Hip Hop Definition or Description 
By Brother Worthwhile
Recently, I attended a panel in Chicago for Jessie Jacksonís Rainbow/PUSH Conference. The panel on Hip Hop and politics. One of the big questions was not answered. The question was what is Hip Hop? This seems like a easy question however, when I got home and searched the Internet I could not find a clear answer. I found a lot of information on the beats and sounds even the movements were described. I went to Afrika Bambataaís site and Grandmaster Flashís and theirs didnít fully define it. I still cold not find a way to define exactly what Hip Hop is. I then decided to define Hip Hop myself. The following is how I would define Hip Hop to somebody that doesnít know anything. It is a working definition however, I believe you will be able to see the difference between a definition and a description of Hip Hop.

Hip Hop is our most complete African diasporic collective expression in America. Hip Hop is the latest cultural expression that African transplants or descendant have produced. Hip Hop has every aspect of a culture included. It has a musical expression, a vocabulary, a dance an art, and an overall energy that influences comedy, poetry, oratory, and overall communication. Hip Hop has influenced all forms of art including fashion, cartooning and lettering, books and film. Hip Hop has all of the individual African diasporic expressions influencing it as well.

Unlike gospel, the Blues, Jazz, DooWop and Disco or whatever weíve created here in America. Hip Hop mirrors a sub-culture. Hip Hop is a sub-culture because it is more than just a style of art. Hip Hop has political philosophy, a male and female definition, a business style and even an education style. Hip Hop as a social organization has an African tribal style of unity. Taking directly from Caribbean and Latino culture Hip Hopís dance and fashion are more alike than any other cultures. To truly define Hip Hop it is important to understand itís New York roots. Although many of Hip Hopís characteristics where being reinterpreted in a variation of ways in different parts of the Country the New York style is the most prominent.

Hip Hop is a part of African American History. Hip Hop is a part of the Caribbean American experience including the English, French and Spanish speaking islands. Formulated in the Urban areaís where poverty bonds people Hip Hop is also a by product of Americaís racism. While in the Caribbean (English, French and Spanish) African captives where able to maintain rhythm of Africa with the use of the drum. African Captives had to be creative in the that they maintained their African rhythms in America. In America Africans may not have been able to use the drum so, they took their rhythms and other African Culture activities too places that African Americans had more control like the church. It is because of the limitations and restrictions that provided a creative mentality that lead to the creation of Hip Hop. The limitations in America is what lead African Americans to reconfigure existing devices to develop the primary elements of Hip Hop. Therefore what appears to be copying and mimicking is actually the normal act of embracing that is done in other areas of African American culture. Musical instruments, and interpersonal interactive behaviors are used to create itís individuality. Hip Hopís cultural individuality is more like a fusion of the various Caribbean cultures with the African American cultural norms.

Hip Hop is a part of America History. Hip Hop is what happened when African Americaís where giving more social freedom through desegregation. This allowed African American and other cultural groups the ability to behave with more comfort. As a result of this African American and other cultural groups Athletes, Business professionals, politicians and educators have success thru the use of Hip Hop culture. Hip Hop came from the poor and disadvantaged communities. It demonstrates how to merge cultural traditions into modern American culture. This is what allows Hip Hop to bridge so many cultures characteristics and infuses them into basic rhythms, clothing and social expressions both verbal and physical. Hip Hop is a fun culture and it is open for everyone. The only for requirement is that you understand itís roots and principals. Hip Hop is how people who donít have the financial and social advantages enjoy themselves in a society that is structured against the them. Itís shapes itís musical themes and is primary reason why successful Hip Hoppers have problems adjusting to wealth. Hip Hop is rapidly becoming the best ambassador of modern America culture. Itís rags to riches stories are directly in line with what some people think of when the think of America. Hip Hopís ghetto and angered mentality allow it to reach many of the poor people in other countries who also are isolated and angered. Most of all the flashy money and sexy images of itís videos are the attractions that allows it to cross language barriers. The future of Hip Hop is wide open. It is attached to the plight of the African American and other culture groups. 27 years into itís existence it has become the most dominate culture in America. Look for Hip Hop to consume the World with itís music, fashion and attitude in 10 more years Hip Hop will be dominating everywhere.