Are The 4 Elements Of Hip-Hop A Myth?

Are The 4 Elements Of Hip-Hop A Myth?


Grandmaster Flash says one of hip-hop’s elements is fake…

Flash says that graffiti is NOT an element of hip-hop in the book “The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music”.

Grandmaster Flash: You know what bugs me, they put hip-hop with graffiti. How do they intertwine?

Graffiti legends and pioneers such as FARGO and BLADE agree with him, saying that graffiti was grouped with hip-hop by the media and that it was never really a part of hip-hop.

FARGO: I don’t see the correlation. The correlation between hip-hop and graffiti, that’s a media thing. And breakdancing—they put that all in one package, so they can identify it, put it in a box. There is no correlation between hip-hop and graffiti, one has nothing to do with the other.

BLADE: They put hip-hop, breakdancing, and rap music and graffiti and all this stuff together, because it’s something I guess they thought they could market for whatever the hell reason.

The relationship between hip-hop and graffiti was popularized in the classic 1983 hip-hop film Wild Style, but the film’s director Charlie Ahearn says that the link between the two art forms was fictional.

Charlie Ahearn: Wild Style is like a fantasy, it’s not a documentary. Everything in Wild Style was made for the film… that wasn’t really happening, that was just happening for the film.

One of the stars of Wild Style, LADY PINK (who is also a graffiti legend), says that graffiti should be seen as a separate art form with its own history and culture.

LADY PINK: I don’t think graffiti is hip-hop. Frankly I grew up with disco music. There’s a long background of graffiti as an entity unto itself.

Many graffiti pioneers also say that they did not listen to hip-hop music and preferred other genres.

FUZZ ONE: The graffiti soundtrack was more Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Eagles, and Lynryd Skynyrd.

PHASE 2: Many graffiti writers never listened to rap, many were more partial to headbanging.

For more info and many other graffiti legends confirming that graffiti is not an element of hip-hop, check out the book The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music, out in bookstores and on Amazon:





4 Comments on "Are The 4 Elements Of Hip-Hop A Myth?"

  1. Loose Joint | April 28, 2015 at 1:39 pm |

    What’s the point by some of you making comments? The drum has been around since the beginning of time in Africa and other countries. Writing, dancing and storytelling has been too. Your argument that it’s been around since before the birth of hip hop is irrelevant. (Poetry is poetry but when the DJ’s and MC’s’s started to rock the party and build longer rhymes to break beats it became rhyming (rap), The mc’s are lyricists, you can say it’s poetry, and you can say it’s rap.

    Bambaata had the supreme vision to empower and help build this culture by naming these elements as apart of it because these individual art forms that had a valid history of their own, had a strong presence and really flourished in the hoods during this time. I respectfully disagree with Grandmaster Flash and maybe his quote is taken out of context so I won’t rush to judgement on his statement.

    Hip Hop Culture is a modern day movement that the youth embraced starting from the party and many elements made up the beautiful culture that it became which is now shared all over the world. It’s a traditional culture now. I don’t agree that Graffiti not considered an element of the hip hop culture just because some old school famous writers listened to rock music or disco. We all listened to disco before the first rap song came out and The Sugar Hill Gang became popular. At the same time, there is famous writers that was bboying and rapping as well. Sure, they are artist first, just like I’m a dancer first, but the mind frame and preference collectively was about embracing the expressiveness that is hip hop!

    Every culture has it’s instruments, song, dance, and writing ie., drawing and painting. Hip hop culture is not exclusive to the DJ’s and MC’s alone. That’s is not how the culture was built. Like another commenter wrote. Knowledge is another element!! At 45 years old and soon to be 46, I’ve been apart of this culture for more than 30 years now as a boogie boy/hip hop dancer. I’m a lifer in this, I gained my knowledge over the years being apart of it. The people living it know a lot more about it from feeling the pulse from the vein.

    Peace and blessings to all

    Loose Joint
    Fantastic Duo from (Beat Street Movie)
    Elite Force Crew
    Brooklyn, NY

    • Wolfgang Krell | April 29, 2015 at 7:32 am |

      wow thank you for that statement!! this is exactly what i also think and feel about it. hip hop don’t stop!!! peace love unity and having fun!!

    • Chrisblackusa | May 1, 2015 at 2:14 am |

      I feel everything you said…the breakbeat was before the emcee….the bboy waiting for the breakbeat was before the emcee…the emcee at first was to big up his Dj in the Dj battles…

  2. Wolfgang Krell | April 29, 2015 at 7:21 am |

    ok flash iam down with that what u say and its true that a lot of writers are dont listen to rap musik or they think that they are hiphop members but thinks start some time with new kind of conections. believe me u can be happy that graffiti writers around the world start combine it and if its the media or a movie who really cares?. they bought your musik these are your supporters they feed you. u get my whole respect but this discussion makes no sense! iam so happy to be a part of that whole movement since wildstyle and bam cool herk and also you!!!! hip hop is a statement with all the parts of it for a creativ comunity. so many people in the world believe in that. so please dont say graffit has nothing to do with it! otherwise i will write it so many times in your hood that also u will understand it;) peace!

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