Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Countdown: Year 5 - 1977

Celebrate Hip Hop's 50th Anniversary with a look back at 1977, a pivotal year of innovation and culture-shaping moments.

BYJake Skudder
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Photo of HIP HOP and GRAFFITI

In the heart of the Bronx, a revolutionary cultural movement was taking shape. 1977 marked the fifth year in the Hip Hop journey, a period teeming with creative strides and innovation. The stage was set, the players were in place, and the world was about to witness the birth of a genre that would forever alter the course of music history. As we countdown to Hip Hop's 50th Anniversary, we explore the significance of 1977 in the culture.

Read More: Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Countdown: Year 1 1973

Hip Hop's Pioneers: Dominating The Bronx

Towering figures of the Hip Hop scene began to emerge. Artists like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa started making waves, with their innovative beats and rhymes becoming the sound of the Bronx. Herc's technique of extending the breakbeat, a technique now known as 'looping', was a game changer. Bambaataa's Zulu Nation, a collective of socially conscious rappers, dancers, and artists, was instrumental in spreading the hip-hop culture. Their work was more than music; it was a form of expression, a social commentary, and a tool for change.

Read More: Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Countdown: Year 2 1974

The Birth of Scratching: Grand Wizzard Theodore

Grand Wizzard Theodore, Chris Gilmore and Grandmaster Caz at the CBS Studios in New York, New York (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

The year 1977 witnessed another significant milestone in the evolution of Hip Hop: the birth of scratching. Grand Wizzard Theodore, a young DJ from the Bronx, stumbled upon this technique while experimenting with his turntable. The distinctive sound, a rhythmic manipulation of the vinyl, added a new layer of complexity to the Hip Hop sound, taking the genre into new territory.

Read More: Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Countdown: Year 3 1975

Hip-Hop And Disco: The Intersection

In the late 70s, disco was king. However, Hip Hop was not in a silo; it was in dialogue with other musical genres, including disco. Artists began to sample disco tracks, incorporating the infectious grooves into their own beats. This fusion of styles marked another step in the evolution of Hip Hop, expanding its appeal and influence.

Read More: Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Countdown: Year 4 1976

Beyond The Music: Hip Hop Culture In 1977

NEW YORK - APRIL 1: Graffiti artist Lee Quinones (L) poses for a portrait with Latino Hip Hop artists Latin Empire (Ricardo Rodriguez, center, and Anthony Boston, right) on April 1, 1989 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

The influence of Hip Hop extended beyond the realm of music. It became a lifestyle, a culture that permeated every corner of the Bronx and beyond. Street art, particularly graffiti, played a major role in this cultural shift. Artists like Lee Quinones started gaining recognition as his vibrant murals became a visual representation of the Hip Hop spirit.

Read More: Why August 11 Is Considered Hip-Hop's Birthday?

The Future Of Hip Hop: Looking Forward From 1977

As we look back on 1977, it's clear that this was a pivotal year in the history of Hip Hop. It was a time of innovation, expansion, and exploration. Artists were pushing boundaries, experimenting with new sounds, and broadening the scope of what Hip Hop could be.

In retrospect, Hip Hop's fifth year was a microcosm of the genre's future trajectory. It was vibrant, diverse, and unapologetically bold. From its humble beginnings in the Bronx, Hip Hop had begun to assert itself as a force to be reckoned with, a cultural phenomenon that would continue to shape and be shaped by the world around it.

In celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, we honor the pioneers of 1977, those who dared to push the envelope and create something truly extraordinary. Their legacy continues to resonate today, influencing and inspiring a new generation of artists. As we countdown to the golden jubilee, let's remember the year 1977: a milestone year in the unstoppable journey of Hip Hop.

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About The Author
Jake is the SEO Content Lead for HotNewHipHop. He has more than ten years of experience covering mixed martial arts, pro wrestling, gaming and music across a number of publications, starting at SEScoops in 2012 under the name Jake Jeremy. His work has also been featured on GiveMeSport, Sportskeeda, Pro Sports Extra, Wrestling Headlines, NoobFeed, Wrestlingnewsco and Keen Gamer, again under the name Jake Jeremy. Previously, he worked as the Editor in Chief of 24Wrestling, building the site’s profile with a view to selling the domain, which was accomplished in 2019. As well as his work for HNHH, Jake is also the Editor in Chief for Fight Fans, a combat sports and pro wrestling site that was launched in January 2021 and broke into the millions of pageviews within the first two years. Jake also previously worked for the biggest independent wrestling company in the UK, PROGRESS Wrestling, as PR Head and Head of Media across the company's social channels. Jake's favourite Hip Hop artists are Kendrick Lamar, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys and Body Count.