Who dances hip hop? – Social Dance Form

October 30, 2020 0 Comments

The question often seems to arise. Hip Hop artists dance hip hop. They’re not just some hip hop artists at a club. In fact, most rappers, hip hop dancers, are not just dance choreographers who work as a group. They’re dancers, but not on a team.

In an interview on my radio show in 1996, rapper Ice-T admitted that he didn’t know any rap artists at all when he started as an aspiring rapper. He went on my show, I asked him whom they were, and he responded “They’re all other people,” and that’s the way it is as far as hip hop goes. In a more recent conversation when I interviewed Ice about a new album he was making with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Ice seemed surprised when I brought it up, and said, “Yeah that’s not hip hop. It’s real. That’s real. People who know are dancing.”

What a difference a decade made!

In a recent interview with Spin, DJ Premier said he didn’t know who Jay Z was until “a couple years ago” and said he thought Nas was an “idiot” and Jay-Z was “somebody who was going to be the next Michael Jordan, like Michael Jordan before he became famous. That’s just not hip hop.” (Premier also recently said that he doesn’t recognize Jay-Z as an artist. “I don’t know Jay—I’ve never seen him dance.” And, “He looked more like an idiot than a rapper.”) In the same interview, KRS-One responded, “I think people forget that hip hop has a long history. It’s been around for a while. The whole thing about hip hop, it’s actually been around since people started doing it. It was originally, before the record industry was really set up, there wasn’t really any real money, but it was a way to survive. A way to do it, but not get too comfortable.”

What about those musicians who didn’t even get to have a name at the time? The musicians who have names now—Benny Benassi, J Dilla, Big Daddy Kane—have names that are familiar to a generation of fans, but they were artists who were part of the culture in their own right.

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The first hip hop band to get major success in America was the New York Dolls in 1970. Since then, there have been some 20 or 50 major Hip-Hop songs.

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