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FutureStarrManhattan's Influence on Hip-Hop
Hip hop music's roots lie deep within New York City's inner-city neighborhoods. A wave of political, social, and economic upheaval in the Bronx during the 1970s created an ideal environment for this uniquely American musical genre to blossom.
Rapping, DJing, dance (particularly break-dancing) and graffiti became the four distinct elements that formed hip hop culture - which would eventually spread around the globe. These art forms formed its foundation.
Hip-hop is one of the world's most beloved genres of music and dance today. However, this movement that began in the early 1970s is more than just a style; it has profound effects on various fields such as culture, fashion, politics, dance, education and media.
Hip-hop began in the South Bronx of New York City when DJs like Kool Herc and Disco Wiz hosted block parties there to play disco, funk, Jamaican dub, and soul records. MCs would often speak over them giving encouragement to dance as well as greetings to attendees with jokes or exhortations.
In the 1970s, as many manufacturing jobs disappeared and poverty spread throughout NYC, people felt the need to express themselves and make a change in their lives through music. This music became an outlet for them to have their voices heard - leading to an unprecedented revolution within NYC's music scene.
With time, DJs and MCs began adding more unique elements to their music, creating something truly original and creative. This led to the emergence of rap music - which began in the early 70's and has since become a prominent part of NYC culture.
Run DMC was one of the most well-known rap groups to come out of this area and they made significant strides to break their music into popular culture. Their hit single "Walk This Way" opened up a whole new audience to their sound - people from all backgrounds joined in on this journey together.
Rap artists of New York City were born during the 1970s, helping to put a spotlight on African American and Latino communities. At that time, NYC was still quite poor with many minority-run neighborhoods. These musicians helped turn around things by giving attention to these communities' struggles.
These artists were encouraged by their environment to create music and culture they could be proud of, which has earned them widespread respect within the Hip-Hop community today.
Gangsta Rap Movement emerged in the late 1980s as a subgenre of hip-hop music, inspired by New York rappers like Schooly D and Ice T as well as East Coast hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions.
Gangster-style music had existed before, but it wasn't until these rappers made hits that it gained widespread acceptance and became the dominant genre of rap in the 1990s. The gangsta subgenre emerged as a response to social issues such as drug dealing, lost opportunities among youths, conflict with police officers, and poverty.
In the early '90s, artists such as N.W.A and Ice T took gangster-style rap to new heights by adding explicit lyrics. Additionally, they employed strong language that encouraged sex and violence for their target audience of predominantly middle-class white male teenagers.
Though gangsta-style rap has been criticized, it remains a popular genre and has sold millions of records worldwide. Additionally, studies have noted an association between violent behavior and listening to this genre of music.
Music such as this served as an influence for conscious hip-hop that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s, particularly on the East Coast. Conscious hip-hop emphasizes positive messages rather than gangsterism or violence in its lyrics.
Gangsta-style rap first gained popularity on the East Coast, but quickly spread to California. Some of the earliest gangsta rappers to emerge were N.W.A and Ice T from Los Angeles as well as Cypress Hill and Above the Law from South Gate.
These artists, alongside Too $hort and Kid Frost, were the pioneers of gangsta rap. Songs like "Smoke Some Kill" (1987) and "Criminal Minded" (1987), depicted street life with explicit language that often displayed graphic depictions of sexual acts and violence.
Gangster-style rap is still popular in some parts of the world, but its appeal has declined significantly over recent years due to its difficulty engaging young people with gangsta culture and many not listening due to its graphic content.
Beatboxing, commonly referred to as "human beatboxing," is a vocal art form that utilizes the human voice for creating percussion effects that mimic certain drumset sounds.
Beatboxing consists of many styles and techniques, each unique to the individual. The main elements that make up beatboxing include rhythm and timing as well as breathing.
Maintaining the rhythm is essential in beatboxing, as it gives you an indication of when to breathe. A metronome can also be useful here for teaching yourself when to breathe if you're new at this skill.
You can also try listening to music and experimenting with how it sounds when beatboxed. This will help you hone the skill of making your sounds sound natural and authentic.
Another way to hone your skills as a beatboxer is by watching videos of other beatboxers and studying what they do. These videos, usually found on YouTube, can serve as an excellent source of inspiration.
Beatboxers have the opportunity to showcase their skills through competitions and events, which can be an excellent platform to display talent. Furthermore, performing in front of large audiences gives you the confidence needed for performing onstage.
