmons’ brother Run, as his DJ.
    Run was so-called because he could cut so fast between two turntables.
    Kurtis would later become the first rapper to be signed to a major record deal.
    Music industry coins the term "rap music" and shifts its focus toward emcees.
    Grandmaster Caz (aka Cassanova Fly) and Bambaataa engage in a battle at the Police Athletic League.
  • 70s

    Grandmaster Flash forms one of the most influential rap groups ever, The Furious 5:Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler), Melle Mel (Melvin Glover), Kidd Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Cowboy (Keith Wiggins), Raheim (Guy Williams), and Mr. Ness (Eddie Morris).
  • 80s

    Afrika Bambaata and the Zulu Nation release their first 12" called Zulu Nation Throwdown Pt. 1 on Paul Winley Records.
    Kurtis Blow, the first rapper to appear on national television (Soul Train), releases "The Breaks" on Mercury Records. The record goes on to sell more than a million copies. Hip-hop gradually evolves into big business.
    After meeting Fab 5 Freddy and others, Blonde releases "Rapture" featuring rap vocals by lead singer Debbie Harry.
  • 80s

    Grandmaster Flash releases “The Adventures of Grand Master Flash on the Wheels of Steel," the first record to ultimately capture the sounds of live DJ scratching on wax. On February 14th, The Funky 4 plus One More perform their classic hit, “That's The Joint” on NBC's Saturday Night Live becoming the first hip hop group to appear on national television. The Beastie Boys are formed. The group consists of Adam Horovitz (King Ad-Rock), Adam Yauch (MCA), Michael Diamon (Mike D).
  • 80s

  • 80s

  • 90s

  • 90s

    N.W.A’s sophomore album N****z For Life sells over 954,000 copies in its first week of release, reaching #1 on the pop charts. The album paves way for many more hardcore rap albums that would follow. Busta Rhymes appears on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.”
    Cypress Hill (B-Real, DJ Muggs, and Sen Dog) release their self-titled debut, and initiate a campaign to legalize hemp. The Notorious B.I.G. is featured in the “Unsigned Hype” column of The Source magazine.
  • 90s

    Queen Latifah wins a Grammy award in the "Best Rap Solo Performance" category for her hit “Unity.” 2 Pac signs a deal with Death Row Records after Suge Knight posts a $1.4 million bail. Eric Wright (Eazy-E of N.W.A) dies of AIDS on March 20th at the age of 31.
  • 90s

    On September 7th, Tupac Shakur is fatally wounded after sustaining multiple gunshots as he rode in a car driven by Death Row Records CEO Marion "Suge" Knight near the Las Vegas strip. Tupac died 5 days later. His death rekindled the debate on whether rap promotes violence or just reflects the ugly side of the streets.
  • 90s

    The Notorious B.I.G. is shot and killed March 9, after a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Like 2Pac's murder, Biggie's death is still an unsolved mystery.
  • 90s

    Dr. Dre inks Eminem to his Aftermath imprint.
  • 2000s

    Dr. Dre files a lawsuit against MP3-swapping firm Napster.
  • 2000s

  • 2000s

    DJ Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC is shot and killed in a Queens studio on October 30. No one has been convicted of his murder.
  • 2000s

    Eminem becomes the new focus of a debate on hip-hop and racism after some unidentified friends of the rapper submitted a tape of him using the N-word and making several derogatory remarks about the African-American community.
  • 2000s

    In the middle of the 2004 Vibe Awards ceremony, a man named Jimmy James Johnson approaches rap legend Dr. Dre, who was preparing to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and punches him in the face. A full-on brawl ensues during which Johnson gets stabbed.
  • 2000s

    The "Miss Jones Morning Show" crew on Hot 97 FM sparks outrage by playing the "Tsunami Song," a racist parody of "We Are the World" that ridicules victims of the South Asian tidal wave that killed almost 300,000 people. The "Miss Jones" is temporarily yanked off the air.
  • 2000s

  • 2010s

  • 2010s

    On April 29,2016 Drake drops his much anticipated album "Views" which is dedicated to his city Toronto also known as the 6ix.