Hip-hop music is a relatively new genre, dating back only about 30 years. However, the roots of hip-hop are in the fusion of Africa and America. African music and oral traditions were brought by West African slaves to North and South America. There, they developed into their own musical styles -- often starting with church music, but becoming popular over time in wider circles. Gospel, blues and jazz are all part of this history in the U.S., while reggae, calypso and ska started in the Caribbean. West African drumming, combined with storytelling, is also an important part of the puzzle [source: Hip Hop Magazine].
American soldiers stationed in the Caribbean during World War II helped to integrate all these different musical styles. Jamaica had many temporary discos, and DJs began to add their personal style and comments to the music they shared, leading to two new types of reggae versions of songs, which were called talk over or dub. All of these influences were brought together by Clive Campbell, who emigrated from Jamaica to the U.S. in 1967 at the age of 13. He brought the talk over and dub methods to his West Bronx neighborhood in New York City. Campbell became a popular DJ, better known as DJ Kool Herc, with a style that influenced many others and grew into what is now known as hip-hop.
With so much international influence, it's no wonder that hip-hop music quickly spread around the globe, and over the last 30 years, it's influenced everything from fashion to dance to graffiti, becoming a cultural movement all its own. Many historians say that the modern hip-hop is made up of four elements: the DJ, rap, graffiti and break-dancing. However, some contend that these elements are much broader in scope, including visual arts, the written and spoken word, physical movement and style.
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