Hip-hop:Hip-Hop To the uninitiated hip-hop may hardly look or sound like an art form. Critics call it a visual eyesore and a conceptual nuisance but today the message of hip-hope is transcending borders. It’s the new lingua franca that binds young people all around the world

Progressive agenda: At the core of hip-hop is the notion of something called “cipher.” The cipher is the circle of participants and onlookers that closes around battling rappers or dancers as they improvise for each other. It is this progressive agenda of hip-hop that has remained consistent across cultures. People in Cape Town to Paris use hip-hop in their communities to address environmental justice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education.

Big Business: More than 59 million rap albums were sold in the United States alone last year. But that number represents only a small part of hip-hop’s influence. It sells an estimated $10 billion worth of trend-setting luxury and consumer goods every year from shoes, clothing, snack crackers and soda drinks to cars and computers.
This commercialization has turned many rappers into millionaires. Among the most successful example is Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z. The former drug dealer who grew up in poverty in the housing projects of Brooklyn is now worth an estimated $500 million.

Origin: Thirty year ago, hip-hop was popular with poor forgotten kids of Bronx in New York city for whom it was a good way to pass their time. The credit of popularizing hip hop though goes to two Jamaican-American immigrant teenagers, Cindy Campbell and her brother Clive, who in 1973 decided to throw a back-to-school party in their government subsidized apartment in Bronx. They had exquisite timing. After years of gang violence, teens in the area were growing weary and looking for a new way to express themselves. The Campbell’s Bronx parties became so popular they soon had to move them outdoors to a nearby park.

Rocking the planet: Less than a decade after the Campbell’s famous party, hip-hop began to seep outside the U.S. In 1982, Afrika Bambaataa and his group Soulsonic Force released a single called “Planet Rock,” which borrowed musical motifs from German electropop, British rock, and African-American disco rap. They blended the elements together, offering hip-hop as a new vision for global harmony. The record stormed the charts worldwide. But as hip-hop grows ever more popular, it becomes squeezed in the uneasy space between commercial and economic globalization from above and borderless, cultural grassroots globalization from below.

Battle of the Year: Every October in Braunschweig, Germany, 8500 hip-hop fans Hip-Hop Rapper Artistfrom around the world gather to witness the biggest global hip-hop dance competition, the Battle of the Year.Hip-hop events such as the battle of the Year create spaces for globalization from the bottom, bringing people together across the barriers of geography, language, and race. But the essence of hip-hop is the cipher, born in the Bronx, where competition and community feed each other. It is here that hip-hop always returns.


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