Although Hip-Hop originally descended from many African-American music styles including gospel, blues, jazz, soul, and funk, it first manifested itself through rap music, break dancing, and graffiti writing. And the modern Hip-Hop era actually began with records and turntables. A DJ from the West Bronx New York called Herc (short for Hercules) is credited as being the orginator of “break beat” music. He6 used two turntables and two copies of a record containing a funky drum break to play the drum break on one record and, before it ended, switched to the drum break on the second record, thus mixing the beat back and forth into a continuous groove. That was in 1974 and other DJs, like Afrika Bambataa (considered the “Godfather” of Hip Hop Culture) and Grand Master Flash, soon followed the trend.
Although, by the late 1970s, Hip-Hop was widely known throughout New Yorks boroughs, it did not explode on the national scene until 1979 with a small African-Amercan label from New Jersey called Sugar Hill Records.
Hip-Hop music owes much to the live drummers whose breaks were “borrowed” from their original albums, but it is also a product of new technologies like drum machines, sampling methods, and the “Beat Box” (drum sounds emulated by mouth).
As a music form, Rap and Hip-Hop is definitely here to stay, and I suggest that every DrumHead make a concentrated effort to understand it and add it to their stylistic bag of tricks.