Popular Music: The Transition from Soul to Hip-Hop
Enetta Nelson RoseDowling Middle School of Fine ArtsINTRODUCTION
“Music is given to us as specifically to make order of things, to move from an anarchic,
individualistic state to a regulated, perfectly conscious one, which alone insures vitality and
durability” (Stravinsky as stated in Harper Book of Quotations
316). The above statement is a
description of art, music, and some styles of jazz. However, in applying it to the popular music of
our students today, I sometimes think twice, because the sounds or noises referred to as music are
questionable to me and the older generations. With this in mind, my curriculum unit is entitled,
“Popular Music: The Musical Transition from Soul to Hip-Hop.”Demographic Profile
Dowling Middle School of Fine Arts is located in Houston, Texas. The grades levels at
Dowling are sixth through eighth. It is an inner city Title I school located on the south side of
Houston and is a part of the Houston Independent School.
The enrollment of Dowling Middle School is eighteen hundred and eighty students. The
student population is composed of the following classifications. The Regular Ed students
comprise 64%. Magnet, AP or Pre-AP, Gifted and Talented students total 13%. Bilingual and ESL
students total 1%. The Career and Technology students total 2% of the population. The Special
Ed students total 11%. The ethnicity distributions are African American, 47%; Asian, 1%;
Hispanic, 51%; White American, 2%.
At Dowling Middle School, I am a Magnet or Gifted and Talented Piano and Strings
instructor. My student enrollment for 2006 to 2007 was one hundred and eight students. My class
schedule consisted of two beginning piano classes (no previous background/limited experience),
one intermediate piano (second year), advanced piano (third year), beginning strings and guitar
(no previous background/limited experience). Each class meets on alternating days. My students
are placed in my program either by an interview (for students without previous experience) or by
an audition (limited experience) during their fifth grade year. My students remain in my program
for three years. At the time of the audition or the interview, a contract is signed by both the
students and the parents acknowledging that they will remain in the piano or strings program for
three years as well as meet the performance criterions.
In my piano lab, there are a total of twenty student model digital pianos and two instructor’s
models. Furthermore, in the fall of 2007, I plan to add more technology equipment, such as
computers and recording equipment, so that my students will be exposed to a mini
recording/production studio. The expense of this equipment is funded by grants.OBJECTIVES
The objectives of my curriculum unit are aligned with the objectives from the Texas Essentials
Knowledge and Skills in Social Studies and Music for grade 8 (Texas Education Agency
Curriculum Codes). My students will examine geographical or regional locations with regard to
stylistic developments of music using maps. They will examine the similarities and differences Houston Teachers Institute96
between cultural idioms that are implemented in varying styles. They will investigate the
relationships that existed between organizational structures of music and cultural borrowing. Last,
my students will examine the historical development of varying styles and the contrasting
differences between Latinos and African Americans. My students will analyze the ways in which
societal issues impacted creative expression, and they will identify examples of both cultures as
well as performers. They will determine stylistic similarities and differences of structure and
Music TEKS 8.3 and 8.4 To study the structural organization of musical compositions
through the analysis of form, style, melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, texture, dynamics,
compositional techniques as well as terms and definitions related to all aspects with
regard to developing musical ideas.
The music objectives from Project Clarifying Learning to Enhance Achievement Results
(Project CLEAR), established by the Houston Independent School District, are listed below and
in the appendix. Students will develop a perspective on how music from the past and present
express and reflect traditions and cultural issues of any society within a given time and place.
MUSI.CH.MS. 2.a. - Determine stylistic similarities and differences of composers.
MUSI.CH.MS. 2.b. - Determine stylistic similarities and differences of compositions.
MUSI.CH.MS. 2.c. - Increase knowledge of musical works and the composers who related them
including time and place in which they were created.
