Abstract Hip Hop

Abstract hip hop is an offshoot of the rap genre that eschews many of the standard conventions of rap. Lyrically, these artists tend to focus on more abstract ideas like existentialism or social institutions rather than braggadocio and everyday problems.

Music and lyrics are often influenced by experimental sounds, spoken word, and poetry. They may also incorporate a range of unconventional production techniques, including avant-garde drums and bass, jazz samples, and electronic beats.

The history of hip hop is rooted in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, which inspired a generation of African American, Latino, and feminist writers to share stories and views that were not well received or even recognized by mainstream America. The emergence of a new generation of poets and visual artists injected their visions into the dance party scene, which eventually grooved its way into a culture with a name that has since stuck: hip hop.

Before the dance party scene found its grooves, a different form of expression flourished in New York City’s streets: graffiti writing. In the 1970s, graffiti writers began jumping over fences and trespassing in subway tunnels as they practiced their colorful designs.

Throughout this period, graffiti writers grew to be wild and color-outside-the-lines artists with improvisational styles that were not only bold, but also wildly and beautifully elaborate. They painted entire sides of subway cars and ten-car trains, outlined stylized bubbles and blocks with illustrations, and used second colors to outline their most intricate designs.

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