KRS-One Explains Why Hip-Hop Is Civilization and Not A Culture magnifier menu chevron-left chevron-right chevron-down

KRS-One Explains Why Hip-Hop Is Civilization and Not Just Culture

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KRS-One
The Gospel of Hip-Hop

[W]hen hearing the word Hip-Hop, our minds gravitate to one word, and that is the “rapping” aspect of the music. However, there are other features of the genre, such as the art, dance, and customs, which have led sociologists to consider Hip-Hop as an actual “culture.”

KRS-One, who initially helped popularize the notion that Hip-Hop is a culture, is taking it a step further with his notion that it is a Civilization. It is a concept related to the globalization of Hip-Hop, a phenomenon that is the subject of several studies, both past and ongoing.

Civilization is defined as an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry and government has been reached. According to KRS-One, Hip-Hop is a Civilization and not merely a culture.

“Hip-Hop is not just a culture; it is a new Civilization. Hip-Hop is one of the oldest cultures on Earth.  It is the first thing that human beings do when they come into existence,” KRS-One recently explained in an interview published on YouTube.

Subcultures can be described as a cultural group within a larger community, often having views or interests at variance with those of general society. It would seem that Hip-Hop fits this definition since it is also usually broken up into “four elements” that define the culture. Breaking, Emceeing, Graffiti, and Deejaying make up these “elements.”


[K]RS-One believes each “element” is intrinsically wired into the DNA every human being, and not just practitioners of Hip-Hop.

The first element that KRS-One analyzes is the B-Boy/Girling/Breaking element.

“Breaking is dance. The earliest form of human communication anywhere is dance. How you move, move according to nature, move according to the fish, the lions, the gazelles, the trees, this is what hominid humans did. This is early human neanderthals Rhodesia man, Australopithecus, early hominid human,” the rapper explained.

Four Elements of Hip-Hop
KRS-One believes that the four elements of Hip-Hop exist in every human being on the planet, when they are born.

The next element KRS-One analyzed was Emceeing. The rapper ascertained the skill set is a throwback to man’s first attempt to communicate.

“The next thing human beings do is utter, this is Emceeing. Not language, this is before language, before organized language,” said KRS-One. Interestingly many singers and rappers “utter” as they attempt to find their creative spark of energy that leads to lyrics.

The third element that he analyzes is Graffiti, which is compared to the earliest cave drawings found around the world.

“Today it’s called Graffiti art but anywhere you go in the world, Graffiti art is the world’s oldest art,” KRS said.

The final element that he analyzes is Deejaying, A physical motion that our ancestors perfected to cut and scratch wood in order to make fire.

“Early humans, the cutters, were called stone masons. It starts with stone,” KRS explained. “That activity is what we are doing today. When early humans did that, fire came up…mixing, this is early psychology. To make this, match with this.”

Historians and scholars have argued about the definition of “Civilization” for centuries, and how it originated. Many agree that the existence of the erection of buildings and cities, religious customs, writing, art, language, agricultural production, a skilled military and a functioning government are benchmarks to help identify a Civilization.

Great Civilizations first appeared in Africa and soon flourished in India, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Eurasia China, the Americas and almost everywhere on earth that is habitable.

“Hip-Hop’s history is not the history of Rap music; that’s why they [Sociologists] think it’s not a culture. Because they say Rap is a music genre, it is not a culture. Rap is not a culture; Rap is a subculture like Reggae, Jazz, and Gospel. But what Rap comes from, what causes you to Rap is called Hip-Hop, and that is a behavior, that’s not music,” said KRS-One.

“That’s an ancient way to be. This colonial society that invades nations and occupies other people’s territories, they could never let you know this truth about yourself. It’s not just Black, Native American. All people on the planet are Hip-Hop. All humans are Hip-Hop. All of them, every last one. Some know it, some don’t know it. That’s the only difference.”


COLLEGEHIPHOP Writer
Writing stories for your pleasure.
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