Becoming an excellent beatboxer requires practice. Doing so will help you learn faster and more efficiently. Furthermore, consistency is key - practice every day for maximum improvement.
Holding the microphone correctly is critical, as this can significantly improve its quality. Many beatboxers find that holding their mic between their ring and middle fingers, then gripping with two fingers on top and their thumb at the bottom, produces a stronger, clearer sound.
Additionally, it's essential to breathe correctly when inhaling and exhaling, as the sounds produced can be extremely explosive. While this may be challenging at first, with practice it becomes more natural and easier to do.
Practice beatboxing can be done in many ways, and there are even free online tutorials that can teach the fundamentals. Exercising frequently will lead to mastery of all basic sounds and an impressive level of proficiency.
Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls), a young rapper from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, didn't have many positive male role models growing up. Instead, his mother Voletta Wallace worked hard at both her jobs to provide for him and keep him secure at home; though life still proved challenging; Christopher would often deal drugs and get into legal trouble. Despite these obstacles, Wallace managed to remain positive throughout his teenage years.
Biggie began his musical journey as a teenager and quickly fell in love with it. He met fellow New York rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs and, in 1994, recorded his debut album Ready to Die which quickly reached the Top 10 charts and achieved great success.
His popularity among East Coast fans and his rivalry with Tupac Shakur sparked a fierce, multifaceted East/West rap war that became bigger than just the battle between labels. The two emcees sparred over everything from commercialism to art, creating an iconic rivalry that would shape hip-hop for two decades to come.
Biggie wasn't the first rapper to use slang, but his style and delivery were distinctive. His voice had a "plummy, wheezy" quality that seemed to come from deeper inside him than other rappers' did.
No surprise that Biggie was one of the most influential hip-hop stars of his era. His legacy continues to grow larger since his passing in 1997.
Recently, murals of Biggie have appeared throughout Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood and Bed-Stuy. The Musket Room restaurant commissioned street artist Fumero to paint a tribute on its roll gate, while Danielle Mastrion plans on painting another mural outside of a local grocery store where Biggie used to work as a teenager.
At Bed-Stuy, Biggie often hustled and waxed flow-etically on the streets. He listened to local rap heroes like DJ 50 Grand and the Old Gold Brothers while performing.
Chess offers students an invaluable opportunity to develop and hone their cognitive brain functions, such as problem-solving abilities, creative thinking, strategic planning, memorization techniques and even higher IQ scores. Chess can also serve as a great teaching tool.
Playing this game not only teaches patience and self-discipline, but it also requires calm thinking which can help reduce anxiety levels.
Javier Gomez, a junior at Green Street Academy, has the chance to compete against some of the top district players in an exhibition match. He's searching for the perfect move to beat his opponent - a student from Patterson High School - though he is down one pawn and running out of time.
Since 2013, The Baltimore Kids Chess League has engaged with over 600 students throughout Baltimore City, offering free weekly after-school sessions and hosting free citywide tournaments to crown City-Wide Champions on both team and individual levels for every grade level.
Chess matches offer students the rare opportunity to compete against students from other schools and form friendships that extend beyond the classroom, according to Veronica Hopkins, a teacher who coaches Green Street Academy's chess club. "These events provide them with an outlet," she added, noting that these matches also serve as opportunities for them to explore interests outside of academics."
She believes chess has helped Means, McClafferty and other students manage emotions and form community. After being absent for months during the pandemic, they have returned to school with a renewed zeal and purpose.
Over the last year, students have been playing chess on their iPads and computers to learn the rules of the game and practice against each other. But they've missed out on an opportunity to play on a real board with actual pieces in their hands and face-to-face competition against other players.
Now they have the chance to do just that thanks to a grant from Baltimore Kids' Chess League. A nonprofit partner of City Schools, this league will send 20 of its best players to Memphis for the National High School Championships.
DeShown Streater, a senior at Patterson, said that traveling and competing against students from different schools is an opportunity these kids have never had before and it gives them a chance to showcase their abilities in competition. "This experience will provide them with memories they won't soon forget," he added. "Every student involved should cherish this chance."
While he eagerly anticipates competing against other students at nationals, he also looks forward to returning home and practicing three times a week at Green Street School. With these goals in mind, he hopes to make a name for himself and leave behind an unforgettable legacy before graduating next year.
