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Hip Hop Resources: Getting Started

Hip hop is a musical genre credited as originating in the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s. Growing out of the diversity and multiculturalism of New York City and musical influences of African American and Caribbean sounds and musical technique


Hip Hop is a cultural movement that has transformed musical expression, spoken word, visual art, and dance across the globe. Emerging from the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s, the multicultural fusion of African American and Caribbean American sounds and spoken word techniques gave rise to a unique and powerful new style of musical expression. Using turntables, DJs would create musical arrangements that MCs or rap artists would perform lyrics to.

Breakdancing also emerged at that time inspired by the characteristics and style of Hip Hop music, and Graffiti as a visual art form served as a bold and colorful means of expression as well. 

Hip Hop, in each of its elements, arose as a creative outlet for urban youth to communicate their viewpoints and experiences in various mediums and forms, and it has evolved into a global movement and artform that reflects artistry across a multitude of fields.


Evolution of Hip Hop


This infographic suggests some of the general themes and characteristics of Hip Hop. It also lists estimated time periods when the listed themes and characteristics were most popular. Note that any of these noted themes and characteristics can be found at any time within Hip Hop's history, these are just suggested themes and characteristics to explore when studying the transition of Hip Hop over multiple decades.

Infographic created by Melissa John

Subjects and Research Areas of Hip Hop

Music & Performing Arts                                                             

Dance & Performing Arts                                                                                           

Visual & Fine Arts                                            

Creative Writing & Literature 

Communication & Media                                             

Culture, Fashion, & Identity            

Business & Industry

Social & Political Movements                         

Technology & Sound & Mechanical Engineering     

American History & World History    

Psychology & Sociology                      


Education & Pedagogy 


Hip Hop is reflected in many different fields, subjects, and research areas. Above are some fields and subject areas to consider when studying the overall place, role, and impact of Hip Hop as a culture and art.