Once an underground movement, hip hop is now big business thanks
to producers like Jay Z.
What began as a cool 70s underground movement in African American and Latino neighborhoods in The Bronx has since become a global phenomenon with hip hop fans found in poor urban as well as affluent white suburban neighborhoods around the world.
One of the most identifiable elements of hip hop, rap music originated with talented emcees at house parties who entertained guests by exhibiting their quick wit and rhyming skills.
Meanwhile, out in the streets, physical prowess was exhibited by teens attempting to outdo each other in gravity-defying moves at fiercely competitive break-dancing
or b-boy competitions.
Hip hop also encompassed another expression of youthful creativity in colorful graffiti "tags" scrawled across ghetto walls and subway trains.
Along with these basic elements encompassing music, art and dance, the movement eventually grew to influence movies, television and hip hop fashion as the culture went mainstream in the U.S. and then globally.
When teens on an international scale embraced hip hop as an easily accessible mode of self expression, elements of hip hop eventually would be seen on city streets throughout Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.
Although today critics charge that rap and hip hop have been diluted by mainstream acceptance (resulting in rappers' fashion lines, multi-platinum records and million-dollar recording deals), hip hop continues to
evolve and cross boundaries as the world's most popular youth culture.
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