MUSI.PA.MS. 4.a. - Develop music literacy by decoding music symbols and utilizing music
My rationale for developing this unit is that music is the reflection of social implications, spiritual
and economic differences, and the blend and depiction of diverse cultures. In my opinion, through
the study of culture, music will function as that secret ingredient that provides just the right
seasoning to flavor the recipes of genres. Another reason for developing this curriculum unit is to
cultivate an awareness of how the musical structure of hip-hop parallels some forms of jazz as
well as make the study of history, social studies, and geography more relevant to the students with
regard to American music. Therefore, it is important to innovatively correlate music with the
academic subjects as much as possible in order to build on the wholeness of the students’
perspectives and their connections to the culture in which they live. This unit is important to my
students for many reasons. First, the transition from soul to hip-hop and rap reflects unrest and
upheaval in musical thought. My perception of this viewpoint parallels with the headlines in the
newspaper, televised news broadcasts, and the increasing numbers of juvenile crimes. Second, the
music of the hip-hop and rap culture reflects diversity; cultural idioms; and wide ranges of
expressions, instrumentations, and usage of polyrhythmic structures. Third, the changes and
combinations in the fields of music technology, music industry, and business have impacted the
composers, performers, and audiences with regard to discriminating and undiscriminating taste.
More importantly, through the study of popular music and its culture, a person will gain insights
into the thoughts, issues, and actions of today’s youth. This is especially true because all music
reflects some part of culture through rhythmic structures, tempi, textures, tonalities, timbres, or
dynamics and chord structures. In addition, through the examination or the investigation of
popular music as well as some of the cultural issues, such as graffiti art, gangs, peer pressure,
drugs, and other problems related to the hip-hop culture, a person will gain knowledge to
orchestrate or create solutions for solving some of the societal problems with our youth and
develop or create methods for preventing the same issues or problems in the future.97Houston Teachers Institute
My unit background information will be divided into the following eras. The first era to be
investigated is jazz-rock, which is sometimes referred to as fusion. The next era of popular music
to be investigated is early rock. The third era to be investigated is “Motown and Soul” to “Funk.”
The third era to be examined is hip-hop and rap. The artistic genres surveyed within the unit will
be the following: Music of the African and Latino performers. The discourse of study within this
unit will impact my students in the following ways. First, it will enable them to develop an
understanding of the structural organizations of musical compositions. The structural analysis will
be investigated through the examination of musical forms and genres. In addition, the students
will correlate the differences between the jazz-rock or fusion, early rock, Motown and soul, funk,
hip-hop and rap. The students will analyze melodic structures and thematic treatment of
compositional ornamentations and other devices utilized to implement idiomatic cultural
influences. The compositional ornamentations include altered pitches, slurs, ties, modes and
scales of jazz-rock, fusion, and soul. Third, the students will analyze the rhythmic structure in
order to classify them as symmetrical and asymmetrical and to compare them with complexities
cultivated through cultures of the African and Latino influences. Fourth, the students will analyze
harmony and texture including the use of bitonality and polytonality, clusters, dissonances, and to
the changes of keys or modulations from jazz-rock, fusion, soul and funk. Finally, the students
will analyze the performance media and tonal color with regards to instrumentations.
This unit of study will enhance the students’ learning through an interdisciplinary correlation
of mathematics, music, social studies, and history. Through the study of part-writing and the
analysis of secondary dominants, the students will learn to apply the numeric figures to represent
progressions, alterations, and inversions which are featured in jazz and soul music. In addition,
the students will correlate the impact of the socio-cultural influences of American history to the
new compositional styles and techniques.PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGIES
The teaching strategies used to develop my curriculum unit reflect the following principles for
implementing the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills from the state’s curriculum guidelines in
order to evoke critical thinking as well as the inquiry approach for research. The pedagogical
strategies to be implemented in the development of my unit are the meditative, generative,
directive, and collaborative strategies. First, the meditative strategy will be implemented by
encouraging the students to utilize research skills for investigating the history of composers and
performers from jazz-rock to hip-hop or rap eras of music. In other words, this strategy will be
used in the analysis of the compositional forms, styles, and structural devices of differences
between each era of music. Second, the generative strategy will be implemented by encouraging
the students to develop insights into the innovative processes of each composer studied. In
addition, students will analyze transpositions, characteristics of cultural idioms, modes, tonalities,
and other compositional techniques utilized in each era. Third, the directive strategy will be
implemented by me, the instructor. I will utilize this strategy in introducing the unit and in giving
explanations of background information such as socio-cultural influences, vocabulary list, written
exercises, and explanation of procedures for assignments and projects. Fourth, the collaborative
strategy will be implemented by assigning group projects and discussion groups.
