The Four Elements of Hiphop & How KHOP Lives By It

So let’s have a little knowledge time. This time, into something more relevant. I posted this on KHIPHOP PH’s spazz group. But with the urge from friends, I decided to put it here, editing out some shit you all wouldn’t like to see. Haha!

Did you know that the culture of hiphop is more than just music? Hiphop is a culture, brought by the African-Americans. This was their rebellion, their movement. Some of you may already know this. And I am no hiphop head so I won’t divulge on it too much.

I was reading this article then and thought it would be nice to share. It talks about the four main elements of hiphop. But let’s try to incorporate it with what the Korean hiphop scene has merged into their own culture and movement.

Hiphop has 4 main elements that you have to understand and ACCEPT as a part of it. It does not thrive separately, but rather together, whether you like it or not.

1. MC-ing

This is different than just “rapping”. In rap, you can talk about anything. Sadly, in this generation, rappers tend to talk about stupid things like money, girls, booze and shit. MC-ing talks about more serious stuff: politics, society, norms, rebellion, issues, etc.

Korean rappers take this seriously. You can’t just call anyone an MC. The known MCs in Korea are Garion, Eluphant, Jerry.K, JJK, Tablo (but more of a poet), Verbal Jint, Swings, The Quiett and others. That’s why you’ll hear some people saying “Jay Park is a rapper and artist, but not an MC”. Don’t even try to fight back when you see that.

2. DJ-ing

A lot of people see me talk about DJs and sadly, no one usually cares. DJ-ing is an important part of hiphop. Most of the beats your fave rappers rap to are produced by DJs so it’s proper to show your support. A lot of the things modern DJs do are techniques the hiphop DJs started. That’s why you’ll see a lot of DJs still working closely with rappers. That’s why I value them a lot.

If you’re saying “you don’t hear their music so how can you say their good?!” Fuck that. Ever heard of Soundcloud? Ever heard of songs produced by DJs?! The first generation hiphop DJs I really look up to are Soulscape, Beejay, Noah, Wegun, Wreckx, Schedule1 and Juice. The club DJs I like now, like Shaun, Goosebumps, Apachi, Fallens, most of them got into workshops with the first generation DJs. Skills. πŸ”₯

3. BREAKDANCING / B-Boy

You all know this already. The first dance routine you can incorporate with hiphop music is beeakdancing. Hiphop culture itself has recognized the evolution of dance and thus in modern day, other than B-boys, we also now have dance crews.

In Korea, sadly, the hiphop dance community are not directly connected to the hiphop scene. But thanks to AOMG, thanks to Jay Park, that predicament has changed. We now see the likes of Prepix, Primekingz, Bone Breakers, Purplow and illvllns working closely with hiphop artists in the scene.

4. GRAFFITI

This is as well, not directly connected to the hiphop scene in Korea, other than the reason that doing graffiti just anywhere is illegal. However, in modern day, hiphop has also recognized the evolution of art. So other than graffiti and wall art, artists who are also more inclined towards digital and paper art are also accepted in the scene. That also includes skin art (tattoos) and photography.

That’s why, if you look closely, some crews have artists like Rowdee (VMC), Dasom Han (DIPCOIN) & Rad Museum (Club Eskimo). Other artists we all know are Han Seungjae, Hwaro, Sambypen, Booba, Mischief Makers and KickNSnap crew.

Repost @_collage_official

A post shared by SAM (@sambypen) on

Other than these four elements, due to how the days have become more modern, other elements have been added.

LANGUAGE
Yes. It’s part of the culture. That’s why if you see me talk as if I’m American of something, that’s me already getting used to it. You’ll end up catching the habit anyway. In this way, you’ll get to narrow down the people that are real hiphop minds from those that aren’t.

FASHION
This may be part of the art element, but actually, it’s sort of different. Like how the hiphop culture has these types of clothing that defines you as a supporter, in Korea, they’ve created their own. Not types, but generally, brands. If internationally, Vans is somewhat becoming a common hiphop staple, in Korea we have OFFWHITE, IAMNOTAHUMANBEING, Goodneck, This Is Never That and more. Even labels or crews release their own clothing designs. People know that if they see you in brands like these, that means you support the scene.

BEATBOXING
A definite part of hiphop. This can be a sub-element under DJ-ing, for music purposes, but it is technically different as this uses human voice and techniques. If you don’t have a turntable at the site, find someone who can beatbox.

There aren’t that much famous beatboxers in Korea though, sadly, other than 2tak, Lupang, Bray and Beatbox DG, then there’s KRNFX in the US. I know there was a beatboxer in Rookies Game but I forgot who.

STREET KNOWLEDGE
Surprisingly, in the modern day, they are adding this as an element in hiphop. So what does it mean? Street knowledge is literally knowledge about everything. Mostly, here is where writers, bloggers, critics and promoters enter. When you know about everything that’s going on, places where shit goes down, events happening, people and songs. Who’s a known hiphop name in Korea? Kim Byeongheon of Hiphopplaya. πŸ™

There’s also people contesting that STREET ENTREPRENEURIALISM should be an official element of hiphop. This is where hiphop is used as a business, such as label, crews, clubs, stores, websites and the stuff. Because, admit it or not, for this culture to thrive, we need resources, and of course, hiphop centered businesses help it a lot. That’s why even if you don’t want to admit it, YGE has become such an important part of the Korean hiphop community.

Laatly, RAP and BATTLES
These are different than being an MC. People nowadays just rap becauee it makes them look cool, even without knowing anything about the culture. People battle, too just because they have guts and can do rhymes. But I believe, if done properly, especially with hiphop backing your spirit up, yes, these are alements of hiphop for sure, just like howthe freestyle rapping and battles have been popularized through Freestyle Town and ADV crew.

And no, RNB is technically not a part of hiphop, but rather, a different culture. As the name suggests (and as far as what I know musically), RnB stands for Rhythm and Blues, a mix of rhythm, said to have derived from the idea of hiphop, and blues, a genre described and evolved from when older African slaves would sing of their memories back from their motherland and of their hopes for their people. So no, they technically aren’t hiphop.

But in Korea, where hiphop is generally portrayed through music, having vocal singers in the scene has become normal and accepted. Thus, some crews and names are accepted in the scene, while others aren’t so much.

Because I want people to understand that being a KHIPHOP fan is not just about the pretty faces and songs you see and hear. We are a community, a culture. And it consists of various elements that makes it prosper. That’s why I always say the KHH scene is vast and that I often get suffocated with everything that’s happening.

Hope that was helpful!

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One thought on “The Four Elements of Hiphop & How KHOP Lives By It

  1. Big up, Cessa. Keep dropping the knowledge. Thanks for all you contribute to the community πŸ™‚ -a fellow community member

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