Music Tech: Characteristics of Hip- Hop and artists

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Special focus: Hip Hop
Vocals, rapping, drum machine, turntable, samplers, synths, sometimes lives
instruments such as guitars, keys, drums, percussion, bass, sax and other horns
Performance and arrangement
Based on repeating rhythmic patterns-loops
Melodic elements are usually short motifs
Use of riffs, often repetitive
Sometimes no bass line
Unusual and unique timbres- created by Dj's using scratch techniques on
record decks which involves manipulating the playback of a record, moving
it quickly back and forth, speeding up and slowing down.
Harmonic elements have little importance- no large scale chord patterns or
complex harmony
Rappers- often several perform over the beats
Rap is rarely melodic- emphasis on intricate rhythmic delivery and phrasing
Use of call and response chants
Beat boxing-rappers imitate sound of drum machine and other instruments
Songs usually have a verse/chorus structure with a chorus based on a single
line with catchy hooks delivered by rappers
Technology and production
Original hip-hop artists used 2 or more desks to play instrumental grooves-
often drum and bass breaks- while mixing in other patterns or hits from
other records
Later styles used samplers to create loops, DJ scratching, and create unique
sound by reversing, pitch shifting and filtering
Special effects from synths/non-pitched sound effects
Drum machines used instead or alongside loops created by DJs
Music often had a lo-fi quality- recording is deliberately noisy and lacking
full frequency range
Deep bass frequencies-often from kick drum
Main Artists
DJ Kool Herc-
Sugarhill gang- rappers delight
Afrika Bambaataa- planet rock, renegades of funk
Grandmaster Flash- the message
Run DMC- it's like that, hard times, walk this way
LL Cool J- I cant live without my radio, I need to love
The Beastie Boys-Fight for your right, No sleep till Brooklyn
Public Enemy- Don't believe the hype, Black steel in the hour of chaos
NWA- straight outta Compton, express yourself, always into something
MC Hammer- Please Hammer don't hurt em, u cant touch this
Coolio- Gangsters paradise
Eminem- my name is, the real slim shady, stan, just lose it

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Public Enemy
Public Enemy introduced a hard hip-hop sound that changed the rules of hip-hop.
PE's production team, the Bomb Squad, created a unique, noisy, layered
avant-garde-inspired sound that incorporated sirens, skittering turntable
scratches, and cleverly opposing musical and spoken samples The production team
used cut and paste techniques to create the best samples and to create totally
unique sounds.…read more

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MC Hammer
Widely considered the first "mainstream" rapper. Hammer's clothing-lines, one
later called J Slick, and flashy wardrobes also led to other performers being more
conscientious about video outfits, "shiny suits" and baggie pants. Prior to Hammer,
it was virtually unheard of for a hip-hop artist to be seen in a major commercial
spot. Hammer appeared in major marketing campaigns for companies such as Pepsi,
KFC, Toshiba and Taco Bell.…read more

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Snoop's debut album Doggystyle, was released in 1993 under Death Row Records,
debuting at No.1 on both the Billboard 200 and R&B charts.…read more


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