Keith Cowboy, a rapper from the United States, is credited with having coined the term ‘hip hop’. He only invented the name ‘hip hop’ and not the ‘hip hop’ itself. The roots of hip hop can be found in the African-American musical tradition which ultimately led to the African musical traditions – especially Jamaican.

Hip hop as we know it, originated in the 1970s’ parties in the United States. The music or the sound systems used in the parties were similar to the sound system used in Jamaica. These were usually outdoor parties, which were attended by a lot of people. There was a huge competition among the party throwers and it was during this period and under these circumstances that the ‘hip hop’ and ‘rap’ were born. A number of records were released by the early ‘hip hop’ singers. Sugarhill Gang’s song ‘Rappers Delight’ is considered to be the first true hip hop release. It was released in the year 1979. Other contenders to the throne are Fatback Band’s ‘King Tim III’ and ‘Groovy Ghost Show’ by Casper. They were released a few months earlier but the purists don’t count them as hip hop.

Poverty and high unemployment among the blacks and the Latinos top the list of the conditions, which contributed to the birth of ‘hip hop’. In 1970s, unemployment was rampant among these communities. This gave birth to street gangs and the people who threw big outdoors parties, which ultimately resulted in the ‘hip hop’ musical tradition.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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