One of the greatest thrills for students at Green Street Elementary School and Roland Park Elementary Middle School in Baltimore is an opportunity to compete against some of America's top chess players at a tournament. In past years, several teams have won national championships or placed among the top 10 at the annual United States Chess Federation SuperNationals held in Indianapolis.
This year, Baltimore welcomed its first national chess champion: 12-year-old Cahree Myrick of Roland Park. His victory at a national event last month in Nashville marked an historic achievement for an individual to win a youth division at such an important tournament - something the league has hailed as an impressive achievement.
Myrick developed an interest in chess as early as first grade. However, it wasn't until his junior year that he started competing seriously, playing two hours a day. His mother Yuana Spears remembers how quickly her son picked up the basic rules of the game and soon enough enrolled in Baltimore Kids Chess League - an exclusive club open only to public school students from Baltimore.
He now participates regularly in tournaments across the region, competing against both local and national opponents. As a devoted mother, Spears attributes her son's success to his ability to focus. Additionally, she strongly believes in extra-curricular activities for students as well as rewarding those with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Chess is always more fun with an actual opponent, and Myrick has found the perfect place to do just that: Reflection Eternal Barbershop in Barclay. He may not be the only chess enthusiast in town, but Osagie and other customers are thrilled by his progress as he works toward mastery of the game.
It will be the first time these students have had the opportunity to travel together as a team and compete against other chess teams from around the country. This weekend they'll be in Memphis for the National High School (K-12) Championships, thanks to grants provided by Baltimore Kids' Chess League.
Attendees at the tournament will compete against students from schools across America, such as Bard High School Early College Baltimore, Green Street Academy and Patterson Middle School. The competition takes place on Friday and Saturday at the University of Memphis.
These students have been on an extraordinary yearlong journey. Through chess, which fosters camaraderie and competition, they've worked to build bonds that will last forever.
They have also learned to manage emotional ties and stress with the support of their coaches. Veronica Hopkins, who coaches a chess team at Green Street Academy, shared that her students have been able to work through feelings of grief and loss by finding strength through playing the game of chess.
Additionally, their teachers have witnessed the positive effect chess has had on their students. When students become overwhelmed with schoolwork, they often turn to chess for support and guidance.
When prepping for a chess tournament, parents should keep several things in mind. They should allow enough time to arrive at the venue as traffic jams or parking issues could cause delays of up to an hour.
Second, players should bring a bag containing all necessary chess equipment such as sets and boards. Additionally, they should bring along a chess clock and notation book for play.
Packing snacks and drinks is always a wise idea when attending tournaments. Furthermore, many events provide rooms where players can relax between rounds.
Finally, it's essential to bring along a comfortable pair of shoes for all day's activities. This is especially pertinent for juniors who may have to don sneakers or shoes that are too large for their feet.
These tips should have helped you prepare your child for their first chess tournament. The experience will undoubtedly benefit their academic and personal development, making the effort worthwhile.
Veronica Hopkins is an international organizer and business agent for the Black Congress of Trade and Grassroots Movement, a labor union dedicated to aiding working people throughout America. As an organizer, she travels around the United States helping workers who wish to join their ranks; her mission is to empower individuals by helping them recognize their worth and fight for equality.
She has been an active participant in the Black Congress of Trade & Grassroots Movement for 23 years, ever since she started work at Post cereal plant in Naperville, Illinois. Through this organization she has advocated for improved wages, safety standards and working conditions at that plant as well as many others across America.
She frequently travels to communities where the BCTGM is organizing strikes or other forms of action. Through these experiences, she hopes students can come to realize they are not alone in their struggles and can work together towards improving both their lives and those around them.
She enjoys her work, but it isn't always easy. She often experiences bouts of depression and anxiety but manages to maintain a positive outlook. Chess is one of the games that helps her manage these negative emotions.
When she first started playing chess, she often played online; though this was enjoyable, having a physical board to play on wasn't quite the same. Eventually she joined the Baltimore Kids Chess League and now enjoys playing over-the-board with other students at her school's club.
She's observed that when her classmates disagree, they often settle the dispute through a friendly game of chess. Additionally, the game helps students recognize they're not alone in their struggles, according to She.
Now, she and her classmates get to embark on their first ever trip to compete in a chess tournament against high school students from around the U.S. They will travel to Memphis, Tennessee for the 2022 National High School Championships.
Green Street Academy and Patterson High School athletes will be competing at nationals for the first time, excited to see what awaits them in this competitive environment. Hopefully they can bring home some gold!