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Artists like Eminem and Missy Elliot sell millions of records around the world yearly. What do they have in common? They all belong to the diversifying world of hip hop. Hip hop is a genre of music, often known as rap, which originated in the United States during 1970's and has become a essential part of modern culture ever since. Its evolution has come throughout different fusions of different types of music. Hip Hop consists of basically rapping and production, and of other cultural elements such as beat boxing and break dancing; This type of music has a made a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, even controversial issues have made it more popular.

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Hip Hop music began in the early 1970s as an alternative to violence. Its roots come from African American, West African and Dancehall. The origin of Hip hop is basically divided into four main stages. The old school hip hop ranged from the early 70's until 1986. Old school hip hop is the very first hip hop music to be played in the block parties of New York City in the 1970's and early 1980's. The African-American community opposed playing disco music on radio stations, and DJ's began isolating the percussion breaks to hit songs realizing these were the most entertaining parts. They extended the percussion and created what is known now as "remixes." Over these remixes, performers began speaking eventually evolving into rapping. The golden age hip hop extended until 1992. During these years, hip hop combined with rock music, reggae and techno, developing a new style, which became ever more popular. From 1992 to 1998, the modern era of hip hop developed. "Gansta Rap" became popular with artists such as Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur. The final era which ranges from 1998 until present time, is the "Jiggy/Bling" era. Artists such as Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, among others became popular in Southern United States.

Hip hop consists on four main cultural elements: rapping, beatboxing, production, and break dancing. Rapping is the central element of hip hop music and consists of delivering rhymes with rhythm with or without a background beat. Beatboxing is the vocal percussion of hip hop culture. It is the art of creating rhythms, beats and different melodies using the mouth. Production consists in the utilization of drums, hardware and software sequencers, instrumentation, etc., to create music. Usually the production in hip hop music is done by a DJ or a producer, who is actually considered the creator of the piece rather than the hip hop artist. Finally, the last cultural element is break dancing, which is a dynamic style of dance. It is one of the major elements of hip hop culture and differs from other dances as it does not have any structured or limited positions or steps. It consists of funk styles, hand stands, flips, etc.

As a revolutionary type of music, hip hop has a made a huge social impact on modern men's lifestyle, affecting many areas of life. During the 1900s, a popularity of a "bling-bling" lifestyle arose, which focused on symbols of wealth like money, jewelry, cars, and clothing. This lifestyle popularizes the material side of life. Hip Hop music has also had a huge impact on modern-day language, creating a distinctive slang. Many words created by rappers have been adopted by different people all around the world, who make them part of their every day life. Hip hop's emphasis on hyper-masculinity has also created problems against homosexuals and females. Usually, hip hop emphasizes on masculinity and its lyrics often denigrate the lifestyle of homosexuals. Women are the most common subject of hip-hop songs which evaluate women basically in two different groups: the first, portraying the stereotypical image of a woman who is a sexual adventurer and takes advantage of man's money; and the second, portraying women hyperbolically as a member of royalty, often as a "queen" or "princess." Also, Hip hop has had a major impact on media including television, press, radio, magazines and films.

This type of music has encountered problems with extreme censorship due to both extreme use of profanity and controversial subjects. The persuasive used of profanity and graphic images of violence and sex have created censorship on the lyrics, often replaced with "clean" lyrics, which invert the true message of the song. Hip hop music often speaks about modern world issues, different events such as the World Trade Center attack and the War on Iraq, and is often a criticism to today's politics and world of violence, which is often considered as an insult. Hip hop music has usually a bad reputation among white people, who believe it only consists of violent anti-white and anti-female material. However, most hip hop music does not. Hip Hop often consists of powerful writing expressing the hopes and angers of generations and groups of people.

Hip hop is the first type of music that basically consists of incidental scratches of a record. Its evolution has increased its popularity and quality throughout the years. Using its cultural elements and its impact on social life, Hip hop has evolved from simple music into a way of living. It portrays the life of a society in the United States which is slowly growing. Hip hop, even with its controversy, is often the voice of reason for many issues around the world and a cry for help for the extreme violence around the world.

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