MCing is the art of rapping. MC stands for ‘master of
ceremonies’, and that is exactly what MC’s were.
Early rappers were simply there to host the party. In the early
days of hip hop the DJ was the main attraction. Hip Hop started
when DJ Kool Herc came to New York, from Jamaica in 1970. Herc
invented the ‘break beat’, which allowed for easier
dancing because of a continuos beat. Kool Herc brought with
him, from Jamaica, a style of talking over tracks called ‘toasting’.
DJ’s had been toasting over reggae rhythms in Jamaica
for several years and Herc copied this style and while playing
sets would pump up the crowd by shouting things like, “Throw
your hands in the air / and wave them like you just don’t
care!” This was known as ‘rapping to the crowd’.
Kool Herc invited his friends Coke La Rock and Clark Kent to
MC for him while he cut up break beats, and this became the
first rap group, called Kool Herc and the Herculiods. Other
groups started copying the Herculiods and the rest is hip hop
first the raps were simple, but as time pasted groups had to evolve
their styles to stay ahead of the rest. Some MC’s started doing
a style called beat-box, by vocally copying the sounds that a DJ could
make on the turntables. Beat-boxing is considered the hardest thing
an MC can do, and only a handful of MC's have mastered the beatbox.
MC’s soon became the the headliners at shows and people would
come to clubs and parties to hear different groups and MC’s battle
each other with rhymes. ‘Freestyling’ was the most popular
form of finding out who was the best rapper. MC’s would make up
lyrics on the spot, which where often offensive to the person they were
battling. Nowadays MC’s raps are very intricate and a lot more
complicated than the simple ‘rock the crowd’/ throw your
hands in the air’ raps of the late 1970’s and early 80’s.
Instead my rappers use their talents to tell the stories of the ghetto
ills and personal tribulations, but the freestyle remains the number
one way of finding out who's the best.
hop's initial commercial successes from 1979 to 1986 were with
small, independent labels like Sugar Hill and Enjoy. As soon
as the majors figured out what was going on in the streets they
jumped to get a piece of the action. By 1986 groups, like Run
DMC were getting major radio airplay and hip hop had officially
hit the mainstream. White kids in suburbia began buying records
and by the late eighties, rap artists were making top ten on
1988 to 1994, was known as the golden era of hip hop. Some of
the greatest hip hop artists of all time came out during these
years. Public Enemy used their fame to promote black unity,
while N.W.A and Dr. Dre started ‘gangsta’ rap on
the West coast. There was a huge amount of diversity in the
music to choose from. Major labels signed as many rappers as
they could and many independent labels died off. Rap records
started reaching gold and even platinum sales with albums by
Nas, Tupac Shakur, and Notorious B.I.G. Everything was looking
great for the music.
Then came the mid-nineties. Hip hop had become overrun with
violence and between September 13, 1996 and March 9, 1997, the
hip hop world had lost its two biggest names, Tupac and B.I.G,
to the infamous East Coast / West Coast rivalry. It was a sad
year for many fans, but at the same time, hip hop music was
selling more than ever.