Welcome To The Hip Hop Library

Recognizing, and Preserving the Hip Hop culture. Encouraging Our Communities To Read, and Inspiring each other to Achieve

The Grafitti bike sponsored by Indego Bike Share was orchestrated by The Hip Hop Library in honor of the 50-year celebration of the culture. Some of the goals of the ride were to
Promote healthy activities, community, and family interactions, educate participants of the Hip Hop Elements, highlight the art of graffiti and the Philly connection, most importantly to share the hidden treasure of the Philadelphia Graffiti Peir.

Hip Hop & Grafitti
In addition to the genre of music, hip hop is also a cultural and musical movement with deep roots in African and African-American traditions. It emerged as a response to the socioeconomic challenges faced by marginalized communities, serving as a creative outlet for self-expression and resistance.

The 1980s saw the genre’s evolution, and the 1990s are considered the “Golden Age of Hip-Hop.” This era featured groundbreaking artists, and the 2000s and beyond witnessed hip-hop’s global domination.

Currently, a number of artists have achieved international acclaim and commercial success, showcasing the genre’s versatility and evolution into mainstream culture.

Today, hip-hop continues to shape music, fashion, and youth culture worldwide. Its impact on society remains profound, addressing issues of race, identity, and inequality while providing a platform for diverse voices and artistic innovation.

Graffiti is deeply intertwined with hip-hop culture. It shares historical roots, embodies the spirit of self-expression and identity, and has been a visual representation of the hip-hop movement. Graffiti artists and hip-hop practitioners have influenced each other, contributing to the cultural richness and diversity of the hip-hop world. Graffiti allowed individuals to express their identities, thoughts, and experiences on public surfaces. It provided a way for young people to assert their presence in a world that often overlooked or marginalized them. This theme of self-expression and identity is central to hip-hop as a whole.

Graffiti and break dancing, the aspects of the culture that first caught public attention, had the least lasting effect. Reputedly, the graffiti movement was started about 1972 by a Greek American teenager who signed, or “tagged,” Taki 183 (his name and street, 183rd Street) on walls throughout the New York City subway system.

Elements Of Hip Hop Initially, there were four elements recognized in the Hip-hop culture. Mcing, Djing, breakdancing , and grafitti. Currently, it is a multifaceted and dynamic movement consisting of several core elements, each contributing to its rich and diverse tapestry. These elements encompass various forms of artistic expression, lifestyle, and social engagement. The primary elements of hip-hop are: Beatboxing, Knowledge of Self (Fifth Element) Sometimes referred to as the “fifth element”, Fashion and Style, Street Language and Slang, Community and Social Activism, and Entrepreneurship and Business. Many hip-hop artists and figures have built successful businesses and brands within and beyond the music industry.

Philly & Hip Hop Philadelphia’s contributions to hip-hop are diverse and impactful. Many up and coming emcees from New York would have to come to break their records and get shows. Philly is the home of the first gangsta rap artist, shaped the sound of neo-soul and fostering a thriving underground scene. The city has left an indelible mark on the world of hip-hop, to say the least.

Philly & Grafitti Just as Philly was impactful on the hip-hop music scene. Philadelphia has a rich history of graffiti arts. Philly contributes to the style dubbed the “wicked.” Years of practice, years of writing over and over, and over again make it easy to spot the true style. This style is the one that separates the Philly handstyle from the rest of the pack. There are a multitude of notable graffiti artists who have made significant contributions to the street art scene. One in particular is Cornbread, whose real name is Darryl McCray, is often considered one of the pioneers of modern graffiti art. He gained prominence in the late 1960s and is credited with being one of the first graffiti writers to tag his name on buildings and trains. His influence on the early graffiti scene in Philadelphia is profound. Some others are: ESPO, QUEEN KIM One of the city’s 1st female artist, Steve “ESPO” Powers’s A Love Letter For You Project: This project involved a series of rooftop murals and love-themed graffiti pieces along the SEPTA Market-Frankford Line, Kaws: He’s known for his iconic “XX” imagery and has transitioned into the contemporary art world, ERN, Lazz, Razz, RAKAN: turned some of the straightest and stiffest letters into a perfect example of the Philly style, BMP: You always knew when BMP was out the night before because he would smash entire blocks through his routes, ZAZA, COZY, RERE: Another Philly female that’s more fierce than Eve, RERE hangs with the big boys in the city. SOBAD: Spreading out the wicked style, SOBAD has one of the cleanest styles out there. Without him, a lot of writers wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, AGUA: Everybody in Philly has got a story about AGUA. This cat brings a whole new meaning to the term infamous. Notable Philadelphia graffiti artists may be extensive, and new artists continually emerge within the vibrant graffiti culture of the city.

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