Through the implementation of the above strategies in the development of my unit, my
students will gain personal enhancements through the appreciation of artistic interpretations.
Moreover, my students will acquire new approaches for synthesizing and evaluating knowledge
relating to the relevancy between jazz to the transition of popular music of today. More
importantly, my students will develop aesthetical and philosophical appreciation of listening to
different forms and styles of music and help them to cultivate an interest in other forms and styles
of music.Enetta Nelson Rose98
Upon the completion of this unit the students will be enlightened through the assignments plus be
enriched by learning the connections between jazz-rock and rap music. After studying this unit,
my students will have developed an understanding of the influence of culture on musical
practices. They will have developed an understanding of structural organization of musical
compositions as a form of self expression. My students will be able to correlate distinctions
between melodic development and rhythmic structures and other devices utilized to implement
idiomatic cultural influences. Moreover, my students will develop an appreciation for
experiencing new styles and forms of cultural traditions through music. My students will have
learned that music is a reflection of social implications, spiritual and economic differences, and
the artful blend of diverse cultures. Finally, this unit will enable my students to develop an
understanding and tolerance for racial diversity because, “Art is not an end in itself, but a means
of addressing humanity” (Modest Mussorgsky as stated in Harper’s Book of Quotations
“Music is art of thinking with sounds” (Jules Combarieu as stated in Websters Book of Quotations
312). When researching the origins of jazz fusion (jazz-rock), the “trumpeter, Miles Davis was
one of the most innovative musicians” (Kerman and Tomlinson 408), contributing to this genre
and one of the instrumentalists responsible for this transition in jazz history.
These musical trends of jazz began to change after the Bebop Era. Following this era many
new styles or genres emerged. During the 1960s, new music organizational elements evolved,
resulting in music becoming more complex as well as sophisticated. The reasons for these
changes were because composers and performers sought to “reach out for vernacular roots in
American music” (Kerman and Tomlinson 409). These vernacular roots gave birth to a new
emerging genre known as jazz fusion or jazz-rock. Many music scholars and musicians
considered this genre to be “a phenomenon” (Shipton 851).
My discourse in the next section will trace the origins of jazz-rock to rock, Motown and soul,
rap, and hip-hop. In addition, the musical structure and elements will be examined for each style.Historical Background of Musical Genres
“Every movement in popular music seems to bring with it its preferred elixir” (Shipton 460).
An example of this concept can be linked to the fusion jazz style. Fusion jazz style is
characterized by the use of rock elements that incorporate electronic instruments and rock
rhythms with a pulsating or driving beat. Fusion resulted from a movement to depict “vernacular
roots in American music” (Kerman and Tomlinson 409). This musical style came into existence in
the mid 1960s. Its development progressed rapidly during the 1970s.Characteristics of Fusion Jazz Style
Fusion jazz, at the beginning of its development, avoided the conventional use of the rhythm
section. Through the initiation of an isorhythmic percussion section which avoided the traditional
meter, it replaced it with an ostinato rhythmic pattern by the bass guitar. Another characteristic of
fusion is the “abandoning of the loose interaction of jazz rhythm playing for the taut, tightly
controlled, on-the-beat sounds of rock” (Shipton 851). An example of this technique is used in a
composition of Miles Davis entitled Bitches Brew
Other characteristics of fusion or jazz rock included linking jazz idioms with techniques of
classical music attributes. This style of fusion is known as smooth jazz. Examples of musical
works implementing some of these concepts are Watermelon Man
by Herbie Hancock and Ebony
by Duke Ellington.99Houston Teachers Institute
Fusion Performers and Musicians
Fusion performers and musicians are divided into two catagories. They are keyboardists and
instrumentalists. Among the most significant instrumentalist is Miles Davis. The keyboard
performers are Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. In the section below, the biographical
information and contributions are discussed.Miles Davis
Miles Davis was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1926. Although he was born in Illinois, he grew up
in East St. Louis, Missouri. His father was an affluent dentist. He studied the trumpet with a local
music teacher. While learning rudiments for playing the trumpet, his teacher introduced him to
music theory as well as jazz trumpeters and their compositions. As a result, Davis began to
perform with local groups as a teenager. During this time, he met Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker,
and Dizzy Gillespie.
