Hip Hop is middle aged

According to Google anyway, hip hop is 44 today!

In case you guys missed today’s Google Doodle, here it is:


It’s kind of fun to play around with…


“You’re in there baby!” :sunglasses:


I really miss HHFT now.


I am older than hip-hop. I feel kind of sad about that.


How did they decide the birthday?

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Good question. I was wondering that myself. Genres tend to develop over a period of time and rarely is there is single date you can point to and say “this date X begins…”

[ETA] And answered - August 11, 1973 was the first time Herc used the techniques we associate with hip hop (break beats on the turn table, the rapper/hype man, etc):


I guess you can say “on this day” but what we call hip hop was just one of many of the offshoots of Jamaican music where most of the turntable and MC techniques already existed anyway.

It’s common knowledge that MCing has its roots with Jamaican dancehall toastmasters. Herc is, himself an immigrant from Jamaica.

The combination of MCing and his DJ techniques he used were pioneering though.


Right of course, just the way music works, it just seems hard to say that one technique signals the birth of a new genre at a specific time.

This is true, but the genesis of hip hop is well known and undisputed as far as I’m aware.

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I’m hardly disputing, I know the history. Just as a music creator who also happens to be interested in the history of how music spreads and changes, picking one particular fixed date as the genesis of a genre feels strange because genre shifts to the point where you can listen and say “hey this has become something new and different” are not overnight things.

Its certainly possible to identify influential moments but defining moments are much more difficult. In context, when Herc first looped breakbeats, the MCs were still really only serving the crowd hyping function, the DJ was still the main attraction. It wasn’t really until later on where the MC performed unique rhymes as the front attraction. We certainly still hear those early examples as hip hop but the genre didn’t really solidify until after the first looping of break beats.

Similarly its hard to nail down the first moment of any genre that developed out of something else. When exactly did musique concrete become “industrial”? What was the moment that electric hard blues rock became “metal”? And so on and so on.

I think here Google is trying to put a technological view (first supersonic flight, first transistor, first integrated circuit) on something thats more like Darwin’s finches.

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