"Hip-hop music is generally considered to have been pioneered in New York's South Bronx in 1973 by Jamaican-born Kool DJ Herc. At a Halloween dance party thrown by his younger sister, Herc used an innovative turntable technique to stretch a song's drum break by playing the break portion of two identical records consecutively. The popularity of the extended break lent its name to 'breakdancing'--a style specific to hip-hop culture, which was facilitated by extended drumbreaks played by DJs at New York dance parties. By the mid-1970s, New York's hip-hop scene was dominated by seminal turntablists DJ Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Herc. The rappers of Sugarhill Gang produced hip-hop's first commercially successful hit, 'Rapper's Delight,' in 1979'.
Rap itself--the rhymes spoken over hip-hop music--began as a commentary on the ability--or 'skillz'--of a particular DJ while that DJ was playing records at a hip-hop event. MCs, the forerunners of today's rap artists, introduced DJs and their songs and often recognized the presence of friends in the audience at hip-hop performances. Their role was carved out by popular African-American radio disc jockeys in New York during the latel96Os, who introduced songs and artists with spontaneous rhymes. The innovation of MCs caught the attention of hip-hop fans. Their rhymes lapped over from the transition period between the end of one song and the introduction of the next to the songs themselves. Their commentaries moved solely from a DJ's skillz to their own personal experiences and stories. The role of MCs in performances rose steadily, and they began to be recognized as artists in their own right .
The local popularity of the rhythmic music served by DJs at dance parties and clubs, combined with an increase in 'b-boys'--breakdancers--and graffiti artists and the growing importance of MCs, created a distinctive culture known as hip-hop. For the most part, hip-hop culture was defined and embraced by young, urban, working-class African-Americans. Hip-hop music originated from a combination of traditionally African-American forms of music--including jazz, soul, gospel, and reggae. It was created by working-class African-Americans, who, like Herc, took advantage of available tools--vinyl records and turntables--to invent a new form of music that both expressed and shaped the culture of black New York City youth in the 1970s."
(Becky Blanchard, 1999)
2). Information on MCs drawn from the University of Maryland's "Mcing: The Past" and "MCing: The Present" in "A Brief History of Hip-Hop Culture"
"Then, one night, I was watching TV and happened to tape a documentary–it was ABC's Vietnam Requiem–about the war. When I watched it back, what struck me was how young the soldiers were: the documentary said their average age was 19. I was out having fun in pubs and clubs when I was 19, not being shoved into jungles and shot at. One line–'None of them received a hero's welcome'–really struck a chord. When the soldiers came home, people wondered what had happened to the smiling kids who went out there. What did they expect if they'd been through that shit?
I started messing around and adding music to the narrative. The main sound was electro–I was hugely into Afrika Bambaataa at the time–but I added a bit of jazz and a nice melody. I used an Emu Emulator, an early type of sampler that had a two–second limit when it came to doing samples. That's why the hook was 'N–n–n–nineteen'. It was the only bit of the narrative that made sense in two seconds."
(Interviews by Dave Simpson, The Guardian, 24 September 2012)