Davis attended college at Juilliard Music Conservatory in New York. While studying music in
New York, he began to perform with Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, and Eddie
Davis. In 1945, he recorded with Charlie Parker. In 1949, he decided to launch out on his own.
The group he formed was a nine piece ensemble. This ensemble recorded two albums. The album
entitled, Birth of the Cool
. This album was responsible for establishing a new style of called cool
In 1955, Davis performed in the New Port Jazz festival. His group during this time was a five
piece unit. Members of this group included John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly. This
performance was the catalyst for a recording contract with Columbia Records. In 1959, he
recorded Kind of Blue
album. Kind of Blue
album established the concepts of fresh improvisation
through the usage of modes. This technique resulted in the “improvisation based on harmonic
content as well as the returned jazz improvisation to being based on melodies” (Barkley 139).
In 1960, Miles Davis established another new style of jazz. This style was called fusion.
During this time, members of his band included Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne
Carter. Eventually, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Carter were replaced by Chick Corea and Dave
Holland. The albums entitled, Filles de Kilamanjara
, In a Silent Way
, Bitches Brew
, and Miles
are examples of the implementation of this style.
Miles Davis continued to search for new ways to incorporate styles into jazz. In 1970, he
added a “Brazilian and Indian percussionist and an Indian classical musicians to his groups”
(Barkley 139). In the 1980s, he began to experiment and add rock styles to his music. As a
result, he developed a new movement in jazz. “This movement was an integration of jazz
elements of jazz with elements of rhythm-and-blues and rock music” (Barkley 140). Miles Davis
died in 1991.
Contributions Made to Music
Miles Davis played a significant role in the history of modern jazz. His role was “pivotal
because he was trumpeter and bandleader that was deeply involved in recording and promoting
several styles before they became widespread trends” (Gridley 214). The most significant
contributions he made include the following:
1) Establishing a tangible style for trumpet. “This was first evident in recordings made with
Charlie Parker’s band in the mid-1940s. It influenced numerous trumpeters of the cool
jazz and hard bop idioms” (Gridley 214).
2) Recording large quantities of albums, his recordings served as models for studying
theoretical concepts and improvisational techniques for musicians and scholars.Enetta Nelson Rose100
3) Variations of his earlier style, established the foundations for the trumpet styles of
Wynton Marsalis and others.
4) Developer of the modal jazz styles and established on the album entitled, Kind of Blue
5) “Pioneering the predominant group approaches and individual instrumental styles of the
1980s with is quintet of 1965-1968” (Gridley 214).
Analysis of Instrumental Style
Miles Davis was an innovator of a unique sound. He is categorized and recognized as “a
creative thinker who gives to us a sound so personal that to call it Miles Davis” (Gridley 215).
The playing style of Davis can theoretically and philosophically be divided into several style and
techniques. Listed below are the theoretical and philosophical descriptions of his unusual style
(1) The tone quality or timbre were both different and unique.
(2) Miles frequently used a specific mute.
(3) Miles’ structures of his melodic progressions and figures were always dramatic.
(4) His use of rhythmic figures was unique.
(5) He frequently used the concept of paraphrasing melodic phrases from other styles or
(6) His improvised phrases
(7) His techniques of embellishment or ornamentation of pitch bending and range
preferences added to the uniqueness of his sound textures and style.Chick Corea
Armando Anthony Corea was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His father was a jazz
musician. He played trumpet as well as was a band leader of a Dixieland jazz band in the Boston
area. At the age of five, he was introduced to his first instrument, the piano. At age eight, he
started to play drums.
Corea developed his musical skills by himself. Salvatore Sullo was very influential in
introducing him to classical music and music composition. Corea started taking his lectures at age
eight. He started to book gigs while he was in high school.
Corea became interested in Latin music after his collaborations with Phil Barboza and Bill
Fitch. Later, he relocated to New York. He studied music education for one month at Columbia
University and studied at The Juilliard School of Music for six months. New York was the
beginning of his professional career.
Contributions Made to Music
Chick Corea made profound stylistic contributions to playing jazz on the keyboard and in
musical compositions. Listed below are the most significant contributions he made:
(1) Established a jazz fusion style that added Latin idioms or elements. These elements were
extracted from both Brazilian and Spanish-American styles of music.
(2) His compositions were “more that than just melody whose accompaniment chord
progression provides material for solo improvisation. Some pieces have different 101Houston Teachers Institute
sections, each with a distinctive rhythm and tonal flavor” (Gridley 297). Examples of
this technique can be found in Windows, Spain,
(3) Some of his works became jazz standards.
(4) His works were “highly imaginative” (Gridley 296).
Analysis of Keyboard Style
Chick Corea’s playing style and musical compositions are classified as standard in the world
of jazz. His keyboard style incorporated the following technical skills:
He “moved between rock, classical, and jazz idioms” (Gridley 296).
The voicing of chords were always built on fourths or quartal harmony.
Melodic lines were built on the pentatonic scale.
Implemented the usage of preset bass lines in the accompaniment.
The piano and the horns parts always doubled or played the same part.
Played using a precise percussive touch and a spirited comping style.
Tempo was usually free and steady.Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1940. He began playing the piano at age
seven. He performed a piano concerto written by Mozart with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
at eleven years old. Later, he continued his education at Grinnell College and Roosevelt
Oscar Peterson and George Shearing, both jazz pianists and recording artists, significantly
influenced him. During his college years, he performed in nightclubs with jazz artists such as
Coleman Hawkins (a jazz saxophonist) and Donald Byrd (a jazz trumpeter). In 1962, he signed a
recording contract with the Blue Note record company. The title of his first release was Takin’ Off
Herbie Hancock joined Miles Davis’ quintet in 1963. He remained with this band from 1963
to 1969. He established his own group in the early 1970s. With his band, he introduced the
concept of using technology with acoustic piano. This concept helped to influence the
development of jazz fusion.
By the early 1970s, Hancock had written every tune on eight of his own albums and had
written or co-authored many tunes on seven more. In 1973, he recorded the album entitled, Headhunters
. In 1983, he recorded a single entitled “Rockit.” This single became popular. In
1984, he won a Grammy Award for a music video that featured “Rockit.” In 1985, he was
awarded another Grammy for the album entitled Sound System
. Hancock has composition music
for many television and motion picture shows. In 1987, he won an Academy Award for his
motion picture score entitled Round Midnight
Contributions Made to Music
The most significant contributions made to music by Herbie Hancock are listed below.
(1) He combined popular styles with jazz.
(2) He was influenced by the role of the modern rhythm section.
(3) He frequently implemented “legato lines of sustained tones that conveyed a languorous
feeling” (Gridley 293).
(4) He frequently used the synthesizer for exotic effects.
(5) He played the electric piano using an echo and a fuzz effects in order to change the tones.Enetta Nelson Rose102
Analysis of Keyboard Style
Herbie Hancock is classified as a style that implemented new sounds. In addition, his
improvisation, creativity, and “broad scope of versality” (Gridley 290) have established him as
brilliant. Characteristics of Herbie Hancock’s piano style included the following technical skills:
(1) He improvised using polished skills.
(2) His playing demonstrated a specific style in treatment of chords in the accompaniment.
(3) His melodic materials and chord structures were derived from modes.
(4) His harmonic structures were derived from the impressionist musical period. His
harmonic structures were similar to Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and twentieth
century composer Paul Hindemith.
(5) His improvisation depicted stimulating and swinging sound.
(6) His comping style “used a brisk manner and used a gentle and even touch” (Gridley 290).
(7) He used polyrhythms approach in his accompaniment.
(8) He used chord for their sonorous effect.
The keyboard style of Hancock has been studied by many jazz pianists. His style is
considered to be very impressive, fresh as well as compatible with several genres of jazz. In
addition, the mixed or cross-over genres influenced the development of new styles such as rock.Development of Rock
Music scholars agree that the development of rock and roll
originated from “cross-breeding”
(Bogdanov, Woodstra, and Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock
1303) between cultures in
American music. “Few would dispute that rock and roll
owes most of its origins to the musical
traditions of America’s black population” (Boddanov, Woodstra, and Erlewine, All Music Guide
“The origins and history of rock and related popular styles conform to an age-old pattern in
American music, which is the mixing of African-American and white American musical idioms”
(Kerman and Tomlinson 410). The earliest style of rock appeared in the 1950s. This new style of
music was characterized by “blending of country-western
with rhythm and blues
” (Kerman and
Tomlinson 410). As time progressed, musicians, composers, and performers began to create new
The invention of record players, transistor radios, and eight-track tape players “affected both
the pace [and] complexity, and accelerated the growth of popular music” (Boddanov, Woodstra,
and Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock
1303). These devices were instrumental in reaching larger
audiences that resulted in the growth of independent record companies and record labels. Among
the independent recording companies were Rene’s Exclusive Records, Vee Jay Records, Peacock
Records, and Motown Records.
Later developments of rock music continued to assume influences from cross-bred genres
that resulted in the creation of new styles and instrumentations. In addition, as time progressed,
“the separation of composer and performer gave way to the merging of the single performer-
composer” (Barkley 214). These changes are seen in the music of soul and some of the Motown’s
artists.Transition of Rock to Soul and the Motown Scene
“It appeared that no sooner had rhythm and blues
won recognition as a distinctive black
music than it began to give rise to new styles” (Southern 517). The popular music time line is as
follows:103Houston Teachers Institute
(1) 1950 to late 1950s - rock and roll
(2) 1960 to late 1960s - soul and Motown
(3) 1970s - disco and funk
“As the civil rights movement of the late 1950s evolved into the black power movement of
the late 1960s, a succession of important black musical styles asserted their independence from
white rock music” (Kerman and Tomlinson 411). These musical genres emerged out of Black
artists’ racial unrest, despair, and desire to celebrate their own cultural heritage. This period was a
time of violence, sit-in-demonstrations, riots, and arson. Among these styles were soul, Motown,
Motown was founded in 1959 by record-shop owner Berry Gordy, Jr. Motown recording
label was called Tamla. Motown was located in Detroit, Michigan. In 1960, a second label was
added and was given the named Motown. Motown’s growth had accelerated into a large
conglomerate. This company had its own publishing department, a management company,
musicians, and recording studios as well as a record company. The performing groups of
Motown, in the beginning, were unknowns. Through the promotions of Berry Gordy, Jr., these
groups began to collect top ratings on the charts. The first ratings were with rhythm and blues,
then with songs that crossed over to the Pop charts.
The first hit song came from William “Smokey” Robinson and the Miracles in 1960. The hit
song was entitled “Shop Around.” Other ensembles and groups contributing to the success of
Motown were the Marvelettes, Mary Wells,
the Contours, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, the
Supremes (later billed as Diana Ross and the Supremes) and the Tops. As the list of winners g
Gordy added songwriters, choreographers, and other types of support personnel to ensure that his
singers remained on top.Characteristics of Soul, Motown, and Funk Genres
Soul is defined as a musical style that was created by African Americans that combined
elements of the black gospel with elements of rhythm and blues. “Most of the artists that
performed soul were Gospel singers and instrumentalists who combined some of the traditions of
the black church with the traditions of popular music” (Barkley 220). Soul music depicted
genuine blackness and promoted interest in both the Black Power and Civil Rights movements.
The subject matter presented in the songs concentrated on racial injustice, black pride, and black
militancy. In addition, some songs’ subject matter concentrated on love and peace. The soul
musical style represented the changing attitudes of the black communities. Performers associated
with this style of music include Aretha Franklin (known as the Queen of Soul), James Brown
(known as the Godfather of Soul), and Nina Simone (known as the High Priestess of Soul).
The Motown sound was created by the founder, Berry Gordy, Jr. Gordy’s goal was to
establish the unique “Detroit Sound.” This was achieved by combining the elements of rhythm
and blues, pop, gospel, and big band. Among the prominent groups associated with the Motown
label were the Temptations.
Funk is defined as a musical style that emerged from rhythm and blues. It evolved from live
shows. The characteristics of musical elements embedded in funk included heavy rhythms with
dense textures, elaborate costumes, and staging. James Brown was an artist associated with this
Disco is defined as a “black musical style made primarily for dancing” (Southern 522).
There were many artists, performers, and ensembles that were significant to this style. The
most prominent performers of this era are Donna Summer (also known as the Disco Sex Enetta Nelson Rose104
Goddess), Michael Jackson (known as The Greatest Entertainer of All Time), and Stevie Wonder
(also known as Little Stevie Wonder and Godfather of Disco).Hip-Hop and Rap, the New Style
“The new pop music of this period reflects the influence of several genres and styles that
have effected significant changes in the sound of the music” (Southern 598). The new style of
music was related to the older style of popular music but with altered sounds and the use of
This new style of pop music is credited to Afrika Bambaataa, a disc jockey of the Bronx in
New York, who was one of the developers. “Bambaataa was an ex-gang member and self taught
student of black culture and black nationalist leaders, came to believe that the arts could be used
to combat street violence of gangs in his community” (Southern 598).
In 1973, he established the Youth Organization at Adlai Stevenson High School. As a result of
this organization, large numbers of both teenagers and young adults interested in street arts came
together. This event laid the foundation for the inner-city youth art movements of the 1970s. The
activities of this movement included break dancing, rapping, graffiti art, and disc jockeying.
By the mid-1970s, this new style of pop music had spread to black communities across the
United States. Many of the teenagers during this time had become bored with disco and
considered it to be “increasingly dull and impersonal” (Southern 599). Challenged by the
attitudes of the young patrons, “the disc jockeys began to use more than one turntable in order to
create a variety of sounds” (Southern 599).
In 1975, Clive Campbell, a Jamaican disc jockey of the South Bronx area in New York,
“introduced some practices that contributed to the development of rap as a bona fide music
genre” (Southern 599). By the 1980s rap musical genres had expanded to many different styles.
During the year of 2000, rap music had flooded the pop charts. In addition, “hip-hop had
permeated every continent with a youth culture” (Bagdanov, Woodstra, Erlewine, and Bush vi).Characteristics of Hip-Hop and Rap
Rap can be defined as the combination of “poetry and verbal virtuosity,” with altered sounds
using synthesizers and rhythm tracks as background sounds for the music (Kerman and
Tomlinson, 2000:412). This style’s attributes can be classified as “one of the most controversial
styles” of popular music (Bogdanov, Woodstra, and Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock
The rationale behind this attitude is because of the “notoriety of one kind of rap, the violent,
misogynist variety known as gangsta rap
” (Kerman and Tomlinson 412). There are many styles
of the rap genre. Among them are alternative rap, bass music, East Coast hardcore, comedy, g-
funk, free style, pop-rap, and hip-hop. Each of the genres is very distinctive and different.
Hip-hop is a term that is closely related to rap. The difference is that hip-hop refers to a whole
cultural movement. The characteristics of hip-hop include the dress, language, break dancing,
graffiti art, deejaying (refers to the scratching and cutting of records), and emceeing (refers to
rhyming or flowing to the beat of the music) with rhythmic background music.
Artists and performers of this musical genre include Salt-N-Pepa, Dr. Dre, Kool DJ Herc, 2
Live Crew, Arrested Development, the Fugees, Arsenio Hall, and many more.Cultural Influences
The transition from one time period to the next always reflects changes. These changes affect
social forms, attitudes, values, and practices. The late 1950s and the early 1960s were periods
marked by racial tensions, violence, and unrest. These conditions are captured and depicted
through the audible sounds of musical tones within the styles that reflect the composers, 105Houston Teachers Institute