As hip-hop celebrates 50 years, DJ Thump has selected his top-five rap artists who have died.
Like any style of music, hip-hop has roots in other forms and genres. Its evolution was shaped by many different artists, but there’s a case to be made that it came to life precisely on Aug. 11, 1973 at a birthday party in an apartment building in the West Bronx located in New York City.
The man who presided over that historic party was the birthday girl’s brother, Clive Campbell — better known in history as DJ Kool Herc, the founding father of hip-hop.
Hip-Hop isn’t just a genre of music; it’s actually a lifestyle and culture. It’s style, dancing, graffiti, rap, poetry,swag and simply a way of life.
It’s a cultural movement that attained widespread popularity in the 1980s and 1990s; it’s the foundational music for rap, which is the musical style incorporating rhythmic or rhyming speech that became the movement’s most lasting and influential art form.
The four elements of hip-hop are DJing, or “turntabling;” rapping, also known as “MCing” or “rhyming;” graffiti painting, also known as “graf” or “tagging;” and “B-boying,” which encompasses hip-hop dance, style, and attitude. It also goes along with the sort of punchy and strong body language, which philosopher Cornel West once described to me as “postural semantics.”
Rap artists such as 2 Live Crew, N.W.A., The Geto Boys and the Wu-Tang Clan, caused a movement that created many people to frown upon Hip-hop due to stereotypes about the music with many people describing it as “gangster rap music” or that it was ” degrading and aggressive.”
However, I lived through the production and popularity of these famous albums. These songs provided the audience with a catharsis experience because it was the first time that many of us heard our own stories, struggles and life on the radio. With that being said, many of our young talent — who skyrocketed in popularity during the ‘ 80s and ’90s — were victims of crime, after-effects of violence or unfortunate health.
Here are my top five artists that were taken from